Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 February 2009) . . Page.. 471 ..
I am aware, of course, of the range of concerns that have been raised by the school community. But as members of the Assembly would be aware, the planning process in the ACT is one where the Planning and Land Authority has the statutory responsibility for assessing development applications. There is very limited scope, quite rightly, for political interference in the planning process.
I have examined the relevant legislation, and it is clear that there is provision within the Planning and Development Act for the Minister for Planning to call in a development application in certain circumstances. I have received some advice from the Planning and Land Authority in relation to whether this development application would be one in which that section of the act could apply. I am considering that advice, but I would indicate to Ms Hunter and to the Assembly that, as planning minister, I have never used the call-in powers. I have, in one instance, had to delegate responsibility for a call-in to Minister Hargreaves, as I was the proponent of a development—namely, the Kingsford Smith school, that was called in during my time as both Minister for Planning and minister for education.
But, as a fundamental principle, I reject the notion of politics getting into planning. Our clear view—the clear view of the government—has consistently been that the use of the call-in powers should be rare, and it is definitely not my preference to use call-in powers. I do not intend to start making precedents in this instance.
MR SPEAKER: Is there a supplementary, Ms Hunter?
MS HUNTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, if the development were to proceed, what compensation will you direct the developer to pay to the school to secure alternative play space, given that the rest of the school site is an open field?
Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the question is hypothetical. It referred to “if the project were to proceed”.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, I uphold the point of order.
MS PORTER: My question is to the minister for education. Would the minister advise the Assembly of the benefits that will flow to ACT students in the event that the federal Labor government’s stimulus package passes through the Senate?
MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter again.
Mrs Dunne: Point of order, Mr Speaker. I think that question is also hypothetical because it says “can he explain if something were to happen”.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Porter, could you ask your question again, please.
MS PORTER: Yes, Mr Speaker. Would the minister advise the Assembly of the benefits that will flow to ACT students in the event that the federal Labor government’s stimulus package passes through the Senate?