Page 1392 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2009

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provisions for commonwealth-funded projects as opposed to projects that might be privately funded. Ms Le Couteur picked up on this point in her final remarks. There was a point of difference between the government and the Greens on this matter in that the Greens sought to limit these regulations to commonwealth-funded projects.

Our view is that if government and non-government schools are able to access and raise funds through private sources, either through their own fundraising or other means, the money that is brought into the education system for projects, regardless of its source—whether it comes from the commonwealth government, the territory government or from the fundraising efforts of parents—should be treated equally under these regulations. We have no problem at all with private sources of funding being invested in education around projects that would meet the exemption criteria.

To go on further to Mr Seselja’s point, in relation to those private sector developments that wish to put in place flagpoles and bicycle enclosures and all of the other things that are covered by these regulations, which I reiterate are largely brought into the school sector from existing provisions and exemptions within the residential sector and also in the commercial sector, particularly in relation to third-party appeals, this regulation is about bringing already existing exemptions and provisions into the schools sector and, as I said in question time yesterday, effectively creating a schools code to enable the new planning system to be able to respond effectively. The new planning system then enables us to be able to respond effectively in these ways.

It is interesting to contrast the responses in other jurisdictions. The Tasmanian premier, for example, has to bring in special legislation to fast-track all of these programs because the Tasmanian planning system is not able to respond as effectively as the ACT system. New South Wales, South Australia and a range of other states and territories have had to enact very special legislation in order to meet these time lines. Our planning system enables this to be achieved by regulation. As Mr Seselja has noted, and in fact most industry groups now agree, the structure of our Planning and Development Act is right.

The government have always indicated that in the change from the old to the new system it would be policy neutral and that further work would be required. I take on board Ms Le Couteur’s point that we do not just want piecemeal adjustments from time to time. There is a consistent and steady work program in the Planning and Land Authority. They are working to a particular timetable around different areas of code that will be developed. Of course, there is opportunity for input from other parties. In fact, it will be absolutely essential in order to achieve a consensus on the forward direction.

As is characterised in these planning debates, I imagine that the Labor Party middle ground will end up being the outcome that I hope will be implemented. Obviously we will be able to take elements of what is proposed by the Liberals and the Greens into consideration. A sensible middle ground will no doubt be the outcome, as it should be. We would not want the planning system to lurch off in extremes in either direction.

Mr Hanson: I wonder what his left wing colleagues in the Labor Party think about that.

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