Page 1828 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 April 2009

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The development assessment forum best practice model for planning legislation in Australia, which was a COAG forum and also involved industry in identifying best practice for planning legislation in Australia, identified two key elements. The ACT is the only jurisdiction to have implemented those two key elements. The first key element is the development of a track-based system where different types of development application are fed into different tracks depending on the nature of the development proposed, and of course we have done that through the implementation of the new Planning and Development Act.

The second element of the DAF best practice model, and indeed in many respects an equally important element, is the provision of a system where assessment of development applications, consistent with that track-based system, is done by expert planners and determination is made by expert planners at arm’s length from government. We are the only jurisdiction in the country that has such a system as the norm. Every other jurisdiction at local government level sees local councillors making these decisions with all the risks in place, as the Wollongong City Council example highlights. So that is the point the government seeks to make in this debate. We have made it in relation to the moves to politicise development assessment by the Liberal Party in relation to proposals such as the data centre and power generation proposal near Tuggeranong and a range of other projects that the opposition have sought to highlight from time to time. It is in those circumstances that we believe there are real and credible reasons why we need to ensure that this assessment process is undertaken by independent planning officials at arm’s length from government. The establishment of the ACT Planning and Land Authority was an important step in achieving that goal.

The ministerial statement made by the minister outlines not just Labor’s record but future directions. There are some important challenges moving forward. The greater integration of land use and transport planning is absolutely essential to address sustainability questions in our city, and some very detailed work is currently occurring in the planning authority to provide a better informed basis to deal with those sorts of matters.

I have mentioned already the exciting and innovative work that is occurring at locations such as East Lake, but of course there is also important planning work happening in Molonglo itself in terms of the sustainability of that new urban settlement area. More work needs to occur in relation to the intensification of residential activity, and indeed mixed use activity, at a range of locations across the city—in our city centres, in our town centres and in other locations. The ministerial statement very much does point to the future. (Time expired.)

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Planning and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (4.13), in reply: In closing the debate, I thank members for their contribution. It is indeed an exciting time for reform in the planning portfolio, and I certainly welcome the constructive comments. There were a few that were made principally by you, Madam Assistant Speaker Le Couteur. I do not think Mr Seselja’s contribution really added much to the public policy debate, but I have come to expect

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