Page 2696 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 23 June 2009
The minister has, many times, said that politics should not be part of planning. This is a long debate which I will not go through now, but suffice it to say that politics is part of planning. It was a political process that decided that we would move from the Y plan to a more compact form of Canberra. There was a lot of community consultation because it was a significantly important political decision—how we are going to plan our town, our city—and that is why we have a planning minister.
Where I do totally agree with what I suspect the minister largely means is that politics should not be introduced in an arbitrary fashion, with a minister approving this bit and disapproving this bit. We, the Assembly, should be setting the rules and they should then be applied in a non-political fashion. I will leave more comment on that to a debate at another time.
In terms of call-in powers, the Greens have always felt that the call-in powers should be a disallowable instrument. We do recognise that there may be occasions where call-in powers are appropriate, but, if so, we think it is appropriate that the Assembly should be in a position to express its views on them.
With respect to this particular development, ideally, Canberra would have sufficient public transport so that another car park at the Canberra Hospital would not be necessary. However, in the circumstances, we agree with the government that another car park at the hospital is necessary.
I would also like to comment on the minister’s comments, as reported in the Canberra Times and talked about in the estimates committee, that the objections were political and frivolous. I think that is particularly unfortunate. Planning is something which is very important to the citizens of Canberra. For the citizens of Canberra who choose to be involved in how our city develops to be told that their objections are political and frivolous is not at all helpful, particularly when the Minister for Health, whose staff at least had read the objections, made the comment that she thought all the objections were understandable. I find it very hard to reconcile the two views. I would like to see a more positive view expressed by the Minister for Planning towards people who make the effort to become part of the planning process.
Finally, it was reported that the objections that the minister found political and frivolous related to solar panels and water tanks. I do not think that solar panels and rainwater tanks are political and frivolous; they need to be part of a sustainable future for Canberra.
Mr Corbell presented the following papers:
Subordinate legislation (including explanatory statements unless otherwise stated)
Legislation Act, pursuant to section 64—
Criminal Code—Criminal Code Amendment Regulation 2009 (No 1)—Subordinate Law SL2009-25 (LR, 1 June 2009).