Page 3929 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 15 Sept 2009

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Canberra has become the wonderful city it is through its unique planning regime. It is disappointing to see the recent failures by the Stanhope Labor government which, as we have stated previously, can be traced back to poor decision making by Stanhope government ministers.

In conclusion, the Canberra Liberals will support the passage of this bill through the Assembly. We encourage the government to continue to examine ways to simplify and clarify the act where necessary.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (11.07): This bill seems fairly straightforward and non-controversial. The Greens’ understanding of this amendment bill is that it basically does two things: it embeds into the act a range of transitional provisions that would otherwise have expired next March and it will make permanent many of the regulations which have arisen since the act commenced last year.

I understand that there will be further planning and development amendment acts coming later this year which I believe may be more controversial and hence will attract far more discussion and scrutiny in the months to come. I thank the minister for separating the issues and keeping this bill fairly simple, straightforward and non-controversial today.

I do not see the need to go into great detail about the bill. The minister has covered most of these issues in his presentation speech and Mr Smyth said what I would possibly have said if I was going to speak about it anyway. But there is one point that I would like to note with concern. Proposed section 198B allows ACTPLA to waive the public notification if satisfied that “the environmental impact caused by the amendment will do no more than minimally increase the environmental impact of the development”. That is a very ambiguous statement. What does “no more than minimally increase” mean? And I do not think it should be up to ACTPLA to determine the issues around what is minimal environment impact. But my understanding is that we are going to have this debate in greater detail later in the year when the minister will be bringing forward a range of issues about EIS.

I am very supportive of the clarification of the formalisation of allowing a range of components to be part of the payment for concessional leases. There are certainly many aspects to granting concessional leases. Making it clear that infrastructure, goods, services or works are all potentially acceptable parts of the payment package can only be good for all concerned.

The clarification on a payment formula for calculating the concessional lease costs for an additional adjoining concessional lease will help both sides of negotiations. I also hope that rural lessees will find the clauses regarding the determination of grants and amounts payable for further leases on rural land useful. Certainly, the clarification of the formula for applications for extension of time to commence building will also be useful; I wonder if that formula is currently being applied to QIC for their section 84 development adjacent to the Griffin Centre.

Finally, as Mr Smyth said, the transitional arrangements being embedded permanently into the act seem quite straightforward. The Greens will be supporting this bill today.

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