Page 3930 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 15 Sept 2009

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MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability and Housing, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (11.10): With the indulgence of members, I rise in the debate today to support the Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2009. The bill makes permanent a number of temporary modifications to the Planning and Development Act 2007 that have already been made by regulation. These modifications are currently in schedule 20 of the Planning and Development Regulation 2008.

As members are aware, the Planning and Development Amendment Bill was presented in the last sitting period, on 24 August 2009. Since that time, the bill has been reviewed by the scrutiny of bills committee. The committee has made no comments on the bill, and I support the bill as originally presented.

I refer firstly to the context of this bill and how the amendments came about. This government has been unambiguous in its commitment to reforming the ACT planning and land administration system to make it simpler, faster and more effective and in its commitment to continuing and refining the reforms made by the Planning and Development Act and the restructured territory plan which commenced in March 2008.

In December 2008, the government announced a number of measures to assist the ACT Planning and Land Authority to work more closely with industry to ensure an efficient and effective development assessment and planning framework. These measures included an action plan called ACTPLAn and the establishment of an industry monitoring group as well as ongoing consultation with industry and community groups.

This bill includes a number of amendments to make the development assessment and planning frameworks more efficient, consistent with the objectives of ACTPLAn. The amendments also address a number of difficulties raised in consultation with industry through the industry monitoring group and other associations as well as with community groups.

Other amendments are included as a result of ongoing government monitoring of the operation of the act. The government took the view that the necessary adjustments were needed sooner rather than later. As a result, act modifications were made immediately through the regulation-making power in section 429 of the act. Modifications made under this transitional regulation power are temporary only. The regulation-making power under section 429 and the regulations made under this section cease two years after the commencement of the act—that is, on 31 March 2010. The regulations cease on this date because section 431 of the act expires the regulation-making power section 429 and regulations made under this power on this date. I know that Mr Smyth knows all about that sort of stuff. The bill makes these temporary modifications permanent.

The bill needs to be read with this in mind. For example, where the bill states “new section”, as it does at clause 6, this does not mean that the provision is in fact brand new. Rather, it means that the provision is new to the act; it has been in operation since the relevant regulation contained in that provision was notified.

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