Page 3937 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 15 Sept 2009

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the way use development was included in the original legislation. We believe that use development as a concept is wrong. It is unnecessarily prescriptive. It is an unnecessary delaying of what are essentially property rights that exist in leases where a number of different uses are enabled under a lease.

Use development forces individuals who wish to exercise a different property right under a lease to go through a development application. That concept has always been wrong. It is very difficult to defend. It was very difficult to defend at the time this legislation went through and it is still very difficult to defend. I renew the comment that I made at the time. We should not be putting in place legislation which deliberately seeks to slow things down.

Yes, we should seek to get it right, but there are fundamental issues around the purchase of property rights. Due to leasehold we have a more prescriptive system than exists in other parts of the country. That has positives and negatives. But we should not add extra layers to that, and that is indeed what the concept of use development does. It adds another layer of complexity and another layer of potential delay for, it would seem to me, no reasonable purpose. So I renew the comments that I made, I believe, last year when we debated the planning and development legislation.

More broadly, we will always support the government when it looks to clean up legislation to make it more effective and more workable. We will not stand in the way of reasonable changes to legislation that helps improve our planning system. Our planning system is still wracked with problems, and much of it is in the implementation. No doubt there will be a need for further legislative reform as we go forward.

But the legislation is not the fundamental problem. The fundamental problem has been the attitude of successive planning ministers under this government and the failure to make some of the structural changes that are needed to our planning agency in order to ensure that planning and development in the territory is not unnecessarily stifled.

We are going to have some big decisions to make as a community in the coming years. We are going to have to move beyond some of the short-sightedness that we see from time to time over particular developments. I refer particularly to the issue of infill in our town centres. The government has emphasised where in-fill should be, and we think it has very much got it wrong. Its emphasis on encroaching into the suburbs and not focusing on getting the real in-fill happening at the town centres has been the wrong approach. There are some noises being made by the government at the moment, and the planning committee is undertaking a limited inquiry into in-fill, but it has been a long time coming and there is still a large question mark in relation to this government’s attitude to this issue.

Will it actually make decisions which result in genuine growth in our major centres? Will it make decisions that protect our suburbs from inappropriate development? That is the balancing act and, to date, despite the backtracking and some positive changes, we have seen the emphasis on in-fill in our suburbs in the core areas. We have seen some inappropriate developments. We have seen the inevitable clash that occurs between builders and developers and the community when those developments go

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