Page 5501 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 9 December 2009

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At the end, I would like to say that, while this does appear to some people to be a somewhat nerdy bill—even my fellow Greens have described this as such—it is trying to tidy up a few possibly inadvertent—

Mr Seselja: Most legislation is a little bit nerdy, Caroline.

MS LE COUTEUR: Well, true—a few inadvertent loopholes, or hopefully inadvertent loopholes, in the current Planning and Development Act. The act has now been in operation for a bit more than a year, and it is time to reflect on how it is going.

I have not submitted the bill as an exposure draft, due to the very limited feedback I got on the two previous exposure drafts I put out in this place. But I do intend to leave this bill to sit for a number of months to allow for feedback from the community and, obviously, from both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party. I would be delighted to give briefings to both of them on the subject.

The idea behind the bill is simply to work together to improve Canberra’s planning system so that the community feels that its legitimate concerns are brought into account and that we use the full knowledge in the territory plan in reviewing decisions, not just the quick distillation of it in the technical rules. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Barr) adjourned to the next sitting.

Infrastructure Canberra Bill 2009

Exposure draft

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition), by leave: For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Infrastructure Canberra Bill 2009—Exposure draft.

I seek leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR SESELJA: The need for better infrastructure in Canberra is clear to anyone who struggles along the gridlocked GDE each morning, who limps along the airport roads or who wonders how the Cotter Dam has blown out its costs by a quarter of a billion dollars. The solution is far less obvious or easy and requires a dispassionate look at the real cause of the problems.

One of the significant problems is the inherent conflict between the political cycle that rewards short-term thinking and infrastructure development that requires long-term planning. Let me be clear: this does not mean that governments should not have the ability to make decisions about infrastructure, but I strongly believe they should do so in a strategic, long-term framework, a framework prepared with the assistance of independent and highly qualified experts, a framework backed by legislative authority.

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