Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6152 ..
requires an EIS for road and other transport infrastructure for new urban areas. The Greens’ amendment ignores the fact that the territory plan is subject to extensive development and consultation and is approved by the Assembly. This series of amendments would again undermine a key element of the reforms identified by the government’s review of EIS triggers and would seriously delay essential road infrastructure for new residential land releases in the territory.
In relation to the Heritage Council amendments, the government is not supporting them. Our review of EIS triggers identified this is an issue that needs to be addressed. The government’s bill retains heritage registration as an EIS trigger but does not include heritage nomination. It must be stressed that a merit DA involving heritage matters is referred to the Heritage Council for advice. It is also worth noting it can take years for heritage nominations to be assessed and a mere nomination is not, in the government’s view, sufficient justification for an EIS.
Finally, the government does not support the Greens’ amendment to clause 30. In the government’s bill, land that is on the EPA register of contaminated land is an automatic trigger for an EIS. This was based on specific advice from the EPA. In order to be on the register, contamination must pose a significant risk of harm to people’s health or the environment.
That is a brief summary of the reasons that the government will not be supporting the Greens’ amendments. I understand, from discussions between our offices, that the Canberra Liberals are also not supporting these Greens’ amendments but we will hear from the Leader of the Opposition shortly. If that is the case, I certainly welcome that support from the Canberra Liberals.
As this is possibly the last time I will speak on this bill, I would like to thank those officers within the ACT Planning and Land Authority who have worked diligently in the preparation of both the exposure draft and this legislation, thank all parties for engaging constructively in the development of this legislation and commend the bill to the Assembly.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (5.22): I would like to thank Ms Le Couteur for bringing these amendments forward. However, the Canberra Liberals will not be supporting any of these amendments.
In our view, these amendments could work against the intent of the government’s bill and add to its complexity, which is not something we support. While some of the amendments may have some merit, we are reluctant to support them, given that we have not had the chance to test them with industry groups and the community.
For example, amendment 19 appears to place more red tape around the strategic environmental assessment process. Several amendments also appear to change the threshold for the requirement for the preparation of environmental impact statements, which goes against the intention of this bill. For example, the amendments allow for the Heritage Council to produce an opinion as to whether an EIS is required for proposals involving places or objects nominated for provisional heritage registration. This, at face value, appears to be unnecessary. If a development of any place or object has an environmental impact, other triggers should capture these.