Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6153 ..
We think the bill retains a better balance by only requiring an EIS if the property which is the subject of a DA is actually listed. We are concerned that these amendments, having been formulated at such a late hour, will have unintended consequences which we are unable to assess properly. For these reasons, we will not be supporting the amendments put forward by Ms Le Couteur.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.23): I rise in support of Ms Le Couteur’s amendments. She has put a great deal of thought into this process. This is a very important piece of legislation and we are concerned that some of these amendments are not being considered. I particularly listened to Mr Seselja’s speech. I had not quite realised that his concern was just with the timing. If Mr Seselja would like some more time to consider these amendments we would be happy to adjourn the debate today and come back to it next year. If Mr Seselja would like to give me that indication, I would be quite happy to move that the debate be adjourned, given that his primary concern seemed to be that not enough time had been given to consider it.
Mr Seselja: We don’t want the bill delayed.
MR RATTENBURY: So now we have got the truth: “We don’t want the bill delayed.” In his speech he said, “We haven’t had enough time to consider it.” Which is it? Let’s work it out. I guess my real concern is that this is a really important piece of legislation and we are going to end up removing the trigger; the trigger will not there any longer.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Members, can you stop the conversations across the chamber, please?
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please! Mr Seselja, Ms Gallagher and Mr Barr—all of you—will you just be quiet while Mr Rattenbury speaks? Thank you.
MR RATTENBURY: The reason I am concerned about this is that we are talking about remnant bushland here in the ACT. If we take grasslands, for example, we know that most of the low-lying grasslands across Australia have been wiped out. We are down to somewhere between two and five per cent of the original quantity. There are some really significant areas of that in the ACT, and over the next couple of decades we are going to see significant development pressure on these areas.
We accept that there is value in considering the streamlining of EIS trigger processes but, as I understand the legislation, we are removing the trigger. But then we get into a strategic environmental assessment process that has a series of maybes in it—“maybe do this, maybe do that”. For example, there is no statutory requirement for public input under a strategic environmental assessment. Some of the things become a matter of trust. I think that, as pressure builds and as various people become minister for planning in this town—and I am not even going to speculate on who some of the