Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 31 March 2011) . . Page.. 1225 ..
In advertising my public meeting, notice of the meeting was given by the following means: unaddressed letters were hand delivered to the vast majority of homes in Aranda, Cook, Macquarie and parts of Weetangera; posters and an A-frame were displayed at multiple places within Jamison Plaza; flyers were available for collection at some shops within the plaza; and details of the meeting were published in the Northside Chronicle on 22 March. I do not believe the ACT government consulted that widely.
It is worth noting the comments made by the ACT government architect, Mr Alastair Swayn, this week. Mr Swayn has suggested that developers might consult neighbours before going through the pre-application process with the planning authority. He believes people are put off from the beginning because of a sense of the unknown. I agree with the notion that uncertainty and a lack of information create distrust, scepticism and fear and that it is in everyone’s interest if such doubt can be allayed.
However, this government has allowed a culture of lack of consultation to develop. And, as Mr Barr said today in this place, ACTPLA’s role is to notify, not to consult. If ACTPLA does not consult and the developer does not, who is actually doing the consultation? We have had involvement by LAPS in various projects, but often only after the opposition has facilitated early rounds of consultation and LAPS have come in as troubleshooters.
Given that only little information was known to a few residents about changes in Jamison and the direct sale of blocks 43 and 44, I request, on behalf of many stakeholders, that the planning minister and the Chief Minister accept comments and feedback about what is proposed even if it is in the coming weeks. Furthermore, I request that the government put deep consideration into the consultation mechanisms, or lack thereof, that it implements. After the debacle which was the Hawker shops saga, one would think the government would have learnt its lesson. However, this issue seems to be yet another example of an arrogant government which is unwilling to engage the community.
It was said on the evening of the public meeting that the wounds of the closure of Cook primary school were still present and this lack of consultation was yet another blow for that community. I urge the government to rethink how it consults, to put deep consideration into what proposals there are for the Jamison group centre, to explain the status of the 2002 Jamison master plan, to accept late comments and feedback and to engage with the community.
This episode has also raised questions about the planning system on the whole which we have in the territory and how there is a need to review some of the processes which are in place.
In the coming days I will submit to the government a copy of a report of the meeting. Given the extremely large attendance and the prevailing sentiments, I hope the government takes the view of the community seriously.
Question resolved in the affirmative.