Page 5743 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 6 December 2011

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MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Mr Seselja, could you just concentrate on the planning and building legislation.

MR SESELJA: I do not know why that is. This is the second PABLAB bill and develops on issues surrounding notification and consultation, which develops on issues debated with the introduction of the first PABLAB bill on 5 May 2011. This discussion was driven by the view of some in this Assembly that there needs to be better clarification on notification and consultation requirements for pre-lodgement proponent-led consultation on certain developments.

From the explanatory statement accompanying the bill, it seeks to initiate three outcomes: it requires a notice about building work to be placed on a block so that neighbours and other interested persons have details about whom to contact and what the building work involves; it requires certain types of building work to have a sign on the block about the work before the work commences; and it requires developers of certain larger scale developments to consult with the community ahead of being able to apply for a development application.

In doing so, it will amend a number of acts. I note that omnibus bills such as this consist largely of technical amendments to several pieces of planning and building legislation and that it has the broad support of industry. Approved government guidelines necessitate that the essential criteria for inclusion of amendments in the bill are that such amendments are minor or technical and non-controversial or reflect only a minor policy change. Based on this benchmark, it can be concluded that PABLAB 2 does not fulfil this criterion of non-controversial and minor policy changes.

As the explanatory statement notes, it will require a sign to be erected for all building work that requires building approval. Our concern regarding this requirement concerns code track applications. Even the former Minister for Planning commented:

To suggest that the code track should require some form of public notification undermines the intention of this track and the track-based assessment system more broadly. It would unfairly raise the expectation that there is an opportunity to comment on the proposal or influence the development, when there is none. If a development meets all the rules, there is no scope for subjective assessment—it is either yes or no, a tick or a cross. To subject the proposal to notification and public comment will also undermine the certainty that the rules provide to proponents, who have sought to streamline their proposals by adding an additional 10 days to their assessment period.

I am sure the current planning minister would agree with those sentiments.

Similarly, the Canberra Liberals’ position is that if a development proposal is in code track, it is basically a complying development and satisfies the zonings, setbacks, heights and other rules, negating the need to delay approval by putting it out to consultation. There appears through this bill to have been a policy change on the part of the government when it comes to these kinds of developments.

Equally, as of yesterday, my office received representations from industry expressing concerns regarding the demerit penalties if a sign is not on display for two days or

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