Page 5744 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 6 December 2011

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more. They also noted the strict liability offence in section 37A(7), which they consider to be quite draconian and that “licensed builders” in section 37A(1) does not make it clear that it takes into consideration “owner builders” who, under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004, are required to have a licence.

Industry also voiced their concerns with regard to sections 138AE and 138AF, commenting that pre-community consultation seemed to mark a shift of responsibilities from ACTPLA to the developer. This does not necessarily guarantee the community get a fair hearing should they have concerns.

It is worth while to acknowledge there is also a lack of clarity within the community and industry as to who is ultimately responsible for undertaking consultations. The Canberra Liberals support better information to the community. However, under what is being proposed, the community receives no comfort that sham consultation will not occur. The government needs to do more work on this, and, unfortunately, this is not reflected in the minister’s bill today. Concurrently, noting the government had trialled such consultation since 2010 with apparent success, this Assembly should sincerely ask itself why we are putting this into legislation when we are told by the government that it is working well on a voluntary basis.

It also appears that, through the introduction of section 37(2A), commencement notices for builders to start work will be introduced. There needs to be greater disclosure and transparency on this new process to minimise the possibility of confusion.

I reiterate that this bill is controversial and marks a policy shift for the government. The more unreasonable processes that are placed around developments, the more they affect things such as housing affordability. We should have appropriate consultation and it should not be done in a way that seems deliberately designed to undermine the scheme the government put in place some years ago. For all these reasons, we will not be supporting this bill today.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (4.41): The Greens will be supporting this Planning and Building Legislation Amendment Bill today. It is the second ever PABLAB, and I agree that it is a lot easier for us to monitor and raise planning legislation issues through a PABLAB than a SLAB. But this bill had one little surprise at the end—a small amendment for plastic shopping bags regulation. It now seems that the intent of a PABLAB has been extended to include environment legislation, making it more of a PABELAB or maybe an ELAB. I understand, in fact, there is a competition running for the name of such future legislation. I imagine Mr Corbell is taking entries for that.

When we first debated the PABLAB earlier this year I put forward a number of proposals, and I am pleased that the government has taken up the issues I raised and that some of these have been implemented in PABLAB No 2. This PABLAB improves upon some of the consultation and notification requirements in our planning and building legislation, which I believe will help the community and proponents better exchange views on development proposals.

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