Page 1689 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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family’s business. And it is small business in particular that will be the losers as a result of DV306. For a long time in Canberra we have seen the demise of small and independent builders. The renovation and add-on market is, of course, the key component of the sector for independent builders, and it is those renovations and add-ons that will be quite unfairly hit by DV306.

It is important to note that the opposition is not in a position to be able to amend the variation. That is unfortunate, but the fact is all we can do is delete words or disallow the whole thing. Whilst we looked at options of deleting different criteria or different rules, the fact is that it would have been too difficult, and doing so without the ability to add words would make it a very risky process.

I think draft variation 306 is a missed opportunity. Michael Reeves from the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects summed up the opportunity well in a submission to the planning committee last year:

The preparation of DV306 represented an opportunity for the Planning Authority and other government agencies to create a transparent and flexible regulatory framework for the delivery of key government policies in housing affordability, sustainability of future city, social equity and economic stability.

The fact is DV306 does not meet that expectation. The planning committee heard from witness after witness saying that they had serious problems with draft variation 306. We heard Mr Rattenbury say there had been plenty of opportunities for the community to give input to draft variation 306 and he mentioned the consultative committee, the expert reference group and the planning committee. And it is true; there has been opportunity after opportunity. In fact, industry and the community have taken every one of those opportunities to give feedback to the government, yet it seems none of those opportunities actually resulted in a genuine commitment to react to what the experts were telling them. It seems the decision was a done deal.

DV306 has received widespread criticism. I think most people would say there is a lot of good in DV306, but a lot of people are saying, on balance, DV306 is bad for Canberra. How many times do groups such as the Master Builders Association, the Housing Industry Association, the Institute of Architects, the Institute of Landscape Architects, the Planning Institute, the Property Council and numerous community councils all join force in opposition? We are not talking about one or two planning activists here. We are not talking about a vocal minority. We are talking about a majority. Yet this government and Mr Rattenbury are so ideologically driven that they will not listen to the community on this issue.

Mr Hamish Sinclair from the Planning Institute summarised it well last year when he said:

... in many respects we did find ourselves in the position of recommending this variation be withdrawn and recommenced from the start, mainly because it does not achieve good planning outcomes. It is drafted in a manner that will not deliver the expected outcomes that are talked about.

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