Page 1690 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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ACTPLA and the government do not have a good track record. In fact, there are many people in ACTPLA who do not understand DV306. We have heard of examples whereby people have sought clarification of DV306 from ACTPLA and it has taken weeks and weeks to get a response and, even then, there was doubt about the response. In fact, we have also had elements of ACTPLA who have criticised DV306 and have not been complimentary. There have been people in ACTPLA who have said, “If we can’t explain it, how do we expect the community to know what it is?” The territory plan is rapidly becoming, if it has not already, an inaccessible document which is so complex that almost any structure can be deemed to be noncompliant if ACTPLA so choose.

The president of the HIA told the committee:

I was part of the committee that went through the DV 306 talkfests that we had prior to its implementation. Quite honestly, it was a talkfest. It was a decision made, I think, on a political basis where the opportunity was given to community and industry to comment, but the decision had been made before we went through that process. We were just paid lip-service. At the end of the day, it was done and dusted and DV 306 was implemented by those who had made decisions prior to us even saying anything.

It is all very well for Mr Rattenbury to move for another review. It is all very well for him to say there have been plenty of opportunities, but the government has not listened and has not taken on board the advice which so many different organisations gave.

Mr Wall and others have canvassed some of the issues in DV306, and it is worth going over just a couple of them. Of course, the solar access provisions are probably the ones that have drawn the most criticism. While some are complimentary about the aspiration of the solar access provisions, in practice, I do not think they will achieve the said outcomes. Firstly, solar aspect is not the be-all and end-all of energy efficiency. Yes, it is important, but there are lots of other things at stake as well. We need to give architects and builders some credit in being able to be innovative about how they deliver energy efficiency. DV306 stifles innovation.

As a result of DV306 we are likely to see more houses move to the north-east of blocks. In fact, one prominent architect said east-west blocks that should be the most desirable for solar access are now the most compromised and difficult to build on. These blocks will need to be much wider to fit an average size house on them, which will decrease density and increase the price of land. Of course, that goes against the stated outcomes of this government.

We are going to have big aspects of the house peering into backyards. We are going to have gardens and open space in the shade. We are going to have quirky houses with the wedding cake effect. Potentially nobody is going to win. It is an ideology where things are measured on inputs and not reality, and the suburb of Wright is a demonstration of that. It is going to be even more difficult when you get sloped terrain. As we go further into Molonglo some blocks will be near to being undevelopable. It will be interesting to see whether there will be requests for call-in powers to be used on some of these residential blocks. I would not be at all surprised if that happens.

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