Page 3309 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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planning principles espoused in the Shaping Our Territory report. This gave us strong heart that we and the rest of the community would grow into the future in a rural lifestyle that paid respect to our surroundings. We fully embraced the concepts of solar passive design, with building form, layout and density that was sympathetic to the surrounding landscape.

We’ve now lived at Uriarra for nearly 5 years and have watched this village grow around us, to the point where this village is almost complete. It has been heartening to see others embrace the same concept of low impact living as put forward in the Shaping Our Territory report. We have prided ourselves on our house’s 6 plus star energy rating and educated our children on the basics of sustainability for future generations. Our footprint on this Earth and our impact on the environment around us are miniscule. We are the most firm believers in renewable energy and the impact our daily lives have on the environment.

The most crucial part of my motion here today calls upon the minister not to use his call-in powers for this development. In this case it is my view and that of many of my colleagues that Mr Corbell should take into consideration the very strong will of the community and the proximity of this proposal to residential homes and allow the development application process to run its proper course. In this instance the minister must not use his call-in powers.

If we were to consider the precedents of Mr Corbell using his significant call-in powers in certain planning projects, I would be feeling very disappointed right now. After all, this is the man responsible for calling in projects such as the controversial Alexander Maconochie Centre, the Flynn community hub, despite very strong opposition by the community, not to mention more recently the Brumbies development at Griffith. Despite a significant groundswell against the project by the community, the minister again used these powers. More recently he has demonstrated his form to use them on solar developments, using them for Australia’s largest solar farm at Royalla.

These examples show us a minister who is trigger happy and arrogant when it comes to the use of call-in powers. This mechanism is now being used far too lightly and does not allow for the due diligence of the planning process to proceed. These powers have been designed to be used rarely and in cases where there is substantial benefit for the territory as a whole. This does not seem to be the current way of thinking that the minister subscribes to.

It is, however, interesting if we look back in history to a time when he was not a minister, to a time when he stood on this side of the chamber, in opposition. And when debating in August 2001 Mr Corbell said:

The Labor Party does not believe that the call-in power is a normal part of the development approval process. Indeed, it is our view that it is a power to be used only in exceptional circumstances.

How times have changed! It seems now that the minister has had a significant shift in views and perhaps he has spent too many years in power and lost perspective of what is important to his community.

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