Page 3321 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013
address them and assess them on their merits. That is the process the government will seek to ensure is applied in relation to this proposal, as it is with every other proposal in our city.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.51): I think this is an unfortunate amendment. An amendment that seeks to remove appeal rights for one party in a process is simply unfair. You cannot come in here and say that one group has a right to appeal but the other does not. The position that I took today is that all people should have a right to appeal. That is why I think it is really important that the call-in power is not used here. The community should have a right to appeal through the normal processes if they disagree with the decision. That is what the call-in power removes. If the call-in power is exercised, the community or anybody involved lose their right to take an appeal to ACAT and have that appeal assessed on its merits.
To accept the amendment that Mr Coe has put forward removes that same right from the proponent. That is unfair. That is not walking both sides of the fence. That is actually about having integrity in the process. The Greens have long fought in this place for people to have access to appeal rights. I have got legislation coming up on Thursday—the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act—which seeks to increase standing for more people to be able to access the courts because we truly believe that people should have a right to exercise their day in court if they have a decent case to make.
We have got a good proposal here. The amendment I have put forward acknowledges both sides of this argument. There are two sides to it. The proponent has a right to make their case and seek to build a solar farm, just as the residents have a right to strongly make the case that it will have a detrimental impact on them in the ways that they have put forward. To somehow suggest that the proponent would not be able to appeal, saying that they disagree with it, is inherently unfair. It lacks integrity and it is not a position that I can support.
The suggestion seems to be that if I do not support this amendment the Liberal Party will not support my amendment. That is just tit for tat. That is really sad politics. That is about saying, “If it’s not our way, it’s the highway.” No, this is about actually recognising that we are at the start of a process. The amendment that I have put forward is very clear. It acknowledges the desire to build renewable energy in the ACT. It acknowledges that the residents of Uriarra have real concerns and that those real concerns will be assessed during the Planning and Development Act process, as they should be. It specifically calls on the minister not to exercise the call-in power.
Let us be even-handed about this. It completely lacks integrity to say that one side can have appeal rights but not the other. I think most people would find that quite a bizarre situation. It goes to the confused place on planning policy generally that the Liberal Party find themselves in. This is rank populism. This is not decent policy making. I think that is really unfortunate. I will not be supporting Mr Coe’s amendment.