Page 308 - Week 01 - Thursday, 12 February 2015

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They are so determined to go ahead with a bogus light rail project that they have thrown out all principles. Imagine if another government did this. Imagine the outcry. Look at the outcry when Labor in opposition in Queensland accused the Campbell Newman government of this sort of thing—the outcry there. Well, here we are in the ACT and the government is trying to bypass all community consultation, bypass the development application process and bypass all the safeguards that are left in our planning system.

It is best said in an email that I received earlier this week in response to an email I sent out. This person wrote to the Greens and the government:

The Bill is almost the same as the Fast Track Planning Bill last year that sought to designate ‘special project’ zones with the same prohibitions on consultation and appeal. At least that Bill went to an Assembly Committee and, due to the level of public opposition; it was subsequently withdrawn by the then Chief Minister.

I have fundamental objections to this Bill. Given the one kilometre boundary, it will effectively ‘de-zone’ much of the residents’ amenity, and possibly the residential streets themselves, in Dickson, Downer and Watson and will allow the Government to ride roughshod over the rights of the community and the understandings we have reasonably held regarding ACT planning and zoning provisions. I personally believe it will also decrease rather than increase property values in the vicinity. Having lived and worked in Melbourne twice during my career, I am well aware that residential values on or very close to tramlines are lower, not higher, than elsewhere in those suburbs.

I strongly urge you to refer this Bill to an Assembly Committee and to invite public comment.

That was one such email. Of course, the Inner South Community Council and the Tuggeranong Community Council have endorsed a thorough submission, which states:

We understand that it is intended to debate the Bill as early as Tuesday 10 February. This timeframe seems to be extremely rushed and scarcely allows time for any informed public debate. There appears to be no need for this urgency.

We ask that you act to delay consideration of this bill to allow a proper public debate about whether it is really necessary. We remain unconvinced that the Minister needs any further powers to override the Heritage Act 2004 and the Tree Protection Act 2005, and the case for these enhanced powers remains to be made. The definitions in the bill need to be considerably tightened to ensure that no wider range of proposals than is absolutely necessary is covered by the Bill.

There are many other emails that I have received. It is interesting to see today the absolutely outrageous misuse of the Latimer House principles that Minister Corbell is putting around. It is an absolutely outrageous abuse of the Latimer House principles. I strongly disagree with the institute at the University of Canberra who put up those remarks. I note that many other people have already contacted me to express their disappointment with the feedback that has been received in that report.

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