Page 322 - Week 01 - Thursday, 12 February 2015

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

context of AD(JR) review rather than to rights of review. I hereby table a revised explanatory statement to the bill to correct that error. I thank the committee for that observation.

As I said during the presentation speech, the bill is designed to smooth the way for the timely delivery of capital metro, the light rail project. The bill does this by amending the Planning and Development Act, the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 and the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1989—also known as the AD(JR) Act—to remove potential legal and administrative delays for the project. The bill proposes changes to the territory plan variation and development assessment processes and puts in place certain limitations on the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, ACAT, merit review and Supreme Court review rights.

I take this opportunity to underline the significance of the light rail project itself and some of the key measures taken by this bill to expedite it. The capital metro light rail project is critical to the future of Canberra. Canberra is a growing city. According to Environment and Planning Directorate population predictions, Canberra is growing towards a population of 455,000 people by 2031. We need forward-thinking planning strategies and the appropriate infrastructure to support and address this growth.

There is an ongoing need to diversify the Canberra economy. This is vital to the maintenance of a prosperous society. Our largest economic sectors are government administration, defence and construction. This leaves our economy vulnerable to shifts in federal government administrative policy. Infrastructure investment is a proven economic stimulus and is one important catalyst for more jobs, investment, improved community facilities, and more productive and healthy lifestyles.

Light rail infrastructure will create alternatives to car travel, reduce personal vehicle operating costs and improve access to services for individuals who do not own cars. The capital metro light rail project will provide a more sustainable alternative to car travel and reduce car use and greenhouse gas emissions from petrol engines.

The project will create jobs. The Ernst & Young report Capital Metro: job creation analysis found that the project would stimulate the ACT economy. The report estimated that more than 3,500 jobs—

Mr Coe: Not 50,000?

MR GENTLEMAN: will be supported during the construction of the capital metro project. Hold on, Mr Coe; we are getting there. When combined with the associated developments, it is estimated the capital metro project will have facilitated a footprint of around 50,000 jobs by 2047. This was echoed by Mr Smyth yesterday during the debate, as he read that report as well.

I would like to emphasise that the scope of the bill is limited and well targeted. In particular, the bill does not amount to a significant overhaul of the planning and development assessment process. The amendments are project specific and tailored to deliver a key priority of the government. While there will be some restrictions on rights of review, the development assessment process, including public notification, will still apply.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video