Page 1847 - Week 06 - Thursday, 14 May 2015
With regard to the first amendment, it of course removes the requirement for community consultation as a prerequisite for the minister to call in the DA. The clause that this amendment removes is central to the original bill introduced by Mr Rattenbury. The government has raised concerns about the way the original clause operates, particularly when the minister is considering call-ins of a development application when they want to refuse them. However, totally removing this clause appears to be unnecessary.
Madam Assistant Speaker, in conclusion, the opposition will be supporting the bill and supporting the amendments, but we do not expect much to change as a result of this debate.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Justice, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Transport Reform) (5.04): I will be supporting Mr Gentleman’s amendments today. As Mr Coe has just highlighted, it is certainly not what I put forward originally, but I think what this discussion has drawn out—and I welcome this—is a recognition of the Greens’ concerns that current legislation does not adequately address the requirements for the planning minister to consider the adequacy of community consultation before using call-in powers. That was one of the things I was trying to achieve with this legislation.
Mr Gentleman spoke about the reservations he had about my draft. Certainly, with the assistance of PCO, Parliamentary Counsel’s Office—I acknowledge their contribution—as well as staff in the ACT planning and land authority, we have collaborated to find something that is acceptable to the government and which I think is a step forward.
Mr Coe’s remarks were perhaps a bit lacking in generosity but I am actually encouraged and I will now take this matter up further. The Greens have made many attempts over the years to deal with call-in powers, and usually in the votes we have lost 13 to four or 16 to one—whatever the numbers might be. But I am encouraged by Mr Coe’s desire to go harder, so I will contemplate what matters I might bring forward and seek support on from the Liberal Party. Mr Coe has indicated enthusiasm for perhaps some stronger steps, and I look forward to building that alliance to improve the planning situation in the ACT.
Nonetheless, I think these steps do move us forward in improving community consultation opportunities in the planning process, particularly when it comes to DAs. As I said in my earlier remarks, it always concerns me—it has concerned the Greens for a long time—that call-ins can be a way of circumventing public discussion and getting around community opposition. Our experience is that pre-DA consultation tends to be a very positive thing in terms of getting better outcomes for projects in neighbourhoods and across the city.
This bill puts the pressure on to get more public consultation, and I think that is a positive. It says to developers, “You need to go out and get this done.” Mr Gentleman spoke in detail about the provisions that he has put forward. I do not intend to reiterate