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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 August 2015) . . Page.. 2794 ..

I draw the government’s attention to recommendation 97 of the estimates committee The committee recommends that the ACT government reconsider variation 306 with regard to solar access and report on the review to the Legislative Assembly. I am pleased the committee has made this wise recommendation, and I urge the government to seriously consider the impact of the solar access provisions on the construction industry. Unfortunately, this was simply the government, especially Minister Corbell, stubbornly clinging to this notion that the solar access rules contained in variation 306 would have good outcomes when, in actual fact, they have done the opposite. They have not created better solar living spaces; they have created worse. They have not given us better streetscapes; they have given us worse streetscapes. They have not given us plots positioned well on sites; they have done the opposite.

The government have a very complicated and regulated planning system, but when the planning system becomes too restrictive they change the system to suit themselves, and this is exactly what has happened with planning legislation to allow the University of Canberra to sell off its land for development. This will allow the University of Canberra to compete with private developers in the residential market as well as with businesses and the commercial property owners at the Belconnen town centre and other surrounding suburbs. This is not good planning. It is yet another example of the government interfering in the planning system, creating uncertainty and establishing a two-tier system—one for them and another for everybody else.

The government is not even providing justification for the change. The only reason for allowing UC to develop their land is that the university has asked for it. So it seems that if you are in with the government you can simply get them to change the planning system for you. This is unacceptable; it is not what a planning system should be. A planning system should provide parameters, it should provide certainty and then allow people to take risks to create opportunities. Instead this government either micromanages or creates a system which is totally unworkable.

The complicated territory plan is a major problem within the ACT planning system. The plan is so long and confusing there are very few people who understand it let alone comply with it. On many occasions I have called for the government to conduct a comprehensive review of the territory plan to find ways to simplify it. I am not the only one who has noticed the problem in the territory. Architect Tony Trobe recently gave his opinion of the territory plan in an article in the Canberra Times where he said:

Over the years the ACT Planning code has expanded like an ex-rugby player on chocolate cake.

He also noted that many larger jurisdictions have smaller planning documents. Whilst the size of our planning regulations is not the only consideration, the fact that the territory plan has become so large is not something the government should be proud of. What we would do in 2½ thousand pages of territory plan is done by many other jurisdictions in 500 or 600 pages. We should be looking to those as good examples of how we can streamline the system to create a more workable system where everybody

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