Page 3451 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 September 2015

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They do not face north. The solar access rules are a failure. They lead to poor outcomes and have failed to achieve what they were designed to. We believe, as do people in the industry, that a simple building envelope or an increased solar fence will provide a much better outcome.

Planners and architects in the ACT are well able to design houses that take advantage of the environment without unnecessarily impacting on their neighbours. The government should not be trying to over-regulate this area. The facts are the vast majority of houses that have come to market—that is, greenfield houses—over the course of this government’s life have been done by the LDA, so there is a problem. If there is a problem with estate plans, if Mr Rattenbury or Mr Gentleman has a problem with estate plans, then they are the ones who are responsible. This government is responsible for estate plans here in the territory.

The government has been consistently warned that the solar access rules are bad planning. Their arrogance in refusing to listen to the community has led to so many negative outcomes for the territory. It is time for them to accept that they got it wrong with the solar access rules in variation 306. I therefore call on the government to join the opposition by agreeing to remove the solar access laws and bring some common sense back to the planning system of the ACT by either returning to a simple building envelope or by significantly increasing the solar fence.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (5.14): I thank Mr Coe for bringing this motion here today. As has been stated previously in the Assembly, variation 306 introduced changes to policies around solar access for residential development. These changes were about addressing the serious issues of energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. They were also about providing certainty to home owners and ensuring that opportunities for passive solar design would be available to every residential block despite the likelihood of the house being on a sloping site.

The variation not only improved the solar access rules that apply to individual blocks, but it made changes to the Estate Development Code. The code specifies the requirements of a new subdivision such as entity requirements and provisions for shared paths, public transport and open space areas. The estate code also updated the provisions relating to block width and orientation on various slopes. Prior to variation 306, detached residential blocks were required to comply with an energy audit rating tool rating blocks from zero to five stars. While this tool worked well in some situations, it did not apply to compact blocks with an attached party wall and relied upon the setbacks of future dwellings to determine the energy rating for each block.The introduction of the block compliance tables with variation 306 means that the slope, orientation and width of a block are taken into consideration in the design of the subdivision. Adherence with these tables ensures residential blocks are oriented and proportioned so that houses can be built with daytime living areas facing north with sunlit, private open access and spaces. Adherence with these tables and, in turn,

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