Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2016) . . Page.. 225 ..
Planning and Development Act 2007—variation No 343 to the territory plan
Motion to reject
MR COE (Ginninderra) (11.17): I move:
That, this Assembly, in accordance with subsection 80(2) of the Planning and Development Act 2007, rejects Variation No. 343 to the Territory Plan—Residential blocks surrendered under the loose fill asbestos insulation eradication scheme.
The Canberra Liberals oppose variation 343 because it is bad planning. Variation 343 changes the planning rules for the Mr Fluffy blocks that the government has purchased as part of its buyback scheme. The provisions of variation 343 allow unit titling for dual occupancy development on blocks in the RZ1 zone. This would apply to Mr Fluffy blocks that are over 700 square metres. The current requirement is that blocks must be 800 square metres for unit titling to be allowed. The variation also changes the height limits and plot ratio allowances for dual occupancies.
Variation 343 is unfair and has no planning rationale. It is not fair to do a spot rezoning of a small number of blocks scattered through the territory. There is nothing to differentiate these blocks from any other blocks, except for the fact that historically there was a house on them that had problems. There is nothing inherently different about these blocks, so it is not fair to treat them any differently. It is no wonder that one witness appearing before the planning committee’s inquiry described it as throwing darts at a map of Canberra in terms of how the planning is being done.
People want certainty in a good planning system. They want to know that if a block is in a certain area, it will be zoned in a certain way and the same conditions will apply to that block as to any other block that is zoned in that way. They may not necessarily like the way the block is zoned, but they want to be sure that the conditions that are attached to it are, indeed, consistent.
Indeed, this is not even a matter of actually changing the zoning; there will still be RZ1. So there will be considerable confusion in years to come where one block has dual occupancy rights and the one next door does not, because it is not going to be clearly listed. Someone will buy a block and not necessarily know that perhaps their neighbour did have the opportunity to do a dual occupancy. How will the public and future land owners and neighbours be informed that some blocks in their street may or may not have dual occupancy rights? This is especially the case if a dual occupancy is not built immediately. If someone buys one of these blocks and then in 10, 20 or 30 years time decides to put a dual occupancy on this block, you can rest assured that the neighbours there are not going to be aware of that right, and the neighbours would have bought into something they did not know existed.
Variation 343 is yet another example of this government’s running a two-track planning system. The government has one rule for Canberrans—that is, the rule for taxpayers and ratepayers—and another, more favourable, rule for itself. When the government finds the planning rules too restrictive, it just changes them to make life