Page 1262 - Week 04 - Thursday, 7 April 2016

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For example, a merit development application by itself is open for consultation for 15 working days and a draft territory plan variation is open for 30 working days.

These two planning processes can be conducted as a concurrent process. If a concurrent process is run, the DA and the other concurrent document will be notified for a period of not less than 35 working days. This means that instead of two consultation periods that normally happen months apart, there is one longer consultation period that allows greater time for the community to review and comment on the package of planning documents. The consolidated consultation also provides the proponent with time saving achieved by the concurrent process as well as by having a consolidated set of comments to respond to.

Madam Deputy Speaker, there are a lot of technical elements to this bill. To my mind, and this is the reason I will be supporting this bill, it not only improves the efficiency of the planning process but it gives the community a clearer idea of what is being proposed in a particular development, allowing them to provide more informed input. Every member of this place will have been to community discussions about planning proposals where often the community, particularly when territory plan variations are being brought on, want to know what the final proposal will look like. That will help them to shape their view on the territory plan variation.

To my mind this process offers a real opportunity for people to have a much more holistic view of what is being proposed. As I say, whilst to some extent it is about efficiencies, and that is not a bad thing, members of the community will find this to be a beneficial amendment to the act. It allows proponents to run a better process where they want to have genuine community engagement. So I am pleased to support this bill today.

MR HINDER (Ginninderra) (11.24): I am pleased to speak today in support of the Planning and Development (Efficiencies) Amendment Bill 2016. The bill demonstrates this government’s very firm commitment to the reduction of red tape and improving service delivery experiences for the citizens of the ACT. It does this by bringing together planning processes which, at times, can be more efficiently and effectively undertaken concurrently rather that sequentially.

The Planning and Development Act 2007 has now been in operation for nearly nine years and during that time government has continued to monitor its operation and, when appropriate, amend the act. This bill presents a conceptually simple but powerful set of reforms which will enable many significant development proposals to be better understood and approved with less fuss.

I would like to focus on how the bill delivers innovative opportunities for proponents through the concurrent notification of development applications with a draft territory plan variation and/or a draft environmental impact statement. I first acknowledge that the new concurrent development application process affects only a small proportion of proposals for the simple reason that for the majority of developments a territory plan variation is not required nor would the proposal trigger an assessment of the environmental impacts. This does not mean to say that the community as a whole does not benefit; in fact, it does.

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