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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 August 2016) . . Page.. 2558 ..

proposal. It was a cash grab. It really had nothing to do with planning; it had nothing to do with what was actually the best outcome for the city. It was simply a cash grab. The government refused to listen to the community and the experts—until the Canberra Liberals announced an alternative proposal for the area. After much pressure from the community, and having this clear alternative on the table, the government finally agreed to lower the height limit for the area. However, huge amounts of time and energy were wasted in trying to make the government see sense. And even this revision has its problems. There are still many questions and a distinct lack of clarity about exactly what will and will not be allowed.

The government’s attitude to these local communities, and indeed all local communities, is wrong. Instead of consulting and working with the community, the government constantly tries to impose changes that the community does not want. We see the gamesmanship of this government. We see it deliberately go for more apartments or more units and then revise it down slightly and expect to be thanked. That is no way to do planning policy. The people of Canberra deserve more respect.

The government has a habit of making unfair changes to our planning system. The territory plan variation for Mr Fluffy blocks was one such example. The government made changes to the rules that were unfair. They created an uneven playing field. The Mr Fluffy variation imposed a different set of planning rules for Mr Fluffy blocks. Seven hundred or so blocks were given additional rights over every other block in Canberra that had the same criteria. We think that is simply wrong. As one person said at the committee inquiry, it was planning being done by throwing darts at a map of Canberra. That, of course, is not good governance.

The government’s solar access rules continue to lead to more expensive houses that are poorly designed. We are not getting the best outcome as a result of variation 306. And, although the government has put in variation 346—years late, I might add—and it does improve the situation for new suburbs, it has created confusion. The government does not have the confidence to go ahead and make the necessary planning change for other parts of Canberra.

Although the variation 346 changes are a welcome improvement, the government should have worked up a solution that was applicable right across Canberra. It is not good enough to create yet more inequality in our planning system. It is totally unfair to choose the zoning of a block based on the type of insulation that was installed in a former house on that block. It is totally unreasonable to have a situation whereby so many houses in Canberra have in effect been stripped of their property rights, their development rights, because of variation 306. It is leading to worse solar outcomes. It is leading to blocks positioned at the northern end rather than the southern end. Because of that, we are seeing yards in the south rather than yards in the north. We are seeing suburbs that are being deliberately designed to minimise the shadow. In effect, we have many houses in Moncrieff, as one particular example, where all that is facing north is a garage, a front door and a front window. Very little sunlight is actually going to go into that house—and that is an intergenerational problem; it will be there forever. Rather, houses should be positioned east-west, with the longest side of the house and the living spaces facing north, therefore being able to capture more sunlight.

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