Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 May 2017) . . Page.. 1443 ..
necessarily made with the broader strategic planning focus that is needed for the best outcomes for our community. We are concerned that this problem of the LDA taking on a policy and planning function outside the guidance of the Planning and Land Authority is not clearly addressed in the legislation.
We do think that a large part of this is cultural. We are very hopeful that, with two new boards and new authorities, the culture will be different. But we would have to say that it is important to ensure that the new structure maintains an independent role for the Planning and Land Authority’s planning assessors, the Conservator for Flora and Fauna, and heritage assessments, and that they are separate from the development arm of government. It is also important that there is greater accountability to deliver strategic planning, and that it overarches all government development to ensure that the new bodies do not improperly influence planning policy to serve commercial imperatives at the expense of good planning.
The Auditor-General’s report on certain land acquisitions in 2016 uncovered a lack of probity and rigour in the way the LDA had conducted several land acquisitions, including what are called strategic acquisitions. In one set of strategic acquisitions, the LDA spent almost $25 million buying development land to the west of Canberra for potentially over 15,000 homes, despite this not being part of the government’s growth plan in the ACT planning strategy. There was no community consultation and, despite the expenditure, we still have no idea what the environmental or transport impacts of developing these areas would or could be.
In conclusion, the Greens will be working with the government—and the Liberal Party, hopefully—to ensure that these principles are included in the legislation and that Canberra gets the world-class planning and development system it deserves, one that prioritises long-term wellbeing and sustainability for the community.
While we welcome the government’s reforms to public sector land development in the ACT, it remains to be seen how successful these reforms will be in addressing a number of the problems of the LDA. The Greens are hopeful that the government will take this as the opportunity it needs to set up Canberra as a world-class centre for urban design, planning and development. We will be waiting to hear in the future from the community about how these two bodies operate in practice, and we will revisit the issues if there are issues in the future.
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2.30 pm.
Questions without notice
Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—government policy
MR COE: Madam Speaker, my question is for the Chief Minister. Today every member of the Assembly received an email containing a stinging rebuke of your government from the CEO of Winnunga expressing her “frustration and deep disappointment” with your government. She further states: “I expect transparency in