Page 1493 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017
delivering a significantly expanded city renewal and suburban land development program. The program will be bigger. The resources will need to be bigger.
The Assembly has already heard today from both the opposition and the Greens party on a number of matters regarding the bill. Whilst they will, of course, be addressed in the detail stage on Thursday I will take the opportunity this afternoon to respond to some issues that have been raised in the debate so far.
This bill is the legal vehicle by which the government will establish the City Renewal Authority and the Suburban Land Agency as separate territory authorities and, in doing so, articulate their respective roles, statutory responsibilities and functions. To this extent, the bill is a tool for creating a positive, authorised environment in which these entities will operate. By clearly defining and establishing the legislative responsibilities that each entity will be required to discharge, the government has, in effect, also made clear the parameters of the powers that these entities may exercise.
Mr Coe: I thought you said the bill does it.
MR BARR: That is exactly what I said. This bill is the tool for—
Mr Coe interjecting—
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: This is not a conversation. This is a debate.
MR BARR: The outer limits are reinforced by the existing planning and development framework created by the Planning and Development Act 2007 and the framework of accountability, scrutiny and responsibility set out in the Financial Management Act 1996.
As members are aware, the government has already responded to the Auditor-General’s report into certain Land Development Agency transactions, and those matters have indeed been canvassed extensively in this place, in public, during the election campaign, and beyond. So it is nonsense to suggest that every aspect of the operation of public sector entities should be subject to the legislative process. It is certainly our job as legislators to set out the framework in which territory authorities are permitted to operate, and parliamentary process provides more than sufficient opportunity for scrutiny of decisions by the boards of statutory authorities, as Australia Post discovered earlier this year. The Financial Management Act already establishes a robust framework against which the boards of the new entities can be held accountable.
This morning and again this afternoon the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition criticised the need for creating a City Renewal Authority and a Suburban Land Agency. This does appear to be at odds with the planning policy that they took to last year’s election which specifically stated:
A Canberra Liberal Government would reform the Land Development Agency.