Page 1519 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017

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MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (10.36), by leave: I will make my substantive comments in relation to Ms Lawder’s motion. I do not want to breach the standing orders in that regard by pre-empting debate on the motion. I want to respond to some comments made by Mr Hanson where he slighted both Ms Cody and me in relation to the march made on the weekend.

Before coming into this place, I made a commitment to the community that I would regularly engage with them through mobile offices, which I publish on my website. I had a longstanding commitment to a mobile office at Cooleman Court on Saturday morning with Ms Cody. We met with a range of different members of the Weston Creek community to talk about public housing issues, including one person who is in the gallery. We have also been meeting with public housing groups around each of the sites and engaging with them, as well as having regular correspondence. So I do not appreciate the comments made by Mr Hanson that we were not bothered to engage when, in fact, we were doing so on the exact day of the march, and while the march was taking place. But I will make my substantive comments during the debate on Ms Lawder’s motion.

Planning and Development (Territory Plan Variations) Amendment Bill 2017

Ms Le Couteur, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.39): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Greens stand for open and transparent community engagement. This is one of the key principles we use whenever we are making decisions. This bill addresses an important loophole where community engagement has become at best less open and transparent than it should be and at worst non-existent.

This loophole in the Planning and Development Act has become more apparent over the past decade. It is an important loophole because it cuts off the community’s rights to have a say on planning changes. It is intended to be used for “minor”, “error” and “technical or non-policy” amendments, but it is a loophole that many in the community are becoming increasingly frustrated with and which needs to be closed.

To explain, I have to make a brief diversion into the detailed innards of the planning system. This is technical and complex but, as many in the community know, unfortunately when you want to have a say on planning and development issues you often have to become an expert in these technical details.

The Territory Plan sets out the planning rules that developments have to follow in the ACT government-controlled parts of the ACT. The Territory Plan has to be changed

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