Page 3855 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 19 September 2017
interesting to follow. We were also advised during the briefing that the rules would not be retrospective.
My understanding from that briefing is that this amendment to the act has come about from the recommendations from the Lloyd review into the Mitchell chemical fire in 2011. The review was released four years ago, in 2013. It begs the question as to why it has taken six years after the fire, four years since the report, to enact these changes.
The second part of the bill provides for a more flexible approach when considering development proposals on contaminated sites. The bill allows for a development proposal involving contaminated land to be removed out of the impact track if the planning and land authority provides an environmental significance opinion, ESO, stating that the proposal is not likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact. One of the examples given during the briefing was a petrol station site, with someone wishing to build on only a small part of that site which is not where the contaminated area might be.
If the ESO is provided, the development will be assessed in the merit track or may even be an exempt development. As an ESO is less onerous and quicker than an EIS, yet still retains proper and adequate oversight of the environmental impacts, this does seem like a logical measure that we will support. The change is a change that reduces red tape and allows for businesses and developers to get on with advancing the community where it is appropriate.
Thirdly, the bill amends the act to require that all draft Territory Plan variations be referred to the planning committee. The committee must decide if they will conduct an inquiry into the draft plan variation within 15 working days and, if they do decide to review, conduct the review within six months, or three months in relation to light rail. There will be some amendments circulated specifically relating to this particular part, and we will talk about that later.
I note that the obligation to refer draft variations to the committee does not apply to technical amendments. We have seen in the past how technical amendments can be used to sneak things in unknown to the public. The example we have seen more recently is changes to CFZ land. They are meant to be minor and technical in nature, but the government has a track record of making substantial changes and dressing them up as technical amendments, to the dismay of many members of the community.
Technical amendments could have been included in this particular amendment. Without including them, the government is referring amendments to the committee to say that they are consulting without actually consulting on changes that the community believe are very substantive changes. It is ironic that technical amendments which are meant to be minor in nature can be the most substantive but are not referred to the committee.
I have spoken in this place many times about the need for consultation with the community. Again, in my briefing with the directorate, I asked them who they consulted with outside of government, but I was told that there had not been any consultation taking place. I once again remind the minister of the importance of