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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 September 2017) . . Page.. 3860 ..


Authority produces an environmental significance opinion indicating that the proposal is not likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact. Clause 12 of the bill substitutes a new section 138AA(1)(b) to permit an environmental significance opinion to be applied for in relation to item 7 of schedule 4. If the environmental significance opinion is provided, the development will be assessed in the merit track or may even be exempt development if the criteria are met. This process is the same as applies for other impact track matters where an environmental significance opinion is provided.

In preparing the environmental significance opinion, the planning authority is required by clause 13 of the bill to consult a number of entities. Those entities are the Work Safety commissioner, the Environment Protection Authority, the emergency services commissioner, the Director-General of ACT Health and, if an area neighbouring the ACT is affected, the council for that area.

In conclusion, the proposed amendments are a red tape reduction measure. An environmental significance opinion is a less onerous and quicker process than preparing an environmental impact statement, but it is considered a process that provides for proper and adequate oversight of the environmental impacts of a proposed development on contaminated land.

Clause 13 of the bill requires the authority to consult a number of entities in preparing the environmental significance opinion, including the environment protection order. It is the government’s view that the bill provides a more appropriate process for the assessment of development proposals on contaminated sites. It is also an example of the government keeping a careful eye on how the planning processes are working out in the real world and making adjustments to the legislation as and when required, to reduce red tape. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Urban Renewal) (11.12), in reply: I thank members for their comments and their input on this bill. As we have heard, the bill amends the Planning and Development Act 2007 to implement three measures. I will summarise these and talk about two of the measures in detail. Ms Orr has already detailed the third measure.

One set of amendments provides a planning assessment framework for the storage of dangerous substances, as recommended by the review of the 2011 Mitchell chemical fire. I am sure everyone remembers that fire. The government undertook an investigation after the fire. The amendments are based on the recommendations of the report on the fire done by Lloyd’s Register Rail Ltd on 30 July 2012.

The second set of amendments is a red tape reduction measure. Presently, all development applications involving land on the contaminated sites register must be assessed in the impact track and an environmental impact statement, otherwise known as EIS, must be undertaken. The bill removes this automatic requirement for developers to get an environmental impact statement when they can demonstrate that the work they want to do on the site will not disturb the soil or impact on the


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