Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 September 2017) . . Page.. 3867 ..
number of members were interstate on Assembly and other business. It would have been difficult for the committee to meet in that time frame. I believe everyone is in agreement that we will change it from 15 to 20 working days, so I commend the amendment to the Assembly.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (11.36): I rise to support both the bill as a whole and Ms Lawder’s amendment, and I will speak about why we are making the changes to require all Territory Plan variations to be referred to the appropriate committee. As Minister Gentleman mentioned, this is a parliamentary agreement item. The reason the Greens felt this was important enough to have as a parliamentary agreement item was that we felt it should not be up to the minister to decide whether or not something was important enough, interesting enough or controversial enough for the community to want to have full and proper consultation on it. We thought that the committee would be in a better position to make that sort of judgement than the minister.
One of the other reasons why we felt it had to be done was the very poor record of the previous Assembly. I have just had my office do a quick count, and in the previous Assembly there were over 30 Territory Plan variations approved. However, there were only four actual inquiries done—on Mr Fluffy, light rail, the Reid bus layover and the Cooyong Street urban renewal area. Not having been a member of the previous planning committee, I have no idea how many of them were referred to the planning committee and the planning committee said no, it did not want to look at them, and how many the minister simply did not refer. It does seem to be a fairly poor record that only four variations out of 30 were looked at in the previous Assembly. I will admit to being a submitter on one that was looked at by the planning committee—the Mr Fluffy one—and on another which the planning committee did not look at, the Riverview Ginninderry one.
Talking more broadly about amendments, I also note the comments that Ms Lawder made about technical amendments. This is an area that could potentially be misused and has been misused. I draw to members’ attention the fact that I have sitting on the notice paper a bill about technical amendments. I certainly think that work needs to be done on technical amendments so that we do not inadvertently or even advertently—I am not sure what has happened in all cases—have things that are probably not technical amendments being passed as technical amendments. My legislation on the notice paper says that if it is controversial then it is not a policy or error correction and thus cannot be a technical amendment.
Going back to what I was talking about before, public consultation is particularly important on Territory Plan variations for two reasons: (1) by definition, if it is a Territory Plan variation, it is a significant change of some sort; and (2) a lot of Territory Plan variations cover the whole of Canberra. For these, in many instances, public consultation is hard to organise. The current Territory Plan variations in this vein are the ones about end-of-trip facilities and active living. They are both good Territory Plan variations and important subjects, but, because they cover everybody, you cannot put up a notice so that everyone who will be affected will see it; thus many people who are affected do not get to see it.