Page 4747 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017

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practice for minor public works in reserves. If works comply with this code of practice, then development approval does not need to be obtained for the works proposal.

Under the current planning approval process the time and cost involved in applying for and receiving approval to undertake works in reserves is often disproportionate to the scale and nature of the minor works being proposed. To create a more efficient assessment process and remove the need for a case-by-case approval each time the works are proposed, the amendments in the bill will enable a single overarching process for authorisation to undertake works in reserves.

In addition to reducing the administrative and procedural requirements of the current process, the new approach set out in the bill will be a robust and transparent process and involve more Assembly scrutiny. To achieve the outcomes I have spoken about, the bill contains a number of key amendments which I will summarise now, and then discuss in further detail.

Firstly, the Nature Conservation Act is amended to insert a power for the conservator to approve a minor public works code of practice. The second aspect of the bill is that it amends the Planning and Development Act and the planning and development regulation so that minor public works carried out in accordance with the code are removed from the impact assessment track and do not need to complete an environmental impact statement if they are performed under and comply with the code of practice.

Works performed under the code will also be exempt from the requirement to obtain development approval if they are carried out in accordance with the code. This is consistent with other exempt development rules for public works undertaken by the territory. The bill also contains an amendment to chapter 9 of the Nature Conservation Act which contains offences for activities in reserves so that undertaking works in accordance with the code will not constitute an offence.

Clause 50 the bill inserts a power into the Nature Conservation Act to enable the Conservator of Flora and Fauna to approve a minor public works code. The code is a code of practice for minor public works carried out in reserves by or on behalf of the territory. A code sets out the standards and practices for undertaking such works to ensure that they do not have significant adverse environmental impact. It may also include circumstances where works are not likely to have an impact or conditions to apply to works so they do not have an impact.

Compared to the current process of having the conservator providing an environmental significance opinion or ESO on a case-by-case basis, the code will act as a standing ESO which will prescribe conditions up-front that must be met to ensure that a proposal will not have a significant environmental impact.

I will speak more about ESOs and the planning framework in a moment. Where a proposal complies with the standards and practices and conditions set out in the code it will be unlikely that the works will have an environmental impact. In these circumstances it is justified that the proposal does not need an environmental impact

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