Page 3886 - Week 10 - Thursday, 20 September 2018

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I move:

That the Assembly take note of the ministerial statement.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.57): I thank Minister Gentleman and all the participants in the collaboration hub, firstly, for their report and, secondly, for the government’s response to it. I think this is such a contrast for me. I have just sat through a couple of days of committee hearings about the DA process. I would have to say that there were not many positive stories in that—possibly none—whereas this is a methodology that is producing a lot more positive stories and ways forward. As members will know, the Greens have been big supporters of deliberative democracy for a long time. I think this is a very good use of it.

I am not foolish enough to think that we will ever have universal agreement about planning in Canberra or anywhere else. I am not suggesting even that it is a good thing to have universal agreement. But certainly we need to do consultation better and differently from what we have done and I think this is a very positive step forward.

I will go slightly into the detail. Obviously, I have not really had time to absorb the government’s response. I am very pleased that, basically, they have in principle accepted all of the recommendations, because I think the recommendations in general are moving in the right direction to a more sustainable Canberra—a more sustainable, a more affordable, a more environmentally sustainable Canberra. These are the sorts of things that the Greens have been pushing for for a long time. I think the community as a whole is realising that these are issues that we need to look at.

One of our problems at present is that our current rules are producing housing that is unaffordable and environmentally unsustainable. The rules encourage very large buildings that are unaffordable and that become environmentally very unfriendly. They allow for development that leaves no room for trees and gardens. The rules make it harder to do smaller, more sustainable and more affordable houses such as dual occupancies, duplexes, townhouses and terrace houses.

From the Greens’ point of view, we would like to see ways that we can build smaller, more affordable houses that protect our green garden city. We would like to see ways to build houses of a high quality that work for the residents, are affordable and that protect our environment. I think the recommendations from the housing choices collaboration hub in general walk in that direction.

It is very positive to see their emphasis on landscape in all the zones, realising that we actually need plantable areas, not just areas that are not covered in buildings. The two are not exactly the same. I note that the government says that it is going to start work on these recommendations in a range of processes. I urge the government to do this work sooner rather than later. I would hate to see this become yet another report that in a number of years people do not know where it went.

I thank the government very much for its support, for doing the collaboration hub and for its support for its recommendations. I urge it to get on with the job of looking at them in great detail and implementing them.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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