Page 4975 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 28 November 2018

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Public housing—Chapman

MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development. Minister, recent media reports indicate that work has started on the Chapman public housing site before ACAT has released reasons for rejecting a resident’s appeal against this proposal. Minister, why have you allowed work to commence before publication of ACAT’s rationale for their decision?

MS BERRY: I thank Mr Parton for this question. I have been advised that the decision ACAT made was delivered verbally to the applicant and to the ACT government, and that barristers for the ACT government and a barrister for the applicant were present during the decision.

After a decision was made, there is a 28-day time frame when an applicant can make an appeal on the decision of ACAT. I understand that that has not occurred but that there are still opportunities, should people want to make a submission—

Mr Parton: But they have not seen the reasons.

MS BERRY: They were both told and there were barristers in the room. Both barristers were there, including the barrister of the applicant. The reason why a verbal decision was made at that point in time, I am advised, is that considerable time had passed since the time when the original ACTPLA decision was made.

Presidential Member McCarthy noted during his verbal decision, which is available on transcript, I understand, that the need for the community and industry to have confidence in the planning process and to ensure development is not delayed any longer than required was the reason why he made a verbal decision prior to putting out a written decision.

The verbal decision stands and is available, I understand, on transcript. That is the recollection that has been provided to me on what happened during that ACAT hearing.

MR PARTON: Minister, will you stop this work and allow Chapman residents, who do not believe that they have access to the reasons for this ACAT decision—they do not believe that they have the reasons in front of them—a fair go at an appeals process?

MS BERRY: As I said, the advice that I have is that the residents or the applicants to ACAT were provided with a verbal decision by Presidential Member McCarthy and were advised, I understand, with their barrister present, that they could appeal that decision if they would like. So all of that information has been provided. They had legal support, I understand, with them during that verbal decision that was made, and the appeal process was available to them should they decide to do that. So no; the process has been gone through. ACAT has made its decision and the government is able to go ahead and continue to develop public housing for some of the most vulnerable people in our community in Chapman.

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