More work needed to improve the Planning Bill


The ACT Greens have welcomed the release of the Planning, Transport and City Services Committee report on the Planning Bill, noting the need for significant amendment before the Bill is debated in the Assembly.   

“This Bill is of enormous interest to community and industry. It will impact the way Canberra grows and develops for decades to come,” ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said.  

“The Committee’s report demonstrates the need for the ACT Government to take a closer look at specific issues such as governance, community consultation, transparency and environmental protection.  

“If the community is going to have confidence in the planning system, we need to make sure these recommendations are incorporated before we debate this Bill.” 

“The Committee received 65 written submissions,” ACT Greens spokesperson for planning Jo Clay said. “In the space of two days, we heard evidence from 57 witnesses. The new system is enormously complex and we have to get this right.  

“The Committee made 49 recommendations about consultation, housing affordability, governance, environmental protection, climate change and other matters. 

“Consultation needs to improve. Government should give people detailed reasons showing why their views weren’t included and provide case studies showing how the new system will work. Government should also restore and improve the process of pre-DA consultation. 

“The drafting needs to be clearer. We need to know what is meant by a ‘good planning outcome’ and by ‘substantial public benefit’.  

“We need stronger environmental protection. Local protection laws should be recognised. National concepts like ‘ecologically sustainable development’ should be harmonised. Biodiversity and climate change should be better addressed. 

“We need a review of governance arrangements and better resourcing for the Territory Planning Authority and ACAT.

“We also need to think about Territory Priority Projects. I’m glad our Committee recommended that Territory Priority Projects must have sufficient community consultation and that the Assembly must be held to account for them. But I made additional comments recommending that a Territory Priority Project must also meet all three public interest tests and must be limited to public projects and community housing.” 

The Planning, Transport and City Services Committee’s Inquiry report into the Planning Bill is here: