Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 30 November 1993



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 30 November 1993

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Parliamentary Record 23


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 30 November 1993 Unlike many members opposite, I have appeared before the tribunal on many occasions and I have found the chairman prepared to listen. The tribunal has been open in its discussions. Certainly, it excludes those who appear in order that it may make its deliberations behind closed doors, and that is not an uncommon feature of tribunals. I am sure that there are many different views as to how this tribunal should operate and various directions that have been developed over time by the chairman of the tribunal have met the various concerns. It would be true to say that anyone who has wanted to have their say before the tribunal has been given a hearing. I have looked for instances where people have been excluded or have felt that they have been discriminated against. The only examples that I could find were 2 developers who felt that they had not been given a fair shake. In relation to the role of local authorities or councils, I must admit that I started out with the view that local councils should have a bigger say in relation to planning matters. However, my experience in the Territory suggests otherwise. There is no better example of that them one that arose last night. I attended a public meeting in Charles Street where there has been what can be described only as a debacle in relation to parking. The whole footpath has been literally taken away and that can be sheeted home firmly to the local authority. Certainly, there is a role for locals to participate in the way that is provided for in the legislation. I propose to comment on the amendments as they proceed, and I look forward to hearing the debate. Mr COLLINS (Greatorex): Mr Deputy Speaker, you will recall that, a couple of years ago, I introduced a private member's bill that would have required that, when members of the Planning Authority vote on a matter before the authority, the results of that vote are made public. I feel very strongly about that and I note that several other members agree with that principle. The aim is not to embarrass the members of the authority. If its members knew that the way they in which they voted would be on the record and people would be able to approach them to find out the reasons behind their decision, that would encourage them to think the issues through carefully and weigh up all the evidence before taking their decision. That in turn would put them in a position where they could stand up happily in public and give the reasons why they voted in a particular way. I believe that would apply a salutary and even pressure from all sides. The member for Wanguri suggested that, under the current legislation, the minister was able apply pressure in subtle ways to the Planning Authority to have it make decisions in particular ways. That may or may not have been the case. However, I can think of no fairer method than by encouraging all members of the Planning Authority to give serious consideration to all arguments for and against a proposal and to be able to justify their decisions to anybody who asks about them. I do not agree that anybody should abuse a member of the Planning Authority. In fact, its members should be protected from abuse. However, where people inquire civilly about a member of the authority's reasons for voting in a particular way, it would be excellent if the member were aware that the way he or she voted was known publicly. Members could then give their reasons for having voted in the particular way they did. Unfortunately, that will not happen, but it would have been the fairest way to go. I noted that, in cross-Chamber chatter, a member on the government benches indicated that he agreed with the idea and he has had some experience in this Planning Authority area as minister at one time. 10 645

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