Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 November 1999
Parliamentary Record 20
Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 November 1999 and leafy trees that dont get chopped down by PAWA every couple of months will hopefully stay in place. Dwellings are built, and people look and they say: This is the place I want to live in, make my major life investment, my home, here. And they should have some certainty that when they do that, they will stay like that. If they want to go and live in a high rise block of flats, they go to a place where there are high rise blocks of flats. They know thats where theyre going to live because thats where they are, and thats what its going to be like around there. Thats where the certainty for the land owner comes in. When a developer comes in, wants to do something, they want to do a particular type of development, the plan should say: If you want to do those sort of things, we will have those things over there and those things over there and something else over here, so if you want to do that, go to the appropriate location and develop a plan in accordance with the guidelines for that area and youll get approval. There should be very little grounds for appeal by developers or by anybody else in that situation. The challenge we have, and this is where a lot of the controversy comes with planning, is twofold. Firstly, when people think they have a divine right to continually apply to change the zoning or to change the land use objectives. Secondly, when in some of the older and established suburbs - and my electorate suffers badly in this, it gets me in continuous conflict situations - we are living with an old town plan foisted on the community in 1981. Despite the wishes of the community they had zonings imposed on them. They did not have the community involvement, community commitment, community input in the development of the plans. Now people are coming up today saying: Oh, but this zoning has been here since 1981. Well, big deal. Weve kept all of our separate houses around here, we dont want flats in here any more. We have more flats then we can cope with in Nightcliff and Rapid Creek. We dont want any more. And that is where the conflict arises, because some of the existing plans were not done properly in the first place in the context of what we are talking about today. Had they gone through this process and the community commitment and involvement was there and they were maintaining a consistent thread, fine, because you know the area you are going into, and everyone around there wants it. But when a lot of those people bought a block of land somewhere it had a single detached housing zoning and somebody came along a few years later and said: I dont care what it was before. Now somebody can build a block of flats next door to you. Well buy up your home and put a block of flats on your home. And that is where conflict comes with the older established suburbs. It is not the function of this current plan. It is the lack of consultation in the past that is causing conflict today. New developers are coming along trying to exercise what they see as their rights on the zonings which is causing continuing aggravation. And often by people who were living in those homes 20 years ago. The fight has not finished in the minds of those people. I guess the member for Fannie Bay has a similar situation in Fannie Bay and Parap in her area where developments are occurring on land thats zoned appropriately for the development, but it wasnt when the people bought into the area. If this process is done properly for future developments - great. I believe youll end up with a structure that reflects the views of the community and you can provide future certainty. The challenge for government is to take this process and put some resources back into the older suburbs, as theyve been doing in the Darwin central business peninsula area, and reviewing the land use objectives and involving the community heavily over the past 5 or 6 years. Put the resources into doing the same things in those areas where people didnt get a chance to have a say before, and evolve some structure thats going to have community support for the future in those older suburbs. Until that is addressed, there will be continuing conflict and continuing warfare no matter how well we write the Planning Act and how good the development consent authority is, because at the end of the day that conflict is in peoples faces every day. Its unacceptable. We have to go back and be prepared to review past practice where the people were not properly involved, where they still have a very strong view about their own community. I believe that can be addressed. There are some technical issues in the legislation. For example, the Darwin town plan will still be in force as the land use objectives and the control orders, even under the new legislation. A point of conflict thats continuously in mind, for example - if I sound a bit fussy about this its because there are already far too many flats in Nightcliff and Rapid Creek - is that it has a chance to dramatically increase and there is a serious risk of deprivation of amenity and quality of life. Theyre fundamentally changing the character of my electorate if that is developed as highest and best use, as planners love to say. Maybe its the highest and best value for developers, but its not the highest and best use for the amenity and quality of life of the citizens who live there and around there, and thats the challenge. 4805
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