Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 November 1999



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 November 1999

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Parliamentary Record 20


Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




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 23 November 1999 evolved from the principles that were debated extensively between 1990 and 1993 and have been processed into the legislation with a high level of community consultation. The difficulties that emerged then are being addressed now. Its a shame that the opposition, who didnt pay much attention to the previous process, seem to have paid little attention to involving themselves in this evolution of planning. But with the best planning in the world, youll still have good reasons for fights and arguments if you dont go back and fix up past mistakes in planning that didnt involve the community. Mr BALDWIN (Lands, Planning and Environment): Mr Speaker, I thank members who took part in the second-reading debate on this very, very important legislation. Let me say at the very beginning that I believe this act is a very balanced act, one that will stand the Territory in good stead for many years to come. I am certainly very satisfied that government has consulted very widely and given every opportunity for community input into its development. The member for Nightcliff made a very good point. This act builds on the act that was debated in the House in 1993 and implemented in 1994. Its not a whole new change, as it were. Yes, it is a new act, but it builds on the important work done in those years. To remain contemporary, one needs to keep ensuring that we review all of our acts. The current act is about balancing the competing needs of the community. And they are competing, obviously. This bill achieves the balance that is needed. Yes, the amendment schedule was distributed at a late time, but that is not unusual. The requirement is that amendment schedules are placed before members of the House before going into the committee stage. I can certainly assure the Leader of the Opposition that the amendments that are contained in this schedule do mostly come from my recent consultation with community groups and local government, and there is nothing to fear or be suspicious about. Theyre providing for more clarity. Some of them are technical amendments, others more substantial, but they certainly come from my latest consultation, last week, with all sorts of groups and some individuals. The Leader of the Opposition made a great claim of lack of consultation. Under my direction as planning minister, this new act has had more consultation than any other for a long, long time. It is not usual for government to put out discussion papers and this was the case with the Planning Act or the Planning Bill. A draft bill was put out, tabled in this House - not introduced - and then put out far and wide. In fact, I sent many letters out accompanying precises of the bill and the discussion paper to all community groups, local governments right across the Territory, and to interested individuals, and that is not a usual practice. It is something that I have done with the Residential Tenancy Act. It is something that worked very well in engaging the community views and getting their input before the introduction. It allows amendments to be made prior to the introduction of a bill, therefore giving more time for greater community consultation. There were 55 submissions from that draft discussion bill, some of them in the form of formal letters, but with a great deal of good input as well and that was a great result. There was certainly, in that period, very wide consultations in all sorts of forums across the Territory. There were local government forums by my officers and myself, and community group forums. I held meetings in my office with community groups, local governments and interested individuals. There has been very considerable community consultation in this whole process and in the period since the introduction in October up until now, the debating of this bill. There has been a further 16 submissions and then another round of meetings, particularly with local government and community groups on the submissions that they put forward. Its probably worth noting while were on the subject of local government that not all of the local government councils have agreed with the LGANT position, and thats what I mean about balance. Some havent come forward at all, including some municipals. I appreciate that LGANT provides the principle over-arching view and speaks on behalf of all local government in the Northern Tenitory. I know that probably more than most in this House, having been involved very closely with that organisation. But there are municipal councils out there and community government councils that dont share the views that were put forward in LGANTs submission. Thats a good point to remember in understanding that there are differing views for differing areas, and it is all about a balance between all parties. Community views, developers rights, local governments views and input, in the context and the environment of the strategic development of the Northern Tenitory, all of those views have to be taken into account. It would be a very serious act and of substantial thickness greater than this one, I would suggest, if you were able to make everybody happy all of the time about planning. Planning will always be controversial because it does affect everybody. This government does realise that, and weve gone to great lengths to ensure that weve 4807