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    Planning minister admits planning system failures

By CRISPIN HULL


ACT Planning Minister Simon Corbell admitted today (Mar 7) that the planning system in the ACT is resource intensive, uncertain and unable to respond quickly to changing community needs and expectations.

“The system gives rise to inconsistencies in decision-making,” he said.

Mr Corbell has been planning Minister for four years.

He was announcing a consultation process to identify better ways of developing the policies and making decisions about Canberra's planning and land administration “to achieve the best possible outcomes on the ground”.

He said, “A contemporary planning and land administration system, with simplified processes is a step closer to becoming a reality today as final preparations for public consultation get under way. . . .

'The current reform process began in earnest late last year, with a comprehensive review of existing legislation, policies and practices and an investigation into best practise models from other jurisdictions, a number of which are reviewing their own systems.

'The development of any new system must happen in a way which draws together and integrates the views of agencies across Government.

“Recognising that, the ACT Planning and Land Authority project team have been working closely with other government agencies to formulate and develop a set of directions for the planning system reform project.

The overarching reform agenda, guided by the Minister's Statement of Planning Intent in 2003 will address:

* The management of leasehold estate, with an emphasis on more effective and transparent administration and compliance.

* Streamlining the development assessment system.

* Amendments to environmental impact assessment to ensure that the level of assessment is aligned with the level of impact.

* Maintaining and promoting a single integrated development assessment path.

* Elevating the status and role of strategic planning and policy instruments in guiding decision making and engaging the community early in the planning process, including an overhaul of the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 and the Territory Plan.

* Providing appropriate safe-guards for members of the community most directly affected by policy change and development applications.

'Separately, short term changes will be made to minimise planning system impediments in Civic, town centres and along transport corridors,' Corbell said.

The reform process would also look to see how, in the future, we can better integrate National Capital and regional planning into the Territory's planning system.

It was now up to the Canberra community to constructively contribute toward the upcoming consultation process.

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