Concern about lack of accountability and transparency in new Planning Bill


The Canberra Liberals are concerned that the Planning Bill 2022 that was presented in the ACT Legislative Assembly today does not have the best interests of Canberrans at heart.

Shadow Minister for Planning and Land Management, Peter Cain, has raised concerns about the apparent lack of accountability and transparency in the long-awaited legislation.

“The new Planning Bill reduces the power of the Assembly, appears to reduce the power of the Minister, and materially increases the power of the Chief Planner,” Mr Cain said.

“There are several uncertainties regarding development assessment and approvals, the Territory Priority Projects and discretionary powers, which have not been sufficiently clarified to Members, relevant stakeholders and the broader community.

“The removal of the pre-DA consultation period represents a divergence from the democratic process, with less capacity for the community to have their voices heard.”

The Minister claimed in his presentation speech in the Legislative Assembly that the legislation creates a “simpler system”, an assertion contested by Mr Cain.

“The revised DA process is more confusing and convoluted than ever.

“We have received no clarity on the details of the Territory Plan and District Strategies, the discretionary call-in powers of the Minister and Chief Planner have significantly increased, and the Territory Planning Authority adds another layer of red tape.

“The Minister has lost control of ACTPLA and the Chief Planner, as seen in the rejected DA for a Belconnen green-waste site, proving there is no public accountability for a publicly funded agency.

“The Canberra Liberals believe the planning system needs to be transparent, clearly articulated, and support the future vision of a Canberra that Canberrans want to see. The Labor-Greens Government’s proposed planning system does not do this.

“The people of Canberra deserve better than an expansive and expensive legislative reform package that only seems to advance an unelected and unaccountable planning bureaucracy.

“Despite this prolonged process of review and reform, there are still far too many questions marks over this legislation,” Mr Cain concluded.