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Wednesday, 10 November 1976
Page: 2524

Mr SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Mr FRY -This report deals with 32 proposals to vary the plan of layout of the City of Canberra and is the sixty-second such series of proposals to be referred to the Committee by the Minister for the Capital Territory. The Committee has been asked to deal with a large number of proposed variations during this current period of sittings. For instance, we reported to the Parliament on the 60th and 61st series on only 5 October last. We were requested to deal as quickly as possible with the present series to enable construction work to proceed on some of the items early in the new year. This has meant that we have not been able to give the detailed consideration to some of these proposals that their importance seems to warrant. In particular, we were asked to approve a number of variations that would have the effect of converting sites previously designated for development for medium density housing to permit development of those areas by the construction of standard detached housing. The Committee takes the view that it should obtain more information from the National Capital Development Commission on the Commission's long term policies for medium density housing in Canberra before it signifies approval to 3 proposals presented in the current series. The proposals in question involve a change of land use from medium to low density in areas close to shopping centres in Wanniassa, in Tuggeranong, the Kippax Centre in Holt and at Latham in Belconnen. The Committee has adopted a similar approach to a proposal put forward in this series for a new road to link the Campbell Park office complex with the Russell Offices. The Committee is not satisfied that the new road is necessary or that the new office blocks could not be served by modifications to existing roads.

In our report we request that implementation of these 4 proposals not proceed until we have examined them further and reported on them to the Parliament again. We would expect to do this early in the autumn sittings of 1977. We have requested that the Minister for the Capital Territory (Mr Staley) postpone that action he would normally take on receiving our report, which is to table the instrument of variations in both the Houses of Parliament, until the Committee has had the opportunity to give further consideration to these particular matters. I should also mention 2 other proposals of importance contained in the series now before the Senate. We were asked to approve a proposal for an access road off Canberra Avenue to serve a site for a tannery and other as yet undetermined industrial uses in the Jerrabomberra district. This is near the existing abattoirs. In the long term it is proposed to site other works in this area- of about 9 hectareswhich like the tannery have the potential to cause some environmental problems. The Committee was satisfied that the selected site is sufficiently distant from land users likely to be affected by the tannery. We were assured by officers of the Department of the Capital Territory that, in the construction and operation of any plant to be developed in the area, laws for environmental protection would be rigidly enforced. We expressed some concern that the Clean Air Ordinance is still only in draft form and has not yet become law. We recommend in our report that development of the tannery not be approved until the Ordinance has come into force. Other proposals contained in the current series which will be of interest to honourable members are those that will permit the development of the Belconnen Town Centre- in particular the proposed major shopping mall and the commencement of work to substantially improve parts of the Monaro Highway.

Finally, I should add something about the procedures we adopt when considering variations. When notice is given by the Minister of his intention to vary the gazetted plan, members of the public have 12 days in which to lodge objections to any proposal. It has been our custom when examining the proposals to call before the Committee those persons who have made formal objections. By this means the Committee can inform itself on community attitudes to proposals. On this occasion we facilitated an exchange of views between objectors and officers of the National Capital Development Commission and the Department of the Capital Territory. This seemed to us preferable to the procedure adopted in the past of discussing the objections separately with the official witnesses and the objectors themselves. We will adopt this practice in future whenever the importance of a particular matter would appear to warrant such a procedure. We have also asked the Minister to consider a new procedure which would ensure that, in future, consideration of variations by the Committee can be regularised so that they would come before us twice a year- once in the autumn sittings and once in the Budget sittings. This would obviate some of the problems which have arisen occasionally in the past with the Committee being asked to hurry its consideration of variations to meet planned development schedules. I commend the report to the House.

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