ACT Minister takes the mick

Minister for Canberra Planning re-asserts his authority

The Minister for Canberra Planning has reassured residents that the minister has read the hundreds of submissions that hard working Canberra residents have submitted about the so-called planning reforms.

The minister recognises that in the past, the government has failed to acknowledge that the city’s residents have important points to make on planning and development. He said the he regrets that these views have been ignored in favour of the requests from developers.

To confirm that what gets reported to him is the full picture, last week the Minister for Canberra Planning sat in his favourite vintage car (his home office) and read all the submissions from community councils and individual residents.

The minister was very impressed by the quality and quantity of the submissions. The minister was puzzled about how the community groups find time to be so efficiently responding to the never-ending calls for feedback on planning issues.

The Minister for Canberra Planning can see that there are huge problems with the proposed new territory plan and the district strategies. Everything is more complex and harder to comprehend than the previous planning documentation. The minister admits that he does not understand most of what is being proposed.

The minister has asked for someone to explain just how he has got it so wrong. It seems to the minister that there is little in what is being proposed that addresses the key issues raised by residents – biodiversity, climate readiness, energy efficient houses, innovative architecture, more green spaces, and ensuring that neighbourhoods are respected when developments are proposed.

The minister was questioned how he thought the chief minister may react, given the planning reforms are being proposed under the chief minister’s direct instructions. On this point the Minister for Canberra Planning said he was a little embarrassed.

Over the last year he had been preoccupied with the future of his extensive collection of vintage cars. This has distracted him from watching what has been proposed to deregulate planning system. Despite any objections from the chief minister (whose days are numbered), the minister is to reassert his independent authority as the Minister for Canberra Planning.

He is now considering driving over to the planning office on Northbourne in one of his cars to ask politely that what is being proposed as reforms be trashed and for someone to come up with real 21st century planning for this Bush Capital.

The city’s community groups would welcome any announced change of heart from the Minister for Canberra Planning. Everyone should be able to look forward to some real engagements on what great things could be happening in the way of new developments, affordable housing, social housing and the increasing of the biodiversity and green infrastructure of the city.

As what purports to be the words of the minister are dated Saturday 1st April, there is the thought that maybe someone was taking the mick.

Surely, he would always place a top priority on taking residents seriously. Someone will get back to you on that.


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