ACT Greens Jo Clay fronts up on planning
There’s an ACT government standing committee on planning, transport and city services, headed up by Greens MLA Jo Clay that has asked the community to make submissions on the current draft planning bill.
According to its media release in September, Clay and her committee would love to hear from the community about this Planning Bill. They want to know if this draft of the planning reforms will lead to better planning. They want to know where there should be amendments. And if all of that does not require a major thesis, they want to know whether there were comments made during the consultation that have not been addressed.
Here’s some brief responses.
- Lead to better planning? Logically, yes, as there is so little planning now. However, given the culture within the planning bureaucracy – no.
- Should there be amendments? Start by having a chief planner who cherishes good design, has extensive climate and people focused development experience and one who has successful experience working with local communities. And then there is a heap of governance issues that need to be addressed. Including moving away from the dark arts employed by the planning directorate on how decisions are made. There is a desperate need for transparency and good governance.
- Were comments addressed? No – the latest draft has largely ignored the community submissions. Most people who responded to the earlier calls for submissions did so in good faith. They were optimistic that there was some skerrick of a hope that the chief minister wanted to have Canberra’s development underpinned by real planning.
The sad reality is that there have been no signs of any change of culture in how the planning bureaucracy goes about the business of planning. If anything, some recent behaviours signal that they pay even less attention to their own rules and are working towards having decisions on planning and development to be more blatantly flexible – to suit favoured developers.