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Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority Bill
Extract from Hansard
[COUNCIL — Thursday, 8 September 2011]
Hon Dr Sally Talbot; Hon Lynn MacLaren; Hon Norman Moore
METROPOLITAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY BILL 2011
Resumed from 31 August.
HON LYNN MacLAREN (South Metropolitan) [3.47 pm]: I rise to speak to the motion before us to send the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority Bill 2011 to the committee. These comments are not in any way my second reading contribution; they go to the motion before us, which has been well argued. I thought that Hon Sally Talbot was very constructive in her comments regarding the legislation before us, and I support the motion to send it to the Standing Committee on Legislation.
I have several amendments for this bill, and they are complex and relate to many of the matters in the legislation before us. I know that if the Standing Committee on Legislation has an opportunity to review the bill, it would not be left to that process of amending various clauses in this bill to try to address the issues that I see in it. I believe the main concern with this bill is the lack of separation and planning decision making from the development functions of the proposed Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.
I have a series of concerns, which I brought to the attention of the Minister for Planning. He and his officers have sought to address those concerns to some degree; however, there are several concerns outstanding. I was very pleased that Hon Sally Talbot was able to join me in my meeting with the Western Australian Local Government Association yesterday, and I was hoping to have representatives from the other parties in this place as well to hear the message that they were giving us, which is basically that somehow, somewhere consultation had gone astray and had not really addressed the concerns that they had.
I would like to quote from the minutes of the City of Subiaco of 10 August 2011. As we all know, the City of Subiaco is one of the local governments that is involved with a redevelopment authority act. This bill proposes to repeal the redevelopment authority acts for the local governments of Armadale, East Perth, Midland and Subiaco. The City of Subiaco is, therefore, one of the local governments that would have particular standing in this regard.
The minutes of the City of Subiaco state in part —
1. advises the Minister for Planning of its:
(a) extreme disappointment that the City of Subiaco, and local governments generally,
were not consulted during the drafting of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority
Bill 2011 and that an opportunity for interested and/or affected parties and other
stakeholders to comment has not been provided;
(b) major concern about the lack of local government and independent representation on
the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority Board and Local Redevelopment
Committees and the strong likelihood that the City will not have representation on
relevant Local Redevelopment Committees controlling major development projects
within the city;
(c) major concern about the ambiguity within the Bill, the extent of the Metropolitan
Redevelopment Authority’s powers and functions and the subsequent opportunity for
the substantial erosion of local government powers;
Members can see that the three items I have mentioned are substantial issues. Those issues could potentially be easily addressed if the Standing Committee on Legislation were able to consider this bill in detail. The City of Subiaco also makes this point —
(d) rejection of the inclusion of routine works by a public authority or local government as development. It is unacceptable for the City of Subiaco, or any local government or public authority, to be required to lodge a development application for public works that would normally be exempt from such a requirement;
I am sure members can see that this is an item that could have been addressed in the bill, now that it has been brought to the attention of the minister that it is indeed an issue for this local authority. Finally —
(e) requirement that the provisions of the specific agreement between the City of Subiaco
and the Subiaco Redevelopment Authority regarding the development of any land
within the original boundaries of the Subiaco Redevelopment Area which was
formerly owned and/or managed by the City of Subiaco continue to be honoured in
full by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.
The point that the City of Subiaco is making here is that the transitional arrangements in this legislation seem to be unclear, and it is wondering what is going to happen when this new authority is established. There are several issues in the bill that are unclear. It is beholden on this Parliament to review those issues and finetune this legislation in the Standing Committee on Legislation process.
The City of Subiaco then makes the point —
2. request that an urgent meeting be held with the Minister for Planning, City of Subiaco and
local governments to discuss critical issues associated with the Metropolitan Redevelopment
Authority Bill 2011 prior to it proceeding further in State Parliament.
I think that the local government in this case, the City of Subiaco, has made a very pertinent point about the lack of consultation and is attempting to address the concerns that it became aware of when it reviewed the bill. We need to give the Standing Committee on Legislation an opportunity to look at these issues more carefully.
The other issue that the Standing Committee on Legislation should consider in my view is that the planning reforms that have been undertaken so far by this government have been widespread and wide ranging. The way this bill interacts with those other legislative changes that this government has made needs to be clarified. Those changes include the establishment of development assessment panels, and the establishment of a system of improvement schemes.
In my own correspondence to the Minister for Planning, I questioned how those changes will interact and relate with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority that we will be establishing through this
bill. The minister did go some way towards explaining that. However, that did indicate that it is a bit unclear in the bill how those various authorities and new planning instruments will interact. Therefore, I think that the Standing Committee on Legislation could do some work in looking into that matter.
It is my view and the view of the Greens (WA) that there is a lack of sustainability goals and clear purpose in the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority Bill. The bill will result in further fragmentation of the planning system. I think members can see that it would not be a good outcome if we allowed that to occur.
There are some real issues with the separation of powers between the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, the Western Australian Planning Commission, local governments and the minister. We would like to see that clarified in the bill. As I have mentioned, in the seven days between the tabling of this bill in this house and our ability to debate it, we were able to uncover that, indeed, the Western Australian Local Government Association is concerned about the inadequacy of the consultation with local government. That is maybe the tip of the iceberg. I have also been approached by other people who are academics in the planning field and who are very concerned about the new powers that this bill will be introducing and how this bill will interplay with the WAPC.
Hon Sally Talbot has mentioned the membership of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority and the land redevelopment committees. The Greens share that concern. We strongly believe that local government should have representation on the land redevelopment committees, and that every local government that is affected by a redevelopment proposal should participate in those decisions. I believe the bill makes some reference to local government representatives potentially being on the board — maybe one representative. But it does not indicate that there should be a representative from each local government that may be affected by a redevelopment proposal.
We think that the minister may not have been in a position to foresee all of these issues that have been coming up. We believe there should have been more comprehensive consultation during the drafting of this bill, particularly with those local governments in which redevelopment authorities are already existing and functioning. We have a wealth of experience in Western Australia of how redevelopment authorities work, and where they are good and where there might still be some issues to iron out. Had that wealth of knowledge and experience been tested through the bill, we would be able to be more confident that the bill that we might hope to pass will be a good planning system for Western Australia, and one that will take us into the future without the problems of jurisdiction and representation that have been highlighted so far.
As I said, I had a very good briefing from the planning officers on this bill. But, as I am sure members can imagine, this is a very complex bill, and it has a number of layers, with a number of acts that will be repealed or amended through its passage. I think it is quite comprehensive legislation that should be thoroughly assessed by the Standing Committee on Legislation. The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority Bill 2011 states that a redevelopment scheme under any of the repealed acts is taken to have always had legislative effect, and it validates things done under such a scheme. This bill is actually quite a powerful instrument, and it would be wise for us to review how it will play out.
Hon Sally Talbot mentioned in her remarks to urge us to send this bill to the committee that the explanatory memorandum had not been made available to us in due time to be able to consider the clauses of this legislation. I have just asked for a copy of the second reading speech so that I can review Hon Helen Morton’s comments when she tabled it last Thursday, and I have now seen the explanatory memorandum for the first time. There is probably information in here that would be relevant to our careful consideration of this legislation, and that members would probably want to review quite carefully. We have a really good system of standing committees in the Legislative Council; they are charged with taking detailed work away from this house, and, in the case of the legislation, doing some proper scrutiny of the legislation before us.
I am delighted to now have this explanatory memorandum and to have the opportunity to review whether my concerns over the legislation have been addressed. I am still reviewing the Minister for Planning’s response to my correspondence, which is quite lengthy and detailed and goes through and tries to address some of the issues I raised; however, I received this only yesterday, I believe, and so that really does mean that I am relying heavily on the stakeholders who have consulted with me. That takes me back to my beginning point about why I am supporting the motion to send this to a committee. It is because the stakeholders—the people I go to for advice on whether this legislation is a good way forward—have told me in no uncertain terms that, indeed, it is not; indeed, they have told me that they are very concerned about the lack of consultation, and that there are changes they can propose that would in fact strengthen this legislation.
I think it is important for me to state quite clearly that we can see that this bill will provide some benefits to streamlining metropolitan redevelopment in one single authority by using the skills and resources that have been developed through the experiences of the redevelopment authorities we have set up bit by bit. That makes a lot of good sense; it is very efficient, and I can see that it would be more effective in delivering some of the sustainability outcomes that we would like to see the planning system deliver. I think that direction is supported, and we would love to see legislation like this get up and work very effectively. The nature of our desire to send it to a committee is that it will be more effective legislation.
I reiterate my comments that the constructive nature of Hon Sally Talbot’s careful assessment of this legislation is welcome, and I appreciate the opportunity to support a motion to send it to a committee. I can say no more than that.