Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill
Wednesday, 28 October 2015
Mr GOLDSWORTHY (Kavel) (12:55): I was here until close to midnight last night, waiting my turn. I understand I am the last, but by no means the least, speaker on this bill on behalf of the opposition during the second reading stage of the legislation. I do not intend to canvass, repeat or go over what many members on this side of the house have raised in relation to
concerns and issues with this bill, but there is one important element that has been raised that I do want to repeat, and we see this as a fairly common trend with this government—that is, the centralising of control.
The member for Heysen has just spoken about it, other members on this side of the house have raised it as an issue, and I know the member for MacKillop raised this yesterday, too—this trend or focus, or whatever you want to describe it as, of centralising control to give power to a few senior people within the government and to the minister.
I do not want to exaggerate things to the extreme, but this is the path to socialism, where the state controls everything. The supposed intellectual capacity is locked up and delivered in the senior levels of government. That is not the way South Australia or Australia as a whole should
operate. We know it is a failed model because, when it is taken to an extreme, as we have seen occur overseas, in Europe and in other places, eventually that model fails—and it has.
I am not going to compare what is happening in South Australia with the USSR, but we saw that the model failed because basically the population was being plunged into poverty and onto the brink of starvation, and some of the population were starving. I am not going to exaggerate the
situation to that extent; however, it is a concern that we are continuing to move down this path of centralisation of control.
In saying that, I know that the Attorney-General has had a bee in his bonnet about local government over quite a period of time in this place, when he sat on the backbench a number of years ago. I think it was in our first term because we all came in together—the members for Heysen, Morphett, Bragg and myself, and the Attorney-General, the Premier and others—when we were all first selected in 2002. I seek leave to continue my remarks.
Adjourned debate on second reading (resumed on motion).
Mr GOLDSWORTHY (Kavel) (15:36): I am pleased to resume the remarks that I was making prior to the luncheon break. I think I was making some points about the Attorney-General having a bit of a bee in his bonnet about local government, and all those matters relating to that, dating back some time.
I think I was recounting the fact that when the member for Enfield sat on the backbench near the member for member for Napier in the early days, in our first term here, I remember he actually undertook his own inquiry and analysis concerning local government, and then he made his recommendations public.
I think it caused some issues amongst the Labor caucus at the time, particularly for the then minister for local government. I recall media interviews that were in relation to his investigation, report and recommendations, and you could say those media interviews were somewhat
difficult for him; however, that is a bit of a history.
Talking specifically about the bill—and as I said before, I do not necessarily want to canvass all the issues that my colleagues have, because the points have been very well made, highlighting some concerns and matters with the legislation—I do have two pieces of correspondence that I have
received from the local councils in my electorate, one being the Mount Barker District Council, and the other being the Adelaide Hills Council. I am not going to completely read all the correspondence because I do not have time, but I want to highlight some points that both sets of correspondence raise.
Not wanting to categorise the importance of both pieces of correspondence, there are some specific issues in relation to the infrastructure levy aspect of the legislation and how that relates to matters concerning the Mount Barker District Council.
As we know, the Mount Barker District Council has been subjected to some quite difficult issues which they have had to deal with as a consequence of this government rezoning 3,000 acres of land—basically rubber-stamping it—for residential development. That is pretty much all they
did: they said, 'All this tract of land on the perimeter of Mount Barker will now be a zone for residential development,' without any assistance to the council to prepare a structure plan or any plan on how infrastructure and services might be rolled out into the future.
It took the District Council of Mount Barker months and months, and arguably hundreds of thousands of dollars, to prepare a structure plan. In the course of the preparation of that plan, they realised that there was not adequate funding to meet the costs of building the infrastructure
necessary to meet the demands of the increased population, so they pitched three separate rate structures, and that has all gone through and been ratified and the community is aware of it. There are certain triggers for when those rates have to be paid.
However, what is of concern to the council is that this infrastructure levy will create some significant complications concerning the rate structures that the Mount Barker council has put in place. I will read into Hansard a letter I have received from the mayor concerning this
bill. It starts, 'Dear Mark,' and then there is a heading, and it continues:
I write to you concerning the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill introduced recently to Parliament.
At its meeting on 6 October 2015 Council considered the Bill and endorsed the submission contained in Attachment 1 which details Council's concerns and seeks amendments to the Bill. I have attached a copy of our submission for your information.
Unique to the Mount Barker District Council are the implications of the Bill in respect of existing infrastructure provision arrangements that are already in place to cater for growth arising from the rezoning of the land in 2010 by the State Government, now expected to generate a population increase of nearly 30,000 people.
Council has worked closely with developers over a number of years with formal arrangements in place to secure $114 million of required infrastructure over a period of time, commensurate with the rate of growth.
It is Council's view that this Bill puts this at risk. Council seeks that the Bill be amended to eliminate this risk. That can be achieved in different ways including, for example, the addition of a provision that is:
a) unique to the Mount Barker District Council that recognizes what is in place for infrastructure provision ensures that it is not able to be undone; or
b) a generic provision that sees a Scheme (as per the Bill) only to be established over an area prior to rezoning of the subject area.
Council is also seeking the opportunity for further direct involvement in the formulation of the new legislation, particularly with respect to infrastructure provision and funding arrangements.
Ann Ferguson OAM
Obvious I have attachment 1, and if I had time I would read it in, but I do not. It is a fairly comprehensive list of their concerns on which they seek amendments. I know that council has written to the minister about this, as has the Adelaide Hills Council. I will quote from the very first part of the Adelaide Hills Council letter to the minister. This letter is specifically signed by Mayor Bill Spragg to the minister:
Dear Minister Rau
Comments on the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Bill 2015.
I refer to your letter dated 10 September 2015 in relation to the proposed new Bill. Council appreciates this opportunity to provide comments in relation to the proposed new legislation which is intended to implement the ideas for reform of the current State planning and development system, as put forward by the Expert Panel.
Councillors and staff have had briefings and have reviewed the proposed Bill and attached please find our Council's detailed comments regarding the salient elements of the Bill. Adelaide Hills Council appreciates that some of the comments in our two previous submissions to the Expert Panel have been [taken] into consideration in the drafting of the new Bill. Also our council supports any changes to the planning and development system which will make the system operate simpler, better and faster. However, we have some significant concerns in relation to the essential principles and architecture of the reforms as outlined in the Bill which are as follows—
And they list the areas of concern:
1. Denigration of the role of local government in the Development Assessment Process…
2. Cost shifting burden on councils from the implementation of these reforms…
I know the member for Bright highlighted some specific concerns in relation to this in his contribution. The list continues:
3. Centralised preparation of planning instruments and elimination of Section101a Committees…
4. Delineation of planning regions…
5. Transitional arrangements…
6. Change of Land Use for agricultural activities…
The member for Heysen spoke at length in her contribution about the importance of agricultural, horticultural and viticultural production in the Hills. The list goes on:
7. Statutory planning instruments may be Metro Centric…
8. Enforcement actions and expiations…
Both the councils that represent the significant proportion, the vast area, of my electorate have raised considerable concerns and they are quite specific. The Mount Barker council is specifically concerned about how the infrastructure levy will affect those rates they have already pitched and,
obviously, the Adelaide Hills Council has other concerns.
As I said, I know both councils have written to the minister. I do not know whether they have received a reply to the concerns they have raised this week but, up until last weekend, they had not. If the minister and his department have not responded to the concerns of both those councils, I urge them to do that. I urge him, his officers and the bureaucracy to get onto this
because it is very important.
The member for Heysen highlighted how unique the Adelaide Hills region is in a number of areas. A big proportion of the Adelaide Hills is in the water catchment area, which imposes a lot of restrictions and requirements. There is the Hills Face Zone.
Ms Redmond: The CFS.
Mr GOLDSWORTHY: The CFS—it is a very high bushfire risk region. A lot of different things impact on the Adelaide Hills region that are quite specific and unique to that area of the state. I strongly urge the minister and seek his cooperation in dealing with and resolving the issues that those two councils have put forward.