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How will the Planning and Development Amendment Bill (2016) affect you?

By Ben Faulks

In the past, having your say on real estate developments in Belconnen has always been a bit of a chore, requiring you to navigate mounds of regulatory red tape just to have your voice heard. Thankfully, this process is getting simplified, thanks to the ACT Legislative Assembly recently passing the Planning and Development Amendment Bill (2016).

What is the revised piece of legislation all about and how will it impact you?

Understanding the bill

The amended bill aims to provide greater transparency into the planning stages of new developments. It will also help streamline the entire community consultation process.

"With passage of the Planning and Development (Efficiencies) Amendment Bill (2016), the community will now be able to see and comment on a draft territory plan variation and the proposed DA at the one time," explained Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman.

"This significantly increases the transparency of the process and project proposal."

While the new scheme is optional, it seems likely that many developers will opt for it, in order to improve communications with the community and better understand how their proposal will impact various stakeholders.

How will the bill impact you?

The revamped bill stands to have a positive effect on everyone living in Belconnen. ACT Property Council Executive Director Merling Kong noted that the ability to offer more input into proposed developments empowers everyday people to shape their communities, while improved transparency will help provide greater clarity.

"Draft territory plan variations can be abstract in nature, so by allowing development applications to be lodged at the same time, this will give communities a better understanding of what's happening and remove speculation."

While the effects of the Planning and Development Amendment Bill are yet to be fully felt, it's likely that anyone buying property in Belconnen will herald the changes as positive news.

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