The ACT Government is often criticised for failing to properly consult on vital issues affecting local residents. It is quite appropriate, then, that we give credit where credit is due. Several recent government decisions showed that Ministers are listening to concerns community councils have raised on your behalf.

Most recently, in response to significant concerns, the government has agreed to cancel a technical variation to the Territory Plan which would have diminished the solar access requirements for new homes. It will hold a workshop of key industry and community stakeholders early this year to consider this issue further. In addition, ACTPLA has convened a meeting of community council representatives to consider the issue of technical amendments, which we believe are being used to introduce important changes to the Territory Plan, bypassing the need for community input.

Last year the community vented its anger about a loophole in the planning processes which enabled the demolition of a duplex without the need for any notification to the owner of the adjoining building. In response to this clearly unacceptable situation the government announced in December that neighbours will have an opportunity to comment on plans for demolition or substantial alteration of duplexes and to allow ACTPLA to assess the proposal to protect the amenity and integrity of the adjoining dwelling.

Shortly after, the government released a discussion paper on ways to improve regulation of construction design and building certifiers, to improve local amenity and tackle poor quality design and documentation.

These initiatives show that our elected representatives have indeed been listening.

For further information on these initiatives, and the other issues on the ISCCC is engaging with the government, go online to www.isccc.org.au

Gary Kent

Chair

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