Mr POWELL (Glass House–LNP) (4.22 pm): I, too, rise to make a very brief contribution to the Revenue and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. As other members have suggested, this omnibus bill seeks to address a wide range of issues and will amend a vast array of legislation. Many of those issues have been addressed comprehensively by speakers before me. The water issue and the restructuring of SEQ’s water is a very passionate issue for the people in Glass House and for me in my role as the member for Glass House, but the member for Callide, the Leader of the Opposition, has quite succinctly summed up our position and our concerns. I want to focus my comments specifically on the abolition of the Iconic Queensland Places Act 2008 and the bringing of those issues and that legislation under the Sustainable Planning Act. I heard the member for Clayfield say that this raises a question mark as to why the act was ever enacted in the first place. I will be the first to acknowledge that there are some very iconic places around the state, none more so perhaps than the Blackall Range and the northern Blackall Range at that. I was doing some research when I came across a Department of Infrastructure and Planning fact sheet that even in its own written form said–
The Act was formed to be consistent with the Integrated Planning Act 1997.
We all know that that has since been replaced by the Sustainable Planning Act. It continues–
It doesn’t replace, add to or remove anything that is already in the planning scheme for the area, the Maroochy Plan.
The question, as the member for Clayfield said, is: why did we have the legislation in the first place? The council was well positioned and understood the iconic nature of the Blackall Range and was doing its job in protecting it. Local governments on the ground best understand what is required. In terms of the reason why the Blackall Range was declared, the fact sheet states–
• the character and scenic quality of the prominent landscape features of the Mapleton-Montville Plateau
• the coastal and hinterland vistas as viewed from the Blackall Range area
• the scenic quality and rural character of the vegetated and habitat areas of the Baroon Dam Water Resource Catchment Area, horticultural, rural and open space lands
• the good quality agricultural lands supporting horticultural industries and other primary production
• areas of high ecological, scientific and aesthetic value of ecotonal and rainforest communities
• the visual amenity, village character and subservience to the natural environment of the villages of Montville and Mapleton, and the rural residential community of Flaxton.
As I read through those reasons for why that area of the electorate of Glass House was declared an iconic place, I now realise that a lot of those things that we were trying to protect are actually protected not only through the Sustainable Planning Act but also through the SEQ Regional Plan. The whole protection of prime agricultural/horticultural area, regional landscape and rural landscape is now achieved through the SEQ Regional Plan. With regard to the maintenance of the vistas from the Blackall Range, that is again achieved through the SEQ Regional Plan. It does beg the question of why we went down this path in the first place.
There will be some individuals in the electorate of Glass House who are concerned about this move. There is clearly a move now to make the assessment panels temporary in nature, with the potential to phase them out over the long term. I note that the Scrutiny of Legislation Committee also picked up on this. There is a concern that perhaps, after all, this might be the government trying to save a penny here or there by removing some of the costs of running a board in terms of iconic places. I pick up where the Scrutiny of Legislation Committee identified this. In its latest Legislation Alert it suggests that–
Clause 121 would repeal the Iconic Queensland Places Act.
New section 876 of the Sustainable Planning Act would be a transitional provision stating that:
• on commencement, each iconic place development assessment panel would be dissolved and the members of each panel would go out of office (new section 876(1)); and
• no compensation would be payable to a member because of the dissolution (new section 876(2)).
The Scrutiny of Legislation Committee raised this on the basis that by doing so it may affect the rights of the members of those panels and one of the questions it asked was why no compensation was being paid. I do acknowledge that the Scrutiny of Legislation Committee’s Legislation Alert continues–
The non payment of compensation to the iconic panel members on dissolution of the current panels has been raised as a potential FLP issue in relation to the member’s rights and liberties. Under amendments proposed to SPA, compensation is not provided to panel members due to the proposed dissolution of the iconic panels, and is not considered necessary. Panel members are aware of the short-term nature of their appointments, which will cease on 19 June 2011, and the proposal to change the panel’s role to that of an advisory panel. Should the amendments commence after 19 June 2011, reappointment of existing members or appointment of new members will be required so that the panel’s current development assessment responsibilities can continue. Should this occur panel members will be again advised of the temporary nature of their appointments, and that no compensation will be payable on dissolution of the panel on commencement.
Given that these panels are to be dissolved, I want to put on record my thanks to those who have served on them for the job that they have done. Everyone would admit that Montville continues to be an iconic place on the Blackall Range. Once this part of the legislation comes under the Sustainable Planning Act, local councillors Jenny McKay and Paul Tatton will be doing all they can to ensure that the feel we have in places such as Montville, Mapleton and Flaxton will remain. As I said, it is interesting, though, that we have come to this point where, after all of this, we are putting it back under the Sustainable Planning Act which, potentially, is where it should have been in the first place.