GREENS BILL: Protection for South Australian heritage places passes Upper House

Today, Mark summed up the debate and brought his Greens Bill to ensure the continued protection of South Australia's heritage buildings to a vote. The Bill was passed by majority in the Upper House but without support from the Liberal Government.

Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Code Amendments) Amendment Bill

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: To sum up the debate, I would like to thank the Hon. Clare Scriven and the Hon. Frank Pangallo for their support, and I also to thank the Hon. David Ridgway for his contribution. I have to say that I am somewhat gobsmacked in relation to the government's response to this for a number of reasons. The first one is that, in all of my discussions with people in government, whether it is in the Public Service, the state Planning Commission or the minister himself, I have not heard anyone defend these provisions. Not one person in government has said, 'These are good provisions; we like them, and we are going to keep them in the bill.' The best they can do is to say, 'We won't proclaim them to be operational'—in other words, leave them on the statute book but not commence them.

What an outrageous proposition, when everyone agrees that these clauses are hopeless, they need to go, they create the wrong message, they create dangerous precedent, that the best the government can do is to say, 'Can we just leave them on the statute book and we'll just not commence them, we'll just not proclaim them?' What a pathetic response! I am not going to speak at great length. Clearly, I have the numbers here, and the lower house will have the opportunity to reconsider their position, and I am hoping they do.

I want to put on the record two very quick things that have occurred subsequent to me moving this bill. The first one is that all members would have received communication from the Local Government Association expressing their full support for this bill. The Local Government Association, on behalf of all of the local councils, agree with what I have said, what the Hon. Clare Scriven has said and what the Hon. Frank Pangallo has said, that a popularity contest for whether an area should be declared to have heritage status is absolutely the wrong way to go. The LGA have weighed in, saying, 'Get rid of these provisions from the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act.'

The second thing that has happened is that the Environment, Resources and Development Committee of this parliament has recently conducted an inquiry into heritage. It has reported on that inquiry. One of its recommendations, as reported, was: get rid of these offensive provisions in the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act. It should be no surprise that that particular committee of parliament is a government-dominated committee.

When I put it forward as a potential recommendation, I said to the Liberal Party members of the committee, 'Go and talk to the minister. Go and talk to the department. I think you will find nobody agrees that this is good law and should stay on our statute books.' Clearly, they have done that. They have come back into the committee and we have unanimously agreed that these provisions should be expunged from the act. That is exactly what this bill does: it expunges these offensive provisions from the act.

Whilst I am disappointed that my fifth private members' bill in 13 years will not be passing in both houses today, I do hope that common sense will prevail and that in the lower house the Minister for Planning will eventually agree that a provision that nobody supports ought to be struck from the statute book rather than simply using the power to not declare it operational. With those brief words, I look forward to what I expect will be a very short committee stage and the final vote on this bill.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: I move:

That this bill be now read a third time.

Bill read a third time and passed.

Read Mark's speech on introducing the Bill here.