MOTION: 4th time Upper House vote for Open Space Fund to be for Open Space

For a fourth time, the Legislative Council again voted to disallow the Government's Regulations that allow them to use the Open Space Fund for purposes other than for Open Space.


The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: I move:

That the general regulations under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 concerning Planning and Development Fund (No. 2), made on 12 November 2020 and laid on the table of this council on 17 November 2020, be disallowed.

This is the fourth time we will disallow these regulations. Nothing has changed. Every stakeholder in the development industry, the community sector and local government agrees that these regulations should be disallowed. It is not lost on them that the irony is that, as urban infill increases and the amount of private open space shrinks, the bucket of money to provide for public parks and gardens is more important than ever.

The point is, as private open space shrinks, the need for public open space is greater. Therefore, the planning sector, the local community sector and the local government sector are unhappy that the open space fund, also known as the Planning and Development Fund, is being raided for administration and for the implementation of the new planning reforms. We know from the estimates hearings in the last week that $25.5 million has been taken from the fund for the planning reforms, effectively for administration. So I expect the result today will be the same and I thank members for their indulgence, allowing me to move the motion, debate it today and vote on it today.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: Tempted as I am to say, 'Yeah, what he said,' I will just briefly address this. We have been here before. The open space fund should be for open space and Labor supports the disallowance of these regulations.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer): The government opposes the motion, for the same reasons as we have given on a number of previous occasions. However, I am advised that it has not been the intent that the fund be used on an ongoing basis, therefore the current regulation includes a sunset clause of 1 July 2021. Beyond the establishment phase of the new system, it is likely that the new fees and charges for development assessment will primarily cover the maintenance of the e-planning system.

The current round is now open for application for the Open Space and Places for People Grants, funded by the Planning and Development Fund, closing in February 2021. For similar reasons as enunciated before, the government opposes the motion but acknowledges that, at least in this chamber, we do not have the numbers.

The Hon. M.C. PARNELL: To sum up, I thank the Hon. Clare Scriven and the Hon. Rob Lucas for their contributions. My message to members is simple: you know what this is and you know what to do.

Motion carried.