GREENS MOTION: Disallowance of Open Space Fund Regulations - #5

Mark moved, for a fifth time, to disallow the Regulations that allow the Government to pilfer money from the Open Space Fund.  The Legislative Council has already passed the same disallowance motion four times, yet the Government keeps putting the Regulations back in place.


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. 3), made on 10 December 2020 and laid on the table of this council on 2 February 2021, be disallowed.

It will come as no surprise that I have not needed to prepare a speech in relation to this motion because this is the fifth time that I have moved it and it will be, next Wednesday of sitting, the fifth time that it has passed this chamber. For the benefit of Hansard, I will say a little bit more. These are the regulations that allow the government to pilfer from the open space fund money for the use of budget shortfalls for administration.

I think the last count was some $21 million that they have taken. It is probably more by now. They are taking money out of a fund that was dedicated for the provision of open space facilities. They are taking that money and they are misapplying it, in my view, for administration. But it is not just my view, it is also the view of the Legislative Council because every single member of this chamber who is not a member of the Liberal Party has voted to disallow these regulations on the four previous occasions that I have moved them.

I see no reason why the same outcome will not result again. I think I said it quite simply last time, 'Dear honourable members, you know what this is and you know what to do.' I will add one more thing. What has happened in the past is that we disallow regulations on a Wednesday afternoon and the government put them back in the Government Gazette the following day, on the Thursday. That is what they have done on previous occasions. Sometimes they have waited a week and put them in the week after, but other times they have put them straight back in.

I would urge the government, after the fifth time they have heard this message from the Legislative Council, to heed that message and say, 'Maybe one of the houses of parliament doesn't like what we've done. Maybe we won't do it anymore. Maybe we will show some integrity. Maybe we will say, yes, the open space fund really is for the provision of open space. Why don't we just commit to spending it on its proper purpose?' I am not holding my breath for that outcome.

I did ask the Attorney-General some while ago, 'Is there a record number of disallowances and the same regulations going back in?' I do not know what the record is. I do not aspire to hold the record for the greatest number of disallowances of the same regulation. I would much prefer that the government does the right thing and lets this go and makes sure that money that is provided by developers in lieu of open space that goes into that fund is used for the provision of future open space for the benefit of the whole community. I give notice now that on the very next Wednesday of sitting, we will be bringing to a vote for the fifth time this motion to disallow these regulations.