On 14 November, the Government created a regulation to exempt a precinct of Kingston Foreshore from 3rd party appeals. This area includes the Kingston Arts Precinct, where the Fitters’ Workshop is located. On Monday 28 November, the Government approved the development application for the Fitters’ Workshop.
“This exemption pre-empts both the Kingston Arts Precinct Masterplan being finalised, and the current Assembly inquiry into the Fitters’ Workshop. Any works on the Workshop are also suspended in the meantime pending results of the inquiry.
“The Minister would have known that the Fitters’ Workshop approval was likely to have been appealed. However, any community members wishing to appeal any aspects of the development approval will now no longer be able to.
“The timing of the Minister’s decision seems to be a call-in by stealth. Presumably the Minister was well aware of the active development application, and that the decisions are now able to avoid public scrutiny”, Ms Le Couteur said.
“For this appeals exemption to include the Arts Precinct, seems to be a direct result of the Government’s failure to consult properly on the use of the Fitters’ Workshop in the first case. Although the inquiry cannot directly change the DA, we would like the Government to commit to amending the Workshop plans to be consistent with the outcome of the inquiry.
“I call on Mr Corbell not to allow any development on the site to go ahead until the Assembly inquiry has run its course, as agreed by the Assembly motion in October.
“I am extremely worried that the decision to grant an exemption of third party appeals in the Kingston Foreshore precinct was based on the area being a “highly changeable, high value area”. Does this mean that this exemption will be extended to all other changing high value areas in Canberra?
Simon Corbell’s office has declined to comment on the matter, as have the Liberals.
UPDATE: This from Joy Burch’s office:
Can’t speak for ACTPLA, the suggestion from the Greens that the Government might proceed with work on the Fitters’ Workshop is wrong. The ACT Government has no intention to defy the will of an Assembly motion. Accordingly, the Government has committed to not doing any work on the Fitters’ Workshop until the committee process has concluded. A simple phone call from the Greens would have cleared that up.