ACT Deputy Chief Minister Simon Corbell has welcomed an independent report that supports the ACT Government's proposal to limit appeal rights on infrastructure and development projects of benefit to the ACT community.
The 'Report on the Implementation of the Latimer House Principles in the Australian Capital Territory' was prepared by the University of Canberra's Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis and tabled by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly last week.
According to the report, "the approach to seek legislative approval through the whole of the Assembly to limit rights to judicial review (as in the case of Light Rail) seems a satisfactory and democratic safeguard to the exercise of such limitations in the ACT's Westminster system of government and an appropriate way to avoid additional costs being imposed on ACT taxpayers."
"In some matters the right of appeal can be seen as a highly over-rated commodity and itself a cause of concern to the citizenry," the report added.
The report also highlighted appeals of planning decisions for DFO in Fyshwick, for the Gungahlin Drive Extension and for the Giralang Shops redevelopment as examples of where "narrow vested interests" have sought to "overturn decisions on public or commercial amenity approved for the wider good by the government."
"It seems that the unfettered rights of narrow vested interests to seek to thwart broader interests of the citizens of the ACT needs reflection and review if the very expensive and most often fruitless processes are to be avoided," the report said.
"This report is supportive of the approach to limit appeal rights through the Legislative Assembly where projects are of benefit to the ACT community as a whole," Mr Corbell said.
"Using the legislative process to limit appeal rights is an appropriate safeguard for important projects, such as light rail and ACT's secure mental health facility, in order to avoid unnecessary delay and expense."
The Report on the Implementation of the Latimer House Principles in the Australian Capital Territory is available from the ACT Legislative Assembly website at <http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/Publications/review-of-latimer-house-principles>.