CANBERRA Planning Action Group (CPAG) is calling on the ACT Government to significantly extend the public comment period for the draft new ACT Planning Act.

The law project, which is needed to underpin a proposed new territory plan and foundational district plans for the city’s eight identified districts, has been open for public comment since March but will end its comment period on June 15.

According to Geoff Pryor, head of the CPAG, the consultation period is “far too short”. The action group is now calling on the government to extend the deadline for another six months and implement a “genuinely serious promotion and awareness programme”.

“The Planning Act is a key document which impacts the lives of all who live and work in ACT and it is essential that the community is given sufficient time to consider the implications of the new proposed law,” Pryor said.

“In addition to the federal election campaign, people are still grappling with covid and generally unstable economic times, so the three-month initial consultation period is clearly inappropriate.”

According to CPAG, community organizations across the city are working to understand and explain the implications of the proposed law.

They say planning officials have declined invitations to speak at public meetings.

“Discussing legislation can be a dry and specialized task at the best of times. Good communication expertise is needed to truly make the proposed law understandable,” Mr. Pryor said.

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Ian Meikle, editor