Minister for Planning and Land Management, Mick Gentleman, and the Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury, have proposed new legislation to ACT parliament that aims to reduce red tape for commercial solar owners.

“The bill amends planning legislation to require community consultation on certain development proposals before a development application is lodged,” Minister Gentleman said.

“The amendment requires community consultation for major development proposals that concern multiple buildings and total an area of over 7000 m2.

“This amendment recognises the importance of early community input into the planning process for major developments. Good developers already seek community input into their proposals, and this will increase the opportunities for the community to have input into development in their area,” Minister Gentleman said.

“This is a minor additional requirement for developers, but one that I think will lead to better planning outcomes,” Minister Gentleman said.

The bill also contains improvements to reduce red tape for owners of smaller commercial solar systems, so that they only need to satisfy one approval process to operate their systems.

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Shane Rattenbury, said, “The ACT is a jurisdiction that supports and facilitates investment in renewable energy. Today’s changes will reduce red tape for climate-friendly initiatives.

“The amendments remove smaller commercial solar systems from being captured by the Utilities (Technical Regulation) Act. This removes an important barrier for small operators, such as small businesses and schools, to install and operate solar. Under the amendment, small or medium generation will now be defined as generating between 200kW and 30MW of electricity,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“There are still appropriate checks in place and the systems must still be installed safely and checked by an expert before they can be connected to the grid,” Minister Rattenbury said.

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