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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 9 Hansard (7 September) . . Page.. 3066..


MR OSBORNE (continuing):

We have two options before us. We can support Mr Smyth's bill and remove the sunset clause-I was somewhat confused about what approach to take when I was discussing it with Mr Corbell today-or, as I indicated to him, we can extend the sunset clause for a month or two so that we can have time to look at Mr Corbell's legislation.

The ball is in Mr Corbell's court. He wants to extend the sunset clause so that the status quo remains until I have had a chance to look at his legislation. I have indicated that to Mr Smyth. I am prepared to look at what Mr Corbell is proposing, but obviously we need to make a decision one way or the other before the end of the year. Rather than reverting to 100 per cent until Mr Corbell brings his legislation before the Assembly, it is probably more sensible to stay at 75 per cent, either by extending the sunset clause or by removing the sunset clause and coming back to the issue later when we look at Mr Corbell's bill..

I have never stood up in this place and given approval to either 50 per cent or 100 per cent. I voted against 50 per cent, but it was a vote on that issue, not a vote on 100 per cent or 75 per cent. I am open to Mr Corbell's proposal and look forward to seeing it when it is ready.

MR HIRD (9.15): Once again we see the shifting sands. Mr Corbell indicated that we are playing into the hands of solicitors and valuers and those who have money to manipulate the difference between leasehold and freehold. There is no difference. If the territory government can prove it is for the public good, they can resume the land under the Land Acquisition Act, because in 99 years it can roll over.

I heard Mr Corbell talk about windfalls. If there is a windfall, it is a windfall for families who have lived in the territory for a vast number of years and capitalise on land they have acquired. You only have to look at the older areas such as Ainslie or Braddon where families have grown up and people have sold their property to move into quiet areas in the twilight of their lives.

Labor people talk of some great windfall or some manipulation. I notice that the sands have shifted and Mr Corbell is now saying that he does not quite want the 100 per cent, but he would be happy with the 75 percent betterment charge applying until he can introduce an amendment in November. The naivete of the man! This is a very serious question. If you started today to develop something, it would take from 18 months to two years, and in some cases 36 months, to complete it.

Mr Corbell heard evidence given to the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Services that the return to the developer over 36 months was less than 25 per cent. We also took evidence from developers who were going to build aged persons units in the ACT. They wanted to be able to say that they had their holdings in the national capital. Mr Corbell knows that, because of the barriers, because of the shifting sands, those developers went to Albury. In some instances commercial development is taken across the border to Queanbeyan.

These issues have been moving around for a number of years, yet between 1970 and 1991 the betterment charge was 50 per cent. For 21 years it held firm. It is only since 1991 that we have had a shifting sand approach by respective ministers. Mr Wood as minister also shifted the sands. He made a decision of 50 per cent betterment on one occasion.


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