Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 56..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
The first such lease was granted to the Defence Housing Authority, the DHA, over block 87, section 24 of Stirling for the development of housing for defence personnel. In December 1999 the ACT and Commonwealth governments jointly announced a major expansion of defence housing in Canberra to meet the needs of the Australian Defence Force. The ACT government agreed to assist the program by initially providing land in Stirling for 50 dwellings and a site in Bruce for 10 dwellings by direct grant at current market value.
The grant of this lease in Stirling to DHA is associated with the decision to expand the Defence Force college in Weston Creek and to co-locate the three service staff colleges there. This has put added pressure on DHA to provide additional housing at short notice.
The college will provide significant economic benefits to the territory, both from the direct cost of the development by the Commonwealth of $28 million and the ongoing employment opportunities flowing from this important national institution. It will also support local businesses and other community facilities such as schools.
Mr Speaker, the residential rental market in the ACT is very tight, with limited opportunities to rent or buy suitable housing close to the college. The site of this lease within the established residential area of Stirling is within five kilometres of the college and has good access to other defence locations throughout Canberra.
The DHA will construct 50 quality dwellings, initially to meet demands for expanded students and staff at the college. The estimated project cost of $11.5 million will significantly benefit the ACT economy, while the increase in residents and their children into the territory will not only benefit the Western Creek community but will have a broader economic impact across Canberra. The land is being sold at market value. The Australian Valuation Office has determined the value of the land at $2 million.
Mr Speaker, as I have outlined, the government believes there will be significant benefits to the territory to support the DHA's development in Stirling. These economic benefits justify a direct grant of land to assist DHA to meet its expanded housing program.
The second lease was granted to Argos Pty Limited to enable the expansion of a small supermarket at the south Kaleen local centre. The additional land, known as block 35, has an area of approximately 328 square metres.
Members will be aware of the pressure on Canberra's retail structure through a range of factors including changes in the retail market and consumer expectation. The government released a policy direction last year on the retail sector which responded to these changes. At the local centre level it recognised the importance of supporting local retailer rejuvenation initiatives which reflected local themes and character. This proposal is one such initiative.
The proposed development offers a number of benefits which support the sale of the land by direct grant. There will be improved shopping services available to people in the local area. By enhancing the competitiveness of the supermarket there should be