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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3956..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

The Chief Minister, in the last page of his statement on the bushfire report, attributed to-

MR SPEAKER: Order! The time for this discussion has expired.

Land (Planning and Environment) Amendment Bill 2004 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 1 July 2004, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (4.43): The Land (Planning and Environment) Amendment Bill 2004 (No 2) was foreshadowed for some considerable time before it was introduced as a means of preventing, dare I say it, speculation in land. While I understand the sentiments that prompted the minister to introduce this bill, I suppose it is the residual eco rat in me, and the fact that I represent the Liberal Party in this place and not the Labor Party, that first of all I have to ask, on the record, what is essentially wrong with speculation? Speculation is something that people do in all manner of things, in all aspects of society where they trade in things, be it fixed or moveable assets. What they are doing is taking a risk.

The other day I quoted something Charles Landry said when he was in Canberra in May. He said that one of the risks about Canberra was that we may be too risk averse. This legislation finds another means of legislating to prevent people from taking risks. When people speculate in stamps, old bottles of wine, land, anything you like, they take a risk. Sometimes they make money and sometimes they lose. Anyone who plays the stock market or the horses speculates. From time to time they make money, and from time to time they do not.

This government has introduced, through this minister, a piece of legislation that aims to wipe out speculation in land. One of the reasons that we are doing this is that under the regime instituted by this Minister for Planning, the government seeks to become the single land developer in the ACT, the monopoly land developer. The government seeks to make all of the money out of the sale of land and wants to ensure that nobody else does. The government has said that speculation is a bad thing; that speculation in land is the result of a bad land release system, of a bad land management system.

We only really get speculation if the price of land goes up. If the price goes up far enough it might be worth speculating in. That only happens when there is a land shortage, and this has been the case over the past few years. If the government had had a policy of releasing a steady flow of land onto the market, so that there was always an adequate supply, there would not be any motivation for speculation. As I have said before, the government probably does not want to do this, because it wants to make money out of land sales, and the best way to make money out of land sales is to keep the supply artificially low, and thus drive up the prices.

The process of preparing land for sale to the mums and dads of the ACT is a complex one. Whether the government sells the land by auction to a private developer, or takes up the land and develops it itself by handing over the lease to another government agency,


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