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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 9 Hansard (16 August) . . Page.. 2744..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

accommodation for its employees. Keeping 4,000 jobs in Civic, rather than risk having them leave, will support the City retail and commercial sectors.

The development is a significant one and will ensure that the city remains the pre-eminent commercial centre in the ACT. This development is part of the overall planning of the city that includes the City West/ANU precinct, planning for West Basin and Constitution Avenue, and the work being considered by the Canberra central task force for the future development of the City Hill precinct.

The additional office space sought of 24,230 square metres represents 5.4 per cent of the total office space in Civic. The current office vacancy rate in Civic, at two per cent, is the lowest of all capital cities and any increase in this will deliver benefits through more competition and reduced rentals for tenants. This development continues the high level of investment and development activity occurring across the city which in the past couple of years has seen almost half a billion dollars of development approved and a further $50 million worth of development awaiting approval.

Another factor in my decision to use my call-in powers was the fact that objections to the development were predominantly on commercial grounds and any delay through appeals would have been at the risk of a significant commonwealth agency looking outside Civic for other alternatives for its office accommodation. A majority of the objectors either currently have the Australian Taxation Office as a tenant in the city or were unsuccessful in bidding for the ATO tender for new office accommodation. I did not consider this to be an appropriate use of the appeals process. Systemically, this will be addressed through the government's planning reforms to prevent this sort of tactic being used primarily to delay or stifle commercial rivals.

Section 229B of the act specifies that, if I decide an application, I must table a statement in the Legislative Assembly within three sitting days of the decision. As required by the act, I have tabled a statement providing a description the development, details of the land on which the development is proposed to take place, the name of the applicant, details of my decision and grounds for the decisions. I have also tabled the advice of the ACT Planning and Land Council on this matter.

DR FOSKEY: I seek leave to move that the paper be noted.

Leave not granted.

Papers

Mr Corbell presented the following papers:

Performance reports

Financial Management Act, pursuant to section 30A-Quarterly departmental performance reports for the June quarter 2004-2005 for the following departments or agencies:

ACT Emergency Services Authority, dated July 2005.

ACT Health, dated August 2005.

ACT WorkCover, dated July 2005.



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