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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 1935..


MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (12.25): The government will be supporting clauses 30 to 44. After spending a little time in this place one gets to realise what a truly robust democracy we operate in. We have the opportunity in these debates to hear the full array of views. On the odd occasion when the Liberal Party is attempting to channel some form of sensible economic policy—as rare as it is in this place—we see some exhibition from Mr Seselja about the importance of competition. I concur, and that is why there is competition in the delivery of land development in the ACT.

It is very important that the government plays a role through the LDA in this process. The LDA helps to ensure that the ACT community benefits from optimising the returns from its land assets, including through gaining an appropriate share of the financial benefits of development activities. These gains can then be used to enable the government to provide enhanced services for the people of the ACT. The LDA has improved the standard of land development through working with leading urban designers, builders and industry as a whole. Importantly, the LDA provides flexibility to the government in implementing its land release program and helps bring a greater level of stability to the market than has been the case in the past. Perhaps most importantly, under the government's affordable housing action plan, the LDA continues to play a leading role in our land release strategy, along with englobo releases. It is important to note the LDA has shown a considerable amount of flexibility in working with government to ensure that we get the best possible outcomes for the ACT community.

For the Liberal Party, which seems to sidestep most major economic issues in so many other areas, to suddenly become hairy chested about there being no role for government in this area of the territory's economy is a fascinating example of the opposition picking and choosing where it believes in market forces and where it does not, and where it believes it is appropriate for there to be some level of government involvement in particular activities. It would seem those opposite have a base ideological opposition to any government involvement in land development.

I think the government has struck the appropriate balance in ensuring that we meet our overall desire and requirement for additional land releases into the market. The flexibility the LDA has shown in responding to a revitalised agenda from the government on housing affordability, as the Chief Minister has outlined, has been important in our ability to deliver, as a government, an overall housing affordability package.

Those opposite would appear to want to leave it entirely in the hands of the private sector to deliver a response on housing affordability. They spent a lot of time in question time on Tuesday wanting the government to intervene in the taxi industry and to run operations there. So they pick and choose the particular issues where they want involvement and where they believe that the government should be responsible for activities in the marketplace. It is always amusing to watch the sidestepping of Mr Mulcahy as he dodges around the positions that the shadow minister has put forward. It must be one of the toughest jobs to be opposition spokesperson on economic matters surrounded by colleagues such as he has.


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