Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 165..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
with grants to non-government schools and grants to the non-government sector—as opposed to what we are able to do with assets that we have full management, ownership and control over.
The challenge for us is that we have a pool of cash that we are able to use to invest in assets that we own. That is what we do at the Canberra Hospital. That option is not available to us at Calvary. And, yes, it presents our budget with significant challenges that none of the options presented by any of the critics that the opposition are now holding up as their experts on this deal with. None of them deal with the budgetary issues and the challenges ahead.
It provides alternatives. In fact, Mr Harris's advice actually says that you need to go and see whether any of these are legitimate alternatives. He makes the point in his analysis that nothing that should be done should be a sham or should be concocted just to relieve the budgetary pressure of the government. And he goes to issues of control as opposed to legal ownership. But none of those issues he finished to any finality. In fact, he says that these would need further examination about whether they would actually hold up.
These are legitimate issues. All of the experts, even if they are critics of the position the government has taken, have acknowledged that we need a different way of doing things than the status quo—something that the opposition have failed to grasp or understand.
MS HUNTER: My question is to the Minister for Planning and it concerns the closed service station sites across Canberra. Minister, in the 2009-10 budget the government introduced a waiver of change of use charge to stimulate the redevelopment of closed service station sites. A number of these sites, including the one at Page, have not been operating for some years and have become neglected and are dumping grounds for all sorts of waste. How many service station lessees have taken up the government incentive to redevelop their site since the waiver of change of use charge was introduced?
MR BARR: At this stage I am not aware of any.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?
MS HUNTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, why has the take-up rate been zero? If that is the case, will you be extending the change of use incentive in the 2010-11 budget or introducing additional incentives to improve the take-up rate?
MR BARR: My understanding is that the time needed to remediate a site from its former use as a petrol station is considerable. In some instances the decision to undertake that remediation work has not been taken, but this incentive may in fact have triggered that action. The time frame required for the remediation to be complete and then for a new development application to be lodged is more than 12 months. The government will, of course, consider the feedback from industry in relation to this incentive in the context of our deliberations on the 2010-11 budget.