Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 8 Hansard (13 August) . .
In 2004 I was successful in rejecting proposals which would have seen the Phillip Oval converted to a range of uses, including serviced apartments and aged care housing. Again, the leaseholder, ACT AFL, had an agreement with a private developer to convert the site to private housing development. They requested that I agree to the transfer of the lease to the developer and its deconcessionalisation. I refused. As a result, the government was able to negotiate a surrender of the site to the territory, with payments made for improvements by ACT AFL. The result is a modern, refurbished enclosed oval in the heart of the Woden Valley available for sporting use.
Again, these matters are now able to be discussed thanks to the public release of cabinet documents which are now over 10 years old. Both of these cases highlighted to me at the time that the system for administering leases granted for less than market value, without any transparency or review, on the whim of the minister needed to change. As a result, the Assembly subsequently enacted new provisions in the Planning and Development Act that provided for a statutory public interest test to be administered, with the minister required to decide whether or not it was in the public interest for a deconcessionalisation to be considered by the planning authority. It also enacted provisions for judicial review of such decisions.
In the Braddon case, the tribunal ultimately found it was satisfied that the deconcessionalisation of the lease would not disadvantage the community. Whatever those opponents of the Braddon redevelopment may think, suggesting that I do not understand the idea of the public interest and the need for transparency in leasehold administration is simply not supported by the facts.
MADAM SPEAKER: Before calling any other members, I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of members of the Ginninderra Sea Scouts, and I would like to divulge a conflict of interest: my older children, all three of them, were members of the Ginninderra Sea Scouts in a previous century, in the olden days when they operated from St Monica's hall. Welcome to your Assembly.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (6.45 pm): I rise tonight to apologise to Ms Lawder for some inappropriate language that I used in this place. I apologise to Ms Lawder and to the Assembly.
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (6.45): Over the past year, I have sat in silence listening to each and every one of those opposite, without interjecting or interrupting, and I had hoped that the same courtesy could apply in return. It is one thing to participate in the cut and thrust of debate but comments like the one we heard today have no place in our Assembly and contribute to the dim view many in our community have of our proceedings.
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