Page 4057 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 30 November 2022

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Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Whitlam—land release

MS BERRY: I would like to offer some more clarity around the value of land sales provided by the SLA. The ACT government is bound by section 246 of the Planning and Development Act 2007 and must not grant a lease for land other than for payment of an amount that is not less than the market value of the lease.

Market value is determined through advice from a minimum of two independent property valuers who are members of the Australian Property Institute. The independent property valuers rely primarily on sales results from the government and private estates, along with current market conditions, to determine the market value for each block.

Land prices have increased over the last 12 months across Australia and in all states and territories. It is widely attributed to a period of low interest rates, as we have talked about before, as well as high household savings, coupled with COVID-19 and the additional support packages provided by the federal government.

The ballot system used for new land releases is a fair and transparent way to sell residential blocks to the public as it provides everyone interested in the opportunity to purchase a property with an equal opportunity to do so. As block prices are publicly available, buyers have knowledge of those prices throughout the entire process. I am also advised that the registration data from the most recent ballot suggests that less than 20 per cent of all registrants identified as builders or investors, while almost 30 per cent of registrants indicated that they were first homebuyers.

Canberra Hospital—birth centre

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: In regard to the question Ms Clay asked me about closure of birth centre rooms, I can advise that one room in the birth centre has negative pressure capability and has been used to safely care for birthing mothers with COVID-19, following infection control guidelines. This room is available for use at all times by women birthing in the birth centre when it is not in use for these quarantine or isolation requirements. There is a second room adjacent to the negative pressure room which is generally kept free, if the negative pressure room is in use, due to its close proximity and, again, in the interests of infection control. Under current infection control guidelines, this is not a definite requirement; it is only a precaution.

Of course, we do have two hospitals that have maternity capability. I can also advise that the number of rooms available in the birth centre at Calvary Public Hospital Bruce is not currently affected by isolation requirements, and the rooms have not been utilised for women with COVID-19 for more than six months, at the time that I received this information, and are fully utilised by the continuity of midwifery program.

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