Page 6016 - Week 18 - Thursday, 12 December 1991

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Casino Project

MR JENSEN: Mr Speaker, my question is directed to the Chief Minister. She may wish to defer to the Minister for Planning, but because she is responsible for the casino legislation it is probably appropriate for her to answer it. Can she assure the Assembly that the proposal to circumvent the ACT interim planning legislation via the amendment to the Casino Control Act introduced today, which removes the requirement for future public consultation on any changes to the Territory Plan as it stands at the moment, does not offend section 26 of the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988, which of course, as we know, is a Federal Act and cannot be changed by the ACT?

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I do not have with me the detail of the Acts that he refers to, so I will give him later advice on the detail of the matter that he has asked about. But I certainly confirm that, in looking at the plan variation that would be needed for construction of a casino adjacent to the Parkroyal Hotel, all of the planning procedures that are in place will be adhered to. That includes, of course, a period of public consultation - a chance for people to offer their views on the planning variation proposal. I can give Mr Jensen that undertaking. The part of the question on the exact detail, particularly of the Commonwealth Act that he referred to, I will have to take on notice.

MR JENSEN: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I am now totally confused because, as I understand it, the proposal outlined today will allow a Minister or the Executive to make a decision before the draft variation plan has gone through the process of community consultation. So, it seems to me that what the Chief Minister is proposing is to allow a decision to be taken before the completion of the normal planning process, and that is why the amendment has been made to the casino planning legislation. The Chief Minister may wish to reconsider her answer in light of that fact.

MS FOLLETT: I do not think so. The draft variation, Mr Jensen, will be released for public consultation; there is no doubt about that. That public consultation period will be as is provided for under the legislation.

Land Tax

MR HUMPHRIES: My question of the Chief Minister and Treasurer concerns the land tax. Where property on which land tax has been paid part way through the financial year is sold to a person who is not liable to pay land tax, what arrangements has the Government made for the reimbursement of the unused portion of the year's tax to the taxpayer?

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