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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3957..


MRS DUNNE (continuing):

there is somewhere about 12 or 18 months between handing over the holding lease to taking up a crown lease. In that time a whole lot of things have to happen. Roads have to be put in, and people are also trying to get some idea of who is going to buy the land, how much money they are going to make out of the process or whether they are going to do their shirt in the process. As a result, the developer-whether it is the government or a private person-would like to sell the land to as many people as possible.

I am sure from time to time members have walked onto a undeveloped block of land and thought they cannot possibly imagine what this is going to be like by the time the kerbing and guttering is done and by the time the other houses go in, et cetera. It is very difficult for the average person, the mum and dad buyer, the layperson, to get a very strong view of what a raw piece of land will look like, and they become very apprehensive about this. This is one of the principal reasons that we do not have a whole lot of mums and dads, individual people, buying blocks of land. Even when the government provides blocks of land in those ways, not very many mums and dads go out and buy them.

I have been to land ballots. I have seen people in their Ralph Lauren polo shirts and chinos on Saturday morning. Mums and dads looking for their home blocks do not dress like that on a Saturday morning, and usually they have two or three kids in tow. These are real estate agents, and they are the people who are out buying the blocks of land. They will have an idea what it will look like in the end because they are used to the market, and they are used to the system.

As a result of that, no matter how you put the system together, builders or real estate agents tend to end up buying the vast bulk of the land, usually in tranches of 10, 15 or 20 blocks. Even if they buy one ballot piece after another, they end up buying tranches of land. At present, if they do this, and then change their minds-they do not want that particular block of land because it is not a particularly suitable site and they probably should have bought a unit development site instead-there are cumbersome provisions that allow them to transfer the lease to somebody else.

But under this system it is going to become increasingly difficult, because-shock horror-somebody might make money out of that transaction. The problem is that people will in some way get around the system. Instead of policing the current system a little better we will have another set of rules that someone will eventually learn how to break, because we have a very complex system.

At the moment, if a builder has bought a block of land he finds he does not have any use for, he usually sells it to another builder who may take it up. The new system will mean that that builder cannot do that any more. It will probably mean that all land developers, including the ACT government, will have increasing difficulty selling their land in advance. This is advice I have received from people who work in the industry, not people who sit in offices and try to make legislation to make life difficult for people.

There are some good aspects of this bill. The principal one is the improved process whereby the first leaseholder, who is usually a land developer, can transfer his large number of leases to a smaller number of people, usually builders, who will then build house and land packages, spec houses, or enter into a contract with someone to build a house. Under this minister's legislation, that process will be improved substantially and


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