Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2629..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
You also requested clarification that the 3,000m2 limit could apply to a number of individual establishments within a larger Crown Lease for the site held by a single lessee. This is also correct.
Why are two different companies dealt with by two different government bodies and given two different answers?
MR CORBELL: The premise of Mr Stefaniak's question is wrong, because the two companies did not ask for the same advice at the same time, or even in a reasonably close period of time. ING, in its letter to the Planning and Land Authority in late September 2005, asked if a direct factory outlet was permitted on the site. The company was referred to the Land Development Agency. The reason for that was that the inquiry was substantively about the expressions of interest process that the Land Development Agency had responsibility for. In the reply given by the Land Development Agency, ING was advised that it needed to rely on the territory plan and rely on its own advice in relation to whether or not a direct factory outlet was permitted.
This is the same advice that was given to the company known as Austexx when Austexx asked the same question of Mr Savery, chief planning executive, in October and November of the same year. The advice given by officers of the Planning and Land Authority on 4 October last year was not in relation to questions asked about whether or not a direct factory outlet was permitted on the site. The inquiry that was made—and I refer Mr Stefaniak to the record of the discussion—was that the details of the proposal and the land use policy, that is, the issue under discussion, was for bulky goods retail and shops. It was not a discussion or a request about whether or not a direct factory outlet was permitted on the site.
When that question was asked by Auste—xxand it was asked later than ING—it was given the same substantive answer that ING was given by the LDA. That was to rely on its own advice and to rely on its interpretations of the territory plan. I have no doubt that ACTPLA and the LDA have consistently and fairly treated all parties on this matter. I further add that any suggestions that ING did not proceed further through the auction process because of the allegations around this advice are also false. They are false because the Land Development Agency provided the full detailed lease and development conditions and the crown lease to all bidders, including ING, before the auction. ING was a registered bidder in the same ways that Austexx was a registered bidder, in the same way that a range of other companies and individuals were registered bidders.
It is quite clear to me that the advice that was given was consistent. The only thing that is not consistent is the fact that the opposition continues to cherry pick particular instances at particular points of time in this process without looking closely at exactly the questions that were being asked by the different bidders. Austexx did not ask the Planning and Land Authority in the 4 October meeting whether a direct factory outlet was permitted on the site. I challenge Mr Stefaniak to look at that document and see if there is any reference to whether or not a direct factory outlet is permitted on that site. The answer to that is no. It does not say that a direct factory outlet is permitted on this site. What it does say is what is in the territory plan. Planning and Land Authority officials say exactly what is in the territory plan, which is, of course, a public document. So any suggestion that ING did not receive the same advice as Austexx is wrong, and