Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1746 ..
Treasurer’s budget speech yesterday, this government is determined to continue to build on the great work it has already done by releasing a record 17,000 dwelling sites over the next four years.
I would commend the State of the states report and also the Access Economics report to those opposite. They might like to have a look at those and agree with us about the outstanding results that the ACT has achieved, now being ranked the first by all these measures.
I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (12.19): I thank Ms Porter for raising this issue today. Land release is a very important issue for the ACT from both the financial aspect and the planning aspect. This motion highlights one of the ACT’s unique features. The ACT government owns all the land in the ACT, and the sale of land is a substantial portion of the ACT’s budget every year. One of our concerns is about how financial issues about land development impact upon planning issues about land development.
There are two issues in this motion: the ACT economy and urban development. Going to the ACT economy, I will quote from CommSec’s recent report, which is the one that Ms Porter is referring to. It says:
While the ACT is perched at the top of the leader-board, the question is what happens when the strong housing market matures early in the second half of the year.
That is an excellent question, which I imagine the Leader of the Opposition will probably talk about more in his speech, but I think we all agree that there is a need to diversify the ACT economy. The housing boom cannot and should not go on forever; there is a need for a diverse economy in the ACT, and there is a need for a green economy. The CommSec report goes to the reason that we have basically the best performing economy. It says that previously the ACT and WA were on top, but that now we have solid housing and broader construction activity, and that is what is keeping the ACT on the top.
Basically that says that, because we are not as resource dependent as other states, we are set up to be a sustainable, green economy. What the ACT desperately needs for this work is for the government to work on a diversification strategy. A large part of this, we hope, is in the green economy paper which the government commissioned the University of Canberra to scope. This, of course, was part of the Greens-ALP agreement. At this stage, I believe that it is well and truly over time for delivery. I understand that it is now with CMD’s Business and Industry Development Branch; I look forward to hearing the results and to the government moving forward on growing a sustainable knowledge economy.
Canberra is uniquely placed to be a knowledge economy. Most of the work of our public servants in the ACT is knowledge economy work. We have very great tertiary institutions in the ACT. We have got the ANU, which is a world-class institution. We