Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2960 ..
At 6 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.
Sitting suspended from 6 to 7.30 pm.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (7.30): It is a pleasure to be able to speak in this debate this evening to indicate the government’s support for the amendment put forward by Ms Hunter and to address some elements of the motion that was originally moved by Mr Seselja.
Actions do speak louder than words, Mr Speaker, and the opposition’s action in putting up yet another pointless motion speaks louder than the words contained within it. As everyone in this place knows, Mr Savery, ACTPLA’s chief planning executive, has commissioned an internal audit into the determination of change of use charges for lease variations relating to dual occupancies, units and townhouses.
Everyone in this place knows this because it was explained at great length through the estimates committee hearings. The opposition know that the audit is underway. They know that it will be made public in coming weeks and they know that it will be tabled in the Assembly. Everyone knows this because the government told the Assembly in their response in the estimates committee report. That is a process that Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth were involved in to varying degrees. I understand that there was a bit of work-to-rule going on in the estimates committee this year.
It would appear that through this motion the opposition has chosen to ignore the government position on these issues and instead make accusations ahead of that report being made available by myself and the Treasurer. The Leader of the Opposition has chosen, once again, to jump to his own conclusions with assertions that there was some sort of “mysterious arrangement or deal” entered into in 2003 that resulted in “a failure to collect the change of use charge properly”.
The opposition talk of deals really is pretty grubby politics. The Treasurer and I have gone to considerable lengths to explain the processes that have been put in place to look closely at the issues. Mr Savery has explained, through the estimates committee hearings, that he has commissioned an internal audit of the determination of change of use charges for lease variations relating to dual occupancies, units and townhouses. The opposition knows that that audit is underway, but has chosen again to ignore it and to make unsubstantiated allegations ahead of the report being made available.
The report is expected to be completed by the end of July. The audit needs to be thorough and this will take an amount of time to complete because there are many files to examine and documents to review. A number of staff who were involved in lease administration back in 2003, as well as officers in the Australian Valuation Office who might have some first-hand knowledge, are unfortunately no longer employed in those roles. The auditors are trying to contact them, where possible, to interview them and piece together these valuation processes. I understand that the auditors have made contact with the AVO and hope to interview officers in that