Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2961 ..
organisation. All of that does take time, as I am sure even the Liberal opposition would acknowledge.
I restate the advice given to me by the chief planning executive when this issue was first raised. He wrote to the Australian Valuation Office directing them to ensure that all residential valuations were undertaken in accordance with the prevailing legislation and market conditions. That letter was sent on 30 April this year. He also advised lease administration staff to question valuations that did not demonstrate that they fully reflect market valuations for the suburbs in which the lease variations are being sought.
I should add that I find it curious on one hand that the opposition is accusing the government of not having collected enough change of use charge whilst on the other hand the Leader of the Opposition decries any resulting increase amounting to a massive tax on housing. He obviously wants it both ways. The codification of change of use charges is about a proper return to the community for an increase in rights passing to the lessee. In other words, it is a tax on windfall gains to developers.
It is about creating certainty for industry. It is about knowing what needs to be paid for what level of development rights and when. It is the position that any responsible government would take. The Liberal’s motion is nothing more than low grade politics. It is an attempt to subvert good process around the review of change of use charge determinations on certain classes of residential leases that had their origins seven years ago. The Leader of the Opposition is aware that the proper process is underway and should respect that.
I do acknowledge and commend the Greens’ proposed amendment to this motion. Unlike the Liberals who put politics ahead of good process, the Greens in this case appear to be interested in the substance of the issue. Their amendment suggests that they are generally interested in the facts and, more importantly, in the effect this policy will have on the community into the future. As I say, the government will support the Greens’ amendment to the motion.
In the time remaining to me, Mr Speaker, I think it is worth reflecting on some of the observations of the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Treasurer during this debate. It is a policy trade-off. I think the Macroeconomics report that the government commissioned, which looked into this issue, stated it well. It is a policy trade-off about those windfall gains to developers.
Of course, if the government chose to retain the entire windfall, as the report said, it would contribute to reducing incentive for property development. No-one is disputing that. If the government sought to retain the entire windfall, that would lead to a reduction in incentive for property development. However, on the other hand, the lower the change of use charge rate, the report says, the greater community benefit that in fact passes into private hands. This is the policy balance that you seek to strike in this particular debate. The Macroeconomics report says:
The task for policy makers is to find the right balance between these two competing objectives to maximise economic development.