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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 3015 ..


tier 1 national infrastructure company, there are requirements in their tendering to utilise local contractors. The bulk of the ACT government’s infrastructure program sits well below those really big ticket items—250 projects contained within the program and only a handful are over $250 million in value. So overwhelmingly the delivery of the infrastructure program is undertaken by Canberra region businesses.

But there are some examples where we simply do not have the skills or capacity—light rail being one, because there is no-one who builds light rail in Canberra—where we need to bring that capacity in. Until we built stage 1, there had never been any rail built by a territory government in the ACT. There are some infrastructure projects that require national or international expertise; there are others, though, that we do every month or every year. And that is the staple of the local infrastructure program—that we have in place a local industry participation policy that is consistent with what is allowed under free trade agreements.

This is the thing that just boggles the mind—that you lot go out there claiming your party as the advocates of free trade, and yet when it is actually applied you whinge about it. Unbelievable!

Government—land release

MR CAIN: My question is to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development. Minister, in the year to September 2021, Canberra house prices have risen by 28 per cent, according to CoreLogic’s home property value index. Your Indicative Land Release reports show that the total promised release of single blocks between 2019 and 2021 was 3,544, yet the land and property reports from June 2019 to December last year show that only 841 blocks were settled.

Mr Parton: Quite a shortfall!

MR CAIN: This is a shortfall, as Mr Parton has said, of quite an amount—2,703. Minister, is this shortfall and the resultant acute scarcity generated by you, the effective monopoly supplier of land in the ACT? Is this what is primarily responsible for the increase in recent sales and the boom in housing prices in

MR GENTLEMAN: Madam Speaker, it is appropriate that I take that question, as the minister with responsibility for ILRP, as well as the decisions that are made in cabinet across land release well into the future. As you will see in this budget, Madam Speaker, we have had a strong Indicative Land Release Program to look at the demand that is growing across the territory, in particular, with the way we have looked at release planning for the future—that is, that we are moving to a more compact, efficient city. So you will see more smaller sites allowed as individual sites across the territory.

In the past we have not seen a reflection, particularly, of the Indicative Land Release Program in the cost of houses in the territory. The cost of houses is a market force. The cost has grown quite significantly, and we see that. We have a land release program that can look at the population growth across the city and the way that the city grows. Those are decisions that are brought to us in expert advice. Cabinet


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