Page 2629 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 25 August 1993

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Wednesday, 25 August 1993


MADAM SPEAKER (Ms McRae) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


MR MOORE (10.31): Madam Speaker, I present the Land (Planning and Environment) (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1993.

Title read by Clerk.

MR MOORE: Madam Speaker, with the Territory Plan imminent, I think there is a potential to permit widespread urban consolidation and intensification of residential land. The present administration of leasehold will not prevent speculation in anticipation of windfall gains being made from residential development. We have only to look at what happened in the Kingston-Griffith redevelopment area in the 1970s when the redevelopment policies of the area were announced. The social fabric of the local population was decimated in a short time. Several properties were severely blighted and lay idle for more than a decade while speculators waited for the market to catch up with the available supply of sites for medium density housing, contrary to lease conditions that the land must be put to its proper use at all times. That is in each of our own lease conditions, Madam Speaker. In spite of this, I think it is important to draw members' attention to the fact that over the last 20 years there have been four major inquiries that have strongly supported the proper and appropriate administration of the leasehold system.

In 1973 the Commission of Inquiry into Land Tenures, chaired by Justice Rae Else-Mitchell, explicitly rejected any reductions in the betterment charge as a financial incentive for development and concluded that developers should be prepared to pay the full value of the increased development rights. It was Justice Rae Else-Mitchell who wrote a letter to that effect in the paper recently as part of the current debate. In 1979 the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the ACT, in its report "Planning in the ACT - Procedures, Processes and Community Involvement", concluded that "speculation in leasehold based on probable changes in land use is undesirable and should be stopped". In 1983 the Committee of Review of the National Capital Development Commission, in its report "Canberra Planning and Development", concluded that the leasehold system was not being administered properly.

In 1988 the Joint Subcommittee on the Canberra Leasehold System, chaired by John Langmore of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Transport, Communications and Infrastructure, found that in the application of betterment the then ACT Administration was forgoing considerable sums of revenue. The joint subcommittee recommended that:

Market value of the site with the development rights granted under the lease before and after the variation in the purpose clause should be the basis on which betterment is levied.

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