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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 816 ..

Report of Board of Inquiry

Debate resumed from 14 December 1995, on motion by Mrs Carnell:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning) (3.34): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave of the Assembly to speak again on this matter and without limitation of time. Mr Wood will be handy with his little impromptu gong if I get too carried away.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank members for that courtesy.

On 22 June last year I presented a ministerial statement entitled "Planning for the Next Generation". It was the first step among many that had been taken by the Carnell Government to respond to the challenge of planning for Canberra's future - our next generation. Since then, we have taken the major initiative of establishing the metropolitan growth strategy review to provide the much-needed strategic, whole-of-government planning framework that no previous government has been able to deliver.

Today's statement is the next major step towards achieving our objectives for planning and managing Canberra's land. It also provides the framework for our detailed response, not only to the recommendations of the Board of Inquiry into the Administration of the ACT Leasehold, chaired by Justice Stein, but also to the Mant/Collins review of ACT planning functions and structures and to several recommendations of the Red Tape Task Force report that relate to planning and land administration to which the Government has not yet responded.

I begin with the centrepiece of the current Territory land system - leasehold itself. As I have said on earlier occasions, this Government makes no secret of its policy objective of bringing the ACT's land tenure into line with mainstream Australia. Freehold, or at least perpetual leasehold, has always seemed to us to be the obvious system for a city and Territory which needs to assume its proper place in mainstream Australia. We no longer live in a special enclave run by the Commonwealth. We no longer have the subsidies that went with that special status and we are now competing with the rest of the country for business and investment.

That being said, one of the board of inquiry's central recommendations is to continue with the current system of leasehold, and I have already said publicly that this Government will not seek, during the term of this Assembly, to change the current system of tenure to freehold or perpetual leasehold, notwithstanding our preferred policy to move towards perpetual leasehold. Our decision to accept the board of inquiry's recommendations on this issue, while we continue discussions with the business community and the broader community about the future of the leasehold system, was not taken without political cost to the Government. The Government is very conscious that the Territory is much in need

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