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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (19 May) . . Page.. 322 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

is not included in the commentary which goes with the report. Mr Speaker, I am reluctant to move for an adjournment to a later hour this day because on that basis we would not then have time to consult with the adviser and get further advice as to the detail of the standing committee's report to the Assembly. Therefore, I merely move to adjourn the debate.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Sitting suspended from 12.34 to 2.30 pm


Rural Residential Development

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister detail the "specific exceptional circumstances" which led the Government to decide to enter into an exclusive preliminary agreement with Mr Derek Whitcombe for a joint venture for rural residential development on the area known as Kinlyside and Hillview near Hall?

MS CARNELL: Thank you very much for the question. The Government's policy on land development certainly does not preclude joint venture agreements, contrary to what those opposite have said on many occasions. Certainly, joint venture approaches are not our preferred method; but they are not precluded either, Mr Speaker. The reason why exclusive negotiations were entered into with a single developer regarding a rural residential development near Hall is that the developer brought to us a letter of authority to negotiate on behalf of the Bolton family, the lessees of the Hillview property. The Bolton family have occupied the Hillview property for, I think, nearly 150 years; so a right to negotiate on their behalf was a significant factor in decisions relating to the redevelopment of the area.

In effect, the developer believed that he was bringing to the proposed joint venture the three leases covering the Hillview property, which overlaps Kinlyside. It was envisaged that the Government would bring to the joint venture a proportion of Kinlyside. The reason why we went into the preliminary agreement - and remember that this was not a joint venture, but a preliminary agreement, subject to stringent conditions - rather than straight into a joint venture arrangement was to allow a full examination of issues, including financial viability, risk sharing, environmental matters and, of course, planning matters. As it turns out, Mr Speaker, that detailed examination has revealed a clearer picture of the status of the relevant leases than that put before Cabinet or, indeed, before senior officials when the approval of the preliminary agreement was granted.

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