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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (19 May) . . Page.. 323 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

Whereas the developer believed that he was bringing three leases to the table, it turned out that two of those leases had already been returned to government some six years ago. The full implications of this are now being examined by both the Government and the developer involved; but, clearly, it changes the equation in terms of the progress towards a joint venture agreement. In simple terms, if the developer is not bringing an exclusive right to negotiate over Hillview, then the rationale for the Government negotiating exclusively with that developer is removed. Mr Speaker, it highlights the wisdom of the additional stage, of a preliminary agreement, in order to thoroughly test the assumptions on which the proposed joint venture was based.

Mr Berry: They are getting worried.


MS CARNELL: Excuse me; no. The Government remains committed to the concept of establishing rural residential land developments within the borders of the ACT. We believe that the land comprising the Hillview property and the part of Kinlyside that we are talking about is a very attractive location for such a development. Mr Speaker, the Government is totally committed to looking at rural residential. We believe very strongly - and I am surprised those opposite do not - that allowing people to move over the border and use our facilities, such as our schools, our roads, our libraries and our hospitals, but not pay rates and not pay taxes is a very inappropriate approach for government. Mr Speaker, we think that anybody who believes that we should almost force people over the border if they want a bigger block of land is downright stupid.

So, the Government's commitment to rural residential development continues, and we believe that the land around the Hillview property and part of Kinlyside is a very appropriate location. Mr Speaker, on the basis of the information that I have presented today, I understand that Mr Derek Whitcombe is withdrawing from the preliminary agreement. Obviously, this is with great regret. Mr Whitcombe believed that he brought to this agreement all three leases; he did actually have the three leases in his hand, Mr Speaker. Unfortunately, this has proven not to be the case. On that basis, Mr Whitcombe has, I believe, done the exemplary thing and has pulled out of the agreement.

MR STANHOPE: My supplementary question is this: Having regard to the Chief Minister's admission that the Cabinet proceeded to sign an agreement on the basis of information that was false - - -

Ms Carnell: What agreement?

MR STANHOPE: The preliminary agreement.

Ms Carnell: There is no joint venture.

MR STANHOPE: The Chief Minister has just indicated that the Cabinet made a decision on the basis of information that was false. Can the Chief Minister explain why, when this first became apparent to the Government, they did not cancel the agreement with Mr Whitcombe rather than waiting for him to simply withdraw?

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