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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (28 May) . . Page.. 757 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

the Hillview property. The family has occupied the property for 150 years, and we respected their position in the redevelopment of the area. It appears from what Mr Corbell said that he does not, that he thinks the fact that they have been on the property for 150 years should mean nothing, that we should just resume the property. Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, we felt very strongly that if we were to redevelop - - -

Mr Corbell: They were bought out. You know they were bought out when it was resumed as leasehold.

Mr Berry: They were bought out ages ago with all the others.

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hird): Order! The Chief Minister has the call.

MS CARNELL: Thank you, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. We determined that it was important that the wishes of the Bolton family be taken into account. Derek Whitcombe believed that he was bringing three leases to the negotiations; in fact, he had three lease documents. As I indicated last week, subsequent work by agencies revealed that two leases were, in fact, withdrawn some six years ago. This changed the negotiating position of Derek Whitcombe, and he withdrew from the preliminary agreement. Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, that is the reality of the position reached between the Government and Mr Whitcombe. The proposal was not done in secrecy. It was well known to many members - in fact, I would have thought to all members - of the previous Assembly and the present Assembly.

There has been much questioning of the Government's position in relation to joint ventures. It is true that joint ventures are not our preferred method of handling these sorts of approaches, but they are not precluded in considering major land redevelopments. The Government has strict rules in relation to joint ventures and these include competitive commercial returns to the Territory. The preliminary agreement for the Hall residential development was not a joint venture, but it carried very strict business case rules in respect of the financial feasibility assessment. If it was not commercially viable, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, it would not proceed - the sorts of things that should have been in joint ventures that those opposite had entered into in the past.

While joint ventures are not the Government's preferred arrangement as a matter of general policy, the preference cannot be taken to imply that the position is absolute because, quite simply, it is not. In certain circumstances, joint ventures may be a viable mechanism available to develop land in the Territory. Previous joint ventures in respect of land development have been negotiated both through an open tender process and by direct negotiations - yes, by direct negotiations. In total, 15 joint ventures have been negotiated, nine of them being negotiated and settled outside an open tender process. That means, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, that those opposite, the Labor Party in government, used processes for joint ventures outside the open tender process in nine out of 15 joint ventures negotiated.

Mr Humphries: How many was that?

MS CARNELL: Nine out of 15.

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