Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1699 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
I wrote, I thought, to the responsible Minister, Mr Stefaniak, who informed me that it had been transferred to the Office of Asset Management and it was a responsibility of the Chief Minister's Department. I then received a response from the Chief Minister's Department that basically said they really could not tell me what the state of the building was and what they were going to do about it, and they were really in the first stages of developing an asset management plan for it. That, I found, was a fairly unsatisfactory response. This is this Government's fourth budget and it was unable to tell me the status of a building that was being reused by community organisations. It is very concerning that it has taken this Government four years to deal with the status of that asset. In the meantime the asset is falling down, at least at a superficial level. Those sorts of issues, I think, Mr Speaker, are of concern.
I hope that these issues will be addressed now, but the Office of Asset Management cannot be underestimated in terms of its influence in directing planning outcomes in this city, and I think it cannot be underestimated in its influence and its responsibility over the enormous range of government assets that the Territory holds. So, Mr Speaker, members should carefully note this allocation. I reiterate that this appropriation unit is one which has enormous powers but is still fairly closed in regard to what most people know about it.
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (9.04): I rise to endorse the comments by my colleague Mr Corbell. There are some aspects of the transfer of some functions to the Office of Asset Management that I think raise some serious questions about the interrelationship between the management of our land resources and our planning function. I note that there is currently a review being undertaken of PALM. It is a review that I do not think has been very public. I am not even sure that the terms of reference of the review have been revealed.
It is obvious that the experience of the Hall/Kinlyside development raises a whole range of questions. It was obvious from that experience that something really had to be done about the relationship between land development and land planning. There was quite obviously a serious breakdown in communications between the land development arm of government and the planning aspect of government.
I note, for instance, in relation to Hall/Kinlyside, that PALM was not formally notified of the preliminary agreement until 28 April. I understand that PALM was not informally notified of the preliminary agreement until a meeting between officials of PALM and the Chief Minister's Department on 3 April. I think it really is a matter of very serious concern that there was such a breakdown in the relationship between those within the Government charged with the task of developing Hall/Kinlyside and those in whom we in the Territory place our trust to ensure that all land development is undertaken in accordance with some planning principles that we hold dear and think are incredibly important to the way we manage the assets of the Territory.
Interestingly, just as an aside, I note that the current Minister for Urban Services was not notified about the preliminary agreement until 29 April. I think it is quite intriguing that in the briefing paper that went to the Minister on 29 April he was asked by the head of his department whether or not he would advise the Legislative Assembly of the Government's attitude to the development of rural-residential. The current Minister for