Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1702 ..
Ms Carnell: It is a very ugly car park.
MR CORBELL: Open space, Mrs Carnell. It does not have any buildings on it. Of course, Mr Speaker, I am not allowed to respond to interjections.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, but at the same time you should not be provoked.
MR CORBELL: No, I certainly should not be provoked, Mr Speaker, and thank you for your protection. The fact that section 56 is going ahead outside of any comprehensive master plan for the development of Civic is of concern. The fact that the Government has pushed ahead with this development without a comprehensive plan for the overall development of Civic I think demonstrates very strongly that the Government is interested in getting the dollar from the development but is not interested in the overall planning outcome that will result from such a large redevelopment in the Civic area. That, in simple terms, underscores our whole concern about Mrs Carnell's can-do merchants, as she acknowledges, over in the Office of Asset Management.
Mr Speaker, the other thing I want to raise is the issue of good planning function. Again I come back to that most obvious of examples, the Hall/Kinlyside development. That development proceeded with a proposal for an exclusive grant of land to an individual developer, a direct grant, with absolutely no open tender process. Why? Because the Chief Minister thought it was a good idea. She told her bureaucrats to go and do it and they did it. That is the sort of can-do mentality that is occurring in this city.
What was wrong about what occurred, Mr Speaker? First of all, the Government ignored the fact that that developer had no exclusive rights to that land. In fact, that land was a grazing lease which was on a 30-day renewal. That meant that the tenants of that land, the family that had farmed there, would have to leave the land on 30 days' notice. They had signed a lease which gave them no rights to the land except for grazing purposes; yet the Government decided that they would give that land, under an exclusive arrangement, to a particular developer because he held some sort of power of attorney from these people who had absolutely nil rights except for grazing on the land.
Now, why is this happening, and why did it happen? It happened because these decisions were taken in the Chief Minister's Department. They were not taken in the Planning and Land Management Group. If they had been taken in the Planning and Land Management Group, it would have been very quickly brought to the Government's attention that the people did not have any rights over the land except for grazing; that the lease was about to expire, and in fact could expire with 30 days' notice; and that for that reason it would be most appropriate to release the land, if that was the Government's wish, on a tender basis. That did not occur. Instead of this matter being dealt with by people with planning expertise who understand the overall development sequence, for instance, in the Gungahlin area, who understand issues about blocks and leases, which are fairly basic issues, and a whole range of things like that, the decisions were being taken by the Chief Minister's Department.