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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (17 November) . . Page.. 2566 ..

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, land release is the bailiwick of the Chief Minister, and on behalf of Mr Kaine I will ask the Chief Minister to give me some more information on that question.

Mr Kaine: You will not give any undertaking?

MR SMYTH: I cannot give an undertaking for things for which I am not responsible.

Mr Kaine: It is your document. You tabled it. You tabled the document, but you have no responsibility for it.

MR SMYTH: I am not responsible for land release.

MR HUMPHRIES: As Minister assisting the Chief Minister in respect of the Office of Asset Management, I am happy to answer the question. Generally, Mr Speaker, the policy of the Government is to release land by way of an open process, but there are occasions which have arisen in the life of every government - and Mr Kaine might even recall some occasions during his own term as Minister for Land and Planning - when, for various reasons, a non-open process is used. They arise from time to time. Mr Speaker, they are appropriate, not often, but on occasions, and they will be employed by the Government when they are appropriate.

Rural Residential Development

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, my question is also to the Minister for Urban Services and it also relates to the recent discussion paper on rural residential development. Can the Minister confirm that the discussion paper on rural residential development in the ACT raises serious concerns about a wide range of environmental and infrastructure impediments to the successful development of this type of land development in Canberra? Can the Minister also confirm that, in fact, the study suggests that the management of environmental and cultural heritage, bushfire risk, weed management and water quality would create costs to the Territory, the developer or the potential lessees that would make the whole proposal less than competitive with surrounding developments in New South Wales? Minister, is it not also the case that the impact on greenfield land release projections and net income to the ACT Government shows that the proposal is simply not a good earner for the Government, even before consideration of long-term costs of service provision to these areas? In fact, Minister, when will you acknowledge that the report vindicates every concern raised by the community and the Labor Opposition over the last six months in relation to rural residential development?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I do not believe that it raises any impediments at all. The whole purpose of the discussion paper is to highlight those issues that would have to be addressed before rural residential development could continue. I think that it does a very good job, particularly so if you look at the Melrose Valley section of the report. It clearly highlights some of the sensitivities that would have to be addressed should anything occur in the Melrose Valley. In that way,

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