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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 1974 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

The Government appears to be desperately trying to develop a niche market for rural residential development, despite the fact that the market for rural residential land in the region surrounding the ACT is already well supplied. However, this niche market approach is going to be at the taxpayers' expense. The revenue raised from selling off these blocks will be offset by the high costs involved in servicing the blocks with water and sewerage. Professor Max Neutze from the ANU has calculated that the ACT Government would be subsidising each block by between at least $14,000 and $31,000.

The promotion of rural residential development is also at odds with the regional land use strategy agreed with New South Wales councils surrounding the ACT. Instead of cooperating with councils to ensure the most efficient use of land and to avoid negative environmental impacts which arise out of ad hoc land development, the ACT Government is now trying to outcompete the surrounding New South Wales region in the supply of rural residential land.

The Minister for Urban Services then announced that the Government would proceed with the new Kinlyside rural residential development just after the Government had announced its residential and commercial land release program for the ACT from 1999 to 2004, which has thrown the Government's land release program into disarray. That document laid out the Government's residential and commercial land release program for the next five years, based on market, demographic and economic information which impacts on land activity and trends. There was absolutely no mention of the Kinlyside development in the Government's land release document. Unlike the proposed residential land releases at Amaroo, Conder and Gungahlin, the Kinlyside development does not appear to have been subject to the same scrutiny and planning. What is the point of having a planned land release program if the Government is going to undermine it so easily?

I believe that many of the environmental, economic, social and planning issues around rural residential development in the ACT remain unresolved. The Government is pushing ahead with this development at the expense of long-term, good land planning. We are not surprised, of course. It is entirely consistent and predictable.

However, the Kinlyside development will not really even be rural residential. It will actually be very low-density suburban sprawl, as the Government is intending to fully service the blocks and provide sealed roads. This is a departure from most rural residential developments, which are often required to provide their own water and sewerage. In order to offset the costs of these blocks the Government will have to make them very expensive, which narrows the market for them. This area will just end up being a very elite estate for those people who dream of being landed gentry. However, this comes at the cost of making this land unavailable for other types of residential development in the future that could make more efficient use of this land.

The Government cannot really rely on the motion passed in the Assembly in early 1998 to say that this Assembly supports rural residential development. That motion came about as a government hijack of a different motion by Labor regarding the Government's action over the Kinlyside land deal. The actions of the Government since then also throw doubt on its handling of this issue. It is time for the Assembly, through the Urban Services Committee, to have a thorough look at this issue and get to the bottom of whether this type of development is appropriate in the ACT.

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