Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 1984 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
Professor Nicholls himself says that there is no reason for it not to drop to 50 per cent straightaway. This is part of the reason that we took time in coming to terms and conditions with Professor Nicholls, because he did not want to look just at change of use in isolation. He wanted to look at it in terms of the system and its role in the planning regime to make sure that we got it right. It is quite clear. He says that 50 per cent would be reasonable, but go ahead then - he outlines it in chapter 8, paragraph 3.2 - work on other systems, and this will take some time. The system he proposes is based on development control plans, and it would take some time to work up that system appropriately.
Mr Corbell also said that the industry is prepared to wait. I find it hard to believe that because the MBA, the HIA and the Property Council have all told me that they would be delighted for a 50 per cent change of use charge to become effective immediately. Indeed, Mr Corbell was told at a meeting that the Property Council ran just a couple of weeks ago that the industry would welcome a 50 per cent charge. At that time Mr Corbell also floated the only bit of public policy the Labor Party has put out - that we would then have some sort of independent planning authority. I think the quote from the member on the floor that day was: "Well, son, you ought to come down out of your ivory tower because you are chilling my blood".
I do not believe that Mr Corbell can speak with authority about what the industry wants because, quite clearly, they have told me they would be happy for an immediate reduction to 50 per cent as it would mean they could get on with the developments that they would like to do. It would mean that they could employ the people that they would like to employ. They would then be able to get on with making sure that we get this right.
I have some amendments that have been circulated and I now seek leave to move those amendments together.
MR SMYTH: I move:
(1) Paragraph (1)(a), insert after "(the Nicholls report)", "with the exception of those elements of the report that relate to the recommendation that the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 be amended to provide for a rate of Change of Use Charge of 50%"
(2) Paragraph (1)(b), insert before "any", "subject to paragraph (1)"; and
(3) Paragraph (2), omit the paragraph.
I am very happy, as I said on the day I released the report, to send the majority of the report to the Urban Services Committee. That is where it should go; that is where it should be dealt with. It is quite appropriate. I hope, with support from the crossbenches, that what we will do is say to Canberra that Professor Nicholls has got it right.