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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 1987 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

less than it should have done. We make a little out of it, but never enough. I am disgusted by this nonsense that this is some impediment. It is not. Business will always come here, developers will always come here, because there is money in Canberra.

I want to repeat myself because this is important. We are not getting rapid development now because the population is not growing. Howard has throttled the place. Instead of building, in the future we are going to knock down some buildings. What about those out at Belconnen? I say again that they are going to knock them down. When the supply is short in the future, as I hope it will be, there will be ample investment coming into Canberra. There will be plenty of investment because there is good revenue to be earned from it. It is as simple as that. Betterment ought to stay at 100 per cent.

MS TUCKER (12.21): I also rise to support this very sensible motion from Mr Corbell. As the Nicholls report notes, the issue of betterment has been a vexed issue since self-government. There have been a number of changes to the system of calculating betterment since 1989. This led to confusion and uncertainty within the development industry, and even within the planning agencies. The Assembly will recall the Auditor-General's report in 1997 on a number of instances where betterment was incorrectly charged on development proposals. It seems clear from this that we should not rush through further changes to betterment without knowing the full implications.

The Nicholls report also points out that the change of use charge cannot be considered in isolation from the overall development approval process. Again there is a need for a thorough examination of the interaction between the change of use charge and the development approval process to see whether there is a need for complementary changes to the development approval process, the nature of lease purpose clauses and the provisions of the Territory Plan.

I am therefore not supportive of the Government's proposal to make a quick change to a 50 per cent change of use charge and then to consider other changes to the change of use charge and the development approval process later. I think all aspects of the change of use charge should be considered together. I am aware of the sunset clause in the Land Act which means that the current 75 per cent change of use charge rate will revert back to 100 per cent on 31 August. To give certainty to the development industry, it would be better just to leave the rate at 75 per cent until the Assembly is ready to make more comprehensive changes to the betterment system, if this is thought necessary.

I think this inquiry will also be very useful because I must admit that I found the Nicholls report to be unsatisfactory in a number of respects. It is interesting to note that Professor Nicholls had difficulty in responding to the key term of reference of the inquiry, which was to consider the impact of the change of use charge in attracting or dissuading development in the ACT. I listened to Mr Smyth here today and I must say I think he was pretty misrepresentative of what Nicholls actually said. I will read this into the record. In the executive summary Professor Nicholls said:

The terms of reference also required an analysis of the impact of the CUC on investment in the ACT. This task was made difficult by a lack of relevant data in an easily accessible and useful form. This, combined with the impact of the introduction of Federal Government policies, -

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