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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2289 ..

ask. I guess the point I will focus on is this: I would be interested to know what action you will be taking, if any, against Tokich basically for what appears to be gaining this land under false pretences. If you are claiming that they did not, then I would ask, as a supplementary question, how you think this is an innovative and especially interesting proposal which justifies a direct grant of land. We are talking about a very ordinary development around shopping centres. Are you just saying that any development around a shopping centre will allow a direct grant of land because you have this concept of community sustainability which I just heard you talk about? Is that justification for any direct grant of land from now on?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I think there is a separate issue raised in the supplementary question but I am quite happy to address it. Ms Tucker raised first of all the question of false pretences. I have no evidence that there are any false pretences involved, but there certainly were some changes in the personnel involved in bringing the application forward to government. It is possible that we could have said at some stage to the applicants, "No, sorry; your legal composition has changed. We are not going to deal with you any longer"; but our legal advice did not support that. Mr Stanhope would be very clear, I am sure, that we should accept legal advice on these matters, and the legal advice said, "You are entitled to deal with Tokich Homes. They were involved in the original application. They are obviously the party at the centre of the application that has come forward to you now".

It appears at this stage, to the best of my observation, that all the people involved in the original application supported, at least at the end of the process, Tokich Homes taking the lease as the developer of this site. So, in the circumstances, it seemed reasonable, indeed legally advisable, to deal with Tokich Homes on the basis of the legal advice we obtained. Ms Tucker also raised a different issue, with respect - - -

Mr Stanhope: You had the legal advice at the time, did you?

MR HUMPHRIES: No, the legal advice at the relevant time indicated that we should deal with Tokich Homes. That is what it said. I have looked at the legal advice, Mr Stanhope, if you wish to see it.

Mr Speaker, the other issue raised by Ms Tucker was the question of the special circumstances that gave rise to the direct dealing with this particular organisation. That was not raised in the first question, but it has come up in the supplementary question. Originally Tokich, the applicants - I will call them the applicants - came forward with a proposal which was environmentally innovative. It had a number of features which I think were significant from an environmental point of view and deserved to be supported on that basis. However, as the proposal developed, those provisions were withdrawn from their application because it was a relatively small project that they were working on. We accepted at the end of the day that it was not reasonable to insist on those sorts of provisions.

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