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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 2536 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: All right; it may not be the case that everyone is happy. Apparently Ms Lenihan is not happy, but I have not been advised about that before. That is a matter that I will take on board for Ms Tucker. I emphasise that there are two matters here. The Government is investigating the first matter. The second matter I think is a matter of process, and I think I would be prepared to defend that in respect of the way this has been handled today.

MR CORBELL (4.28): Mr Deputy Speaker, the Labor Opposition shares some fairly serious concerns about the process that has taken place here in relation to the direct grant of land at the McKellar shops. I am grateful to Ms Tucker for raising the matter of public importance today because this fundamentally comes down to this Government's continuing failure and, indeed, I would argue, incompetence in dealing with direct grants of land, or exclusive dealings, when it comes to territory land. It is not the first time that we have seen the Government embroiled in this sort of sloppy, messy process, and I am afraid that it probably will not be the last.

There are a couple of key issues that I would like to address. The first relates to process, the second to the criteria that the Government has used in addressing this matter. Then I would like to deal with some of the other matters concerning the Property Advisory Council's report on exclusive dealing and the issue of the payment for the land.

Turning first to the process issue, Ms Tucker raises what I believe to be some fairly valid criticisms. The application for this land was made in the name of Tokich Homes trading as Eco-Land Developments, but until last Friday that developer was not trading as Eco-Land Developments but rather as Nouvelle Homes, which was Tokich Homes' trading name. Eco-Land Developments was a registered business name owned by another person who was associated with the current developer when the original application was lodged.

I question how the Government could proceed to deal with Tokich Homes when the application for direct grant was under a business name not related to the principals. Indeed, as Ms Tucker pointed out in her comments earlier, one only has to look at the letter sent to an officer in, I presume, the Office of Asset Management from St George Bank outlining that Eco-Land had no status, as far as we could tell, and that the entity being dealt with was Tokich Homes trading as Nouvelle Homes.

Mr Deputy Speaker, I do not believe that this is a fundamental problem, but it does highlight the Government's inability to deal in any straightforward way with some fairly basic premises when you deal with a direct grant of land. It demonstrates shoddy business practice. It demonstrates a lack of attention to detail. I am afraid it is the type of approach that we are all too familiar with in this place.

When it comes to direct dealing on land, governments must make sure that absolutely everything is rigorous, is above board, is accurate, and is complete. On all of those counts, Mr Deputy Speaker, we have not seen that in relation to this matter. Public confidence in direct dealing on land, our most valuable asset, demands those sorts of standards. The Government has not met them.

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