Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3120 ..
MR HIRD (continuing):
units. The club has accepted in this proposal that it was an unacceptable figure, and the committee has now recommended that no housing development beyond the current proposal be allowed.
The dissenting report makes much of the appropriateness of allowing a change to the concessional lease to provide for residential purposes. Mr Speaker, I would contend that this is a policy issue that is not the point of this particular application. Under the current system our method of consideration is what the whole draft variation process is about. An application is submitted and then goes through a process according to the rules in force at the time. This has happened on a number of occasions with similar developments. Developments at Yowani, Belconnen and Capital golf courses and at the Canberra Women's Bowling Club and the Canberra Bowling Club have previously been permitted under the rules of the day, some of them under a Labor administration when our colleague Mr Wood was the responsible Minister, as I understand it.
Mr Speaker, the Labor Government approved 14.3 per cent of Capital's lease being used for a housing development and 19.3 per cent of the Belconnen Golf Club's land. As I understand it, it was also Minister Wood who referred to the Assembly the Yowani proposal, which was for 11 per cent of the land to be developed for housing of a similar type. The current proposal for the Federal lease is 5.5 per cent, a modest proposal, particularly when compared to the earlier approvals by the former Government. It is very difficult to ignore these percentages, and it would be unfair to do so. It is also very difficult to ignore the fact that the development encompasses the site of the disused fourteenth fairway at the club. It is not native or virgin bushland. It has always been part of the club's development.
Mr Speaker, the development covers about five hectares but the proposal, if endorsed, will return nine hectares to the community as public land. This is obviously a net gain to the community, particularly to the suburbs of Hughes and Garran, which already have some 45 hectares of parkland and 10 hectares of playing fields identified as urban open space in the Territory Plan.
Another issue relates to the amount of betterment. This has also been questioned in the dissenting report. Again, that was not the business of the Urban Services Committee in considering this application. It is, of course, the subject of a separate inquiry of my committee, which is now accepting submissions and will hold public hearings next month. The debate about the general level of betterment is a separate issue to consideration of this application, which must be considered against the current rules.
In this case the Federal Golf Club has indicated that it will pay whatever level of betterment applies under legislation relevant at the time. It has been suggested that the Federal Golf Club should seek another means of financing improvements to the water supply of the club. I am confident that the club had considered all realistic means of doing it prior to deciding on the option currently before us. The fact remains that the option that has been chosen is entirely legitimate. It is certainly not popular with everyone, but that fact alone cannot be used as a basis for rejection.