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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (14 October) . . Page.. 3131 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

initiated under Mr Wood, it was 11.1 per cent. The club would be charged the change-of-use charge that was set by this place on 2 July this year, with the assistance of the Labor Party, of 75 per cent. They would have to pay the change-of-use charge.

Mr Corbell: You know what our policy is.

MR SMYTH: Mr Corbell interjects. I acknowledge that Labor's clear intention is for it to be at 100 per cent. The Liberal Party would like it to be at 50 per cent, but this place set the change-of-use charge at 75 per cent and any development would have to pay that. We now know, also, that the club is willing, should this variation be successful, to cede back to the people of the ACT for all time 9.22 hectares for inclusion in the nature reserve.

Mr Speaker, it is important that people understand what Labor did. On 7 July 1994, Yowani made application to vary the lease to enable them to build approximately 220 dwellings. It was eventually finalised under this Government. The added value created by this variation to the lease was in the order of $3.5m. The change-of-use charge was 50 per cent. The Capital Golf Club applied to subdivide their block to permit residential development. The increased value was assessed at $1.68m. At that time, a 29 per cent remission applied under the then policy. It was allowed a maximum residential unit development of 280 dwellings under Labor. In February 1994, the Belconnen Golf Club also sought to vary their lease. The added value was assessed at $2.6m and the change-of-use charge of $1.3m was paid in March 1994. The rate of remission was 50 per cent.

It is quite clear that the process that allows variation to occur has been followed. The club has sought to use that process, as is its right. This process, should it go ahead, would allow the club to provide extra amenity and certainty to its members and secure the long-term future of the golf club. At the same time we would see additional safety measures on a private road for the benefit of all Canberrans in the form of a footpath and a cycleway, as well as seeing 9.22 hectares going back, if this proposal is successful, into a Canberra nature park for all time. Mr Speaker, the process in this case has been fine, the consultation has been excellent. It has been widespread and ongoing for almost two years. The process has now reached its culmination in this place.

On all the facts - forget the rhetoric on this matter - we have approved in this place over time very similar developments; in fact, much larger developments. The proposal is consistent with the Territory Plan, as advised to me by PALM, and it will give great community benefit. The Government believes that this variation should go ahead.

MR WOOD (11.59): Mr Speaker, it is not surprising that we are having this debate today. It has been a long debate. Arguments about leasehold go back to the very first days of Canberra as it developed within the ACT with its unique planning system and its unique leasehold system. The first leases were auctioned off in 1924. There had been arguments before that about what conditions there should be on the leases. Immediately upon their auctioning, the arguments continued and they have continued to this day.

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