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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 2 Hansard (2 March) . . Page.. 479 ..

Thursday, 2 March 2000


MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.30 and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


Report on Betterment (Change of Use Charge)

MR HIRD (10.31): Pursuant to order, I present Report No. 41 of the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Services, entitled "Betterment (Change of Use Charge)", including a dissenting report, together with the minutes of proceedings. I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, on 1 July last year the Territory's parliament directed the Planning and Urban Services Committee to examine the report by Professor Nicholls entitled "A Study of Betterment and the Change of Use Charges in the Australian Capital Territory". This is an issue that has been contentious and of great interest for a number of years. Indeed, it has been the subject of many previous reports. The committee has agreed - even Mr Corbell, I believe - that certainty must be put into the system. We cannot encourage investment in the Territory if no stability is offered to investors. Investment, of course, means jobs, and jobs mean more investment.

Professor Nicholls from the ANU provided a very detailed and a very careful report. The committee unanimously agreed that we should treat it in a similar manner - that is, in detail and carefully. We unanimously agreed to the format used in our report. It is an unusual presentation in that we presented it in landscape format. This enabled the report to show, for each recommendation, Professor Nicholls' recommendations; the rationale for his recommendation as the majority committee understood it; public comment on the recommendation; and the committee's majority view on the recommendation.

Professor Nicholls made 19 recommendations. The committee reached a majority position on the 19 recommendations. Not surprisingly to me, Mr Corbell dissented. What is surprising is that he chose to dissent to the whole report, but that is a matter I am sure Mr Corbell will address the house on shortly. I have been informed by the secretary that Mr Corbell's dissenting report omits recommendation 2. I daresay that will be dealt with later by my colleague Mr Corbell in his remarks.

The format we chose was deliberately selected to allow for informed debate on this important issue. The committee believes that the document will become an easy reference guide to the issue, even if the committee conclusions are not agreed with.

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