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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 102 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

the Civic revitalisation policy, which I think the Labor Party has been quite supportive of, is ignored by this bill. His supposed vehicle for change is only at the chassis level and he needs to do more work on it. Something hurriedly presented because he got caught unawares does not meet the promises he made to this place last year.

Mr Corbell: What about your promises? Where is your legislation? You do not have any legislation on the table at all.

MR SMYTH: The government has always had a position on this, and the government has not been idle on the matter. I can point out the work that the department has done previously and is continuing to develop. We will be presenting a full package shortly.

Some of the incentives that would be directed at achieving a number of policy objectives include supporting the continuation and growth of existing local centres and the provision of additional dwelling opportunities wherever appropriate; responding to changing business needs in areas other than local centres in a timely manner, as well as reducing unnecessary administration costs; encouraging changes of office space to residential or commercial accommodation in Civic to reduce the vacancy rates, as well as revitalising the city centre; encouraging the development of additional dwellings in designated redevelopment areas in and around centres where the accessibility to the services, the shops and employment is high; encouraging the development of accessible and adaptable housing; encouraging the development of older persons housing; and encouraging the implementation of local and group centre master plans where a plan has been prepared in consultation with the community to encourage the implementation of change at more accessible locations.

The government's position has always been clear. We have always thought that 75 per cent or less is what the change of use charge should be. I accept that the Assembly will not move below 75 per cent, but today we have the opportunity to lock in and give the industry and those who seek to develop clarity about what they must do. Mr Corbell's bill does not do that. This is a rare opportunity to restore some sense to the development charging system. I would urge members to reject Mr Corbell's bill as a half-baked attempt and to support the amendments that I will propose to give certainty and clarity so that once and for all we can end the debate on change of use charge.

MR KAINE (11.16): I am pleased to see this matter on the agenda for debate today, because it has concerned me for some time that, almost by default, almost without any debate, we allowed the percentage of betterment tax to increase to 100 per cent. I was waiting for the government to attempt to correct that, which I believed to be an error and an anomaly. By Mr Corbell bringing on his bill today, it allows the government to do what, in my view, they should have done before now.

In the absence of any activity from the government, it was my intention to support Mr Corbell's bill, because at least it would gave the minister some power to vary the percentage where he thought it was warranted. That would be better than a flat 100 per cent rate that could not be changed by anybody. I thought that Mr Corbell's initiative at least gave the minister the option to apply a different rate under specified circumstances if he thought it was warranted.

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