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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 148 ..

MR CORBELL (4.17): Mr Speaker, quite frankly this is unbelievable. The government has just realised that if they adopt the amendment proposed by Mr Smyth before lunch they would amend the act to revert change of use charge to 75 per cent, and then the sunset clause would immediately take effect and it would go back to 100 per cent because they forgot to take out the sunset clause. That is very well thought through, I must say. That is why we now have the rather embarrassing situation of Mr Hird having to cover up the mistake made by Mr Smyth when he moved his amendment this morning.

Mr Speaker, there is a serious point to this: this government just does not know what to do with the change of use charge. This government has not put forward any substantive proposals of its own in relation to the administration of the change of use charge. It is playing catch-up on the issue and there is nothing on the table in this place. It has complained long and loud in the community about the impact of a 100 per cent change of use charge, but it has done nothing in this place to fix the problems it itself has raised. Why should this Assembly treat these government amendments seriously for one moment? I think Mr Hird has answered our question.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.19): Mr Speaker, I think the quote "he doth protest too much" is hiding Mr Corbell's embarrassment that his proposal would appear not to be going to be passed by the Assembly today. We all have come back to this place with amendments to amendments. Sometimes something is overlooked. Sometimes as debate clarifies a situation you add further amendments.

The proposition put by Mr Corbell that the government has never had a clear position on the change of use charge is somewhat ludicrous. The government, in response to the Nicholls report, agreed with the report and said that we would endeavour to reduce change of use charges to 50 per cent. We had that debate. Mr Corbell must have forgotten about that. We then said that we would prefer to see it stay at 75 per cent, and we had that debate. Mr Corbell conveniently forgets about that as well. Indeed, he was warned that his date of 31 January did present some difficulties, but we forget about that as well, quite clearly. This is standard; this goes on.

Mr Corbell started by asking whether or not the first amendment stood. Well, the first amendment had been moved and clearly it stands. I have to say that this procedure was followed on advice from the Clerk's office, and I am grateful for that advice.

MR OSBORNE (4.20): Mr Speaker, I have to say that I think the government's handling of this has been very unprofessional. It has been. It has been terrible. I made it very clear to both Mr Corbell and the government towards the end of September or October that I was prepared to consider 75 per cent. The government knew that the sunset clause was coming into place by whenever it was, 31 January or 31 December, yet the only piece of legislation to hit the table was Mr Corbell's. We really have seen the government scrambling today, and I think it is very unprofessional.

Nevertheless, Mr Speaker, I noted the challenge that came from Mr Corbell this morning to explain my reasons for supporting a 75 per cent change of use charge and I am pleased to be able to announce that I now have a policy on betterment. I do consider planning matters very carefully when I am required to, Mr Speaker, but, as I have mentioned

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