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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1222 ..

Concessional leases

(Question No 332)

Mr Corbell asked the Minister for Urban Services, upon notice:

In relation to concessional leases in the ACT:

1. How many concessional leases, issued at less than the market value, are there in the ACT;

2. Who was each lease issued to;

3. When was each lease issued; and

4. When does each lease expire.

Mr Smyth: The answer to the member's questions is as follows:

The term "concessional lease" was coined in February 1990 when the then Chief Minister announced new betterment charging arrangements. In his announcement the Chief Minister outlined special charges for concessional charge leases and leases granted free of charge.

Until that date, the direct grant process was commonly used to provide rent free leases. or leases with a discounted rent, to organisations that augmented the social and community infrastructure services provided by the Government. Incentives were also given to organisations that have been encouraged to come to the ACT to help build up the city or organisations that brought beneficial employment opportunities. Those organisations included churches, National Associations, sporting and social clubs, welfare organisations, non-government schools, etc.

Due to policy and legislative changes over time, the concessions granted to various groups vary considerably through the years. Changing objectives would generate various forms of concession to different organisations.

Concessions would also vary according to the status of particular organisations. For example, while a church was entitled to obtain its first lease free of charge, a payment equal to one third of the average development cost for the site was payable for any subsequent lease.

This charging methodology was later changed to a sliding scale, based on leased area and cost of the development.

The identification and administration of concessional leases can be extremely complex. No accurate records exist that would enable any Government to identify all of the existing concessional leases. It is often not possible to know the true nature of the concession granted to many lessees until a manual search of the relevant file has been completed. This search is generally conducted only if the need arises to investigate a particular lease.

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