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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 69 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

The key point is that this government has moved with a timeliness on providing additional places that the previous government failed to do. In fact, when I first raised this issue in the Assembly earlier this year, the previous minister said that there was no crisis with Gungahlin child-care facilities. He should have talked to the families of close to 300 children who are on the waiting list for child-care facilities in Gungahlin.

Our move will mean that 50 per cent of the families on the waiting list will have access to child-care facilities within the next 12 months and some to the 55 places available by March of next year. We think that that is a far more timely response. It is the level of response that the people of Gungahlin deserve.

Greenfields development

MRS DUNNE: My maiden question is to the Minister for Planning, Mr Corbell. I refer to Labor's election commitment to take over responsibility for greenfields land development in the ACT. I note that it costs about $35,000 on average to develop a block of land in the ACT and that, annually, we sell about 2,000 blocks of land. I further understand that we will probably need to develop about at least 2 years worth of land before the territory receives any revenue from the sales down stream.

Has the minister been advised by his department of the costs of implementing his commitment? Will the minister advise whether the working capital required to implement this commitment is at least $75 million? Is there any funding for this in the budget?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mrs Dunne for her question. Yes, it is true that the ACT government has made a commitment to ensure that land development is brought under the responsibility of the territory through a statutory planning and land management authority. I have instructed my department to begin work on developing options for the establishment of the authority and, in that context, the options for proceeding with our commitments to provide for land development responsibility to be resumed by the territory.

I do not accept the assertion that this automatically means there is a cost to the territory of $75 million. There are a range of models available that the government will need to consider in how this is undertaken-for example, the models that are used in other jurisdictions whereby the cost of the land development is only recouped after the land is actually sold. Therefore, any cost of development is passed on to the developer once the land is sold. This is a model used by land development corporations in other jurisdictions.

Mr Speaker, there are various ways of managing the land development cost. I am not indicating that is necessarily the approach the territory will adopt. What I am indicating is that there are a range of models that do not all require an immediate draw on the cash reserves of the territory.

Mr Speaker, these are all options that the government is considering, and I will be bringing in a submission to my colleagues and then to the Assembly, hopefully early in the new year, on the full range of issues needed to be addressed in the establishment of a key election commitment-a statutory planning and land management authority.

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