Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1137 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
The government's reform agenda is on track, despite all of the opposition and all of the resistance from Mrs Dunne, based solely on an ideological preoccupation that the government should not be involved in any way in public land development. Despite the fact that Jeff Kennett did it when he was the Victorian Liberal premier and that past Liberal governments in New South Wales and Western Australia have also been involved in government land development, for some reason the opposition wants to deny the people of the ACT the opportunity to get a better return on the asset they own. That is what they do not want us to do-they do not want us to get a better return on the asset that is owned by this community.
Mr Speaker, it is in black and white now that the government's assumptions around the financial modelling are conservative, correct and accurate and that they will deliver a better return in the short term, given current market levels, than we originally presupposed. The reason for this is that the government built into its revenue projections an assumption that the average price per block would be $85,000.
Mr Smyth: It is because you are manipulating something. You are land banking.
MR CORBELL: The consultants have come back and said that a more reasonable estimate is $110,000 per block. That indicates the current strength in the market, and those projections have been amended for the short term. We know the market will not stay that way forever, so we have made that adjustment only in the context of the short term.
I hear Mr Smyth parroting on and saying, "You are land banking, you are holding back land."The reality is that this government has released more land than the previous government did in any one year. The government has released more land and made more individual dwelling units available than they ever did. That is this government's record. For the first time, this government has made sure we have got more land available on the shelf. When their land release program fell over they made no provision for replacement. In contrast, this government is preparing to have a program on the shelf of an additional years supply so that we have a years supply of land available in advance should a parcel of land fall over.
You go out to the industry associations and you ask them what they think of your failure to provide reliability in land supply. The reality is they are scathing of the former Liberal government's capacity, or should I say incapacity, to plan in advance for land supply. This government is the first government in the history of self-government to have a forward planned land release program, and we will be building it so that we will have two or more years worth of land supply planned and available for release in excess of any particular years land release program. That is this government's objective-one which those opposite failed miserably to achieve.
Let me address some other issues in the Rawlinsons report. Changes to the revenue projections are a result of a number of factors, including the requirement that the territory does not need to pay GST on land development activity. That is an important ruling from the Australian Taxation Office, which means that we do not have to charge GST.