Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 30 June 2005) . . Page.. 2569 ..
When the site was sold the plan was for 100,000 square metres of development. Tenders were submitted on that basis and bids were being framed to reflect development potential of that size. Since then the approval has increased to 135,000 square metres and an application is currently being considered for up to 150,000 square metres. To put this in context, this is bigger than the entire Woden town centre. This is now becoming a massive development to the east of the city. We will have a massive development to the west and a massive development to the east. It will be very interesting to see how that all plays out, with a focus on City Hill, and whether that will undermine plans to make City Hill the heart of the city. There was some stuff on job losses but I will come back to that in my second 10 minutes, which I will take later.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.44): Mr Deputy Speaker, it is entertaining in a way to see again some of the preposterous claims that are contained in the ACT budget and the aspirational prose of the minister about all the great things that are going to happen in planning. Lots of pretty pictures come out of planning and land management so I am surprised that the minister would criticise his own document on the city heart for not having enough pretty pictures.
There are some real problems in what happens in planning and land management. I would like to touch first and foremost on what the government anticipates being its increased dividend from the Land Development Agency. The Land Development Agency has been pretty much of a cash cow for the government for the last two or three years. The Treasurer takes $50 million here and various other millions of dollars there out of the Land Development Agency on a fairly regular basis.
However, I am concerned, given the general declining prospects for land sales in the ACT. If you go anywhere and talk to anyone in the private development industry in the ACT, they will tell you that things are on the downturn. If you talk to any real estate agent or just peruse the property pages of the Canberra Times any Saturday you can see that prices are going south—not radically—in Canberra. I am not here to talk down real estate but there has been an adjustment in the market and there is a bit of resistance to entering the market.
At the moment we are looking at a $90 million deficit for the budget next year and if the government is not correct on the dividend that it expects to get from the LDA, that deficit could be bigger. Simply because of the downturn in the market, I am not sanguine about the fact that the government will be able to reap out of the LDA the money it expects.
Mr Seselja spoke about the transport plan. I think there is much to be said in favour of having improved public transport. Although Mr Corbell well knows that I have been an advocate of improved public transport, he sits here saying, “You’ve got no vision” and making other little snipes across the chamber. We have a vision, we have plans for public transport but at the same time this has to be done in a sensible way.
This minister has spent a bucket load of money getting KBR to do a public transport feasibility study. We have all seen it and it is a big fat one. I passed a copy over to you, Mr Deputy Speaker. I think you sort of groaned under the weight and said, “Do I really have to read this?” Yes you do—I hope you have, Mr Deputy Speaker, and I will ask you questions later—because it is a very important document which tells us a great deal about how you should do public transport in the ACT. After he had spent I think $76,000