Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 6 March 2008) . . Page.. 680 ..
would be on Burdekin Street; and the schools, both the Amaroo school and the non-government school which is beside it, would be further away.
These are the circumstances under which people bought land in that area. Then, for a variety of reasons, some of which were quite good and quite sound, the locations of the schools and the playing fields were essentially swapped, which caused a huge amount of anxiety in the suburbs. The then shadow minister for planning, Mr Corbell, created a huge amount of mileage out of this as a planning issue. I think it was a cautionary tale. There was not final sign-up on defined land and people did not have the certainty.
I raised this matter with the officials the other day and I have not yet had a satisfactory explanation as to how the situation that currently exists will be any better than the situation that the people experienced in Amaroo back in 2000-01. It is a matter that needs to be watched. As Mr Seselja said, if there are problems where people are suddenly finding facilities being moved around the suburbs when they expect them to be in a particular place, thereby affecting their choices for housing in particular areas, it will cause us problems and will have to be revisited.
The other area about which I am concerned—and I have been concerned ever since the Minister for Planning Mr Corbell moved amendments to section 180 of the land act back in about 2003—is the issue about completing on time and on-selling land if people do not complete on time or do not have the capacity to build on land that they have previously purchased. Mr Seselja raised this in the substantive debate on the main bill last year. It is still an issue.
I am concerned that, with the current arrangement with direct sale of land over the counter for single parcels of land, if someone buys the land and then for some reason cannot complete within the two years and seeks an extension, they now run the risk of paying quite substantial fees to address that. My recollection from the briefing is that it is five times the annual land rate, which could be a substantial amount of money.
There are provisions, I was told, or there is the capacity to waive that in the case of hardship but it is not actually in the legislation. It does not appear to be in the regulations what the criteria might be. There was a fair amount of value judgement in the previous debate about what was real hardship and what was self-imposed hardship, dare we say. If someone was in dire straits because they lost their job, that would be considered hardship. But if they had put some money on a horse and lost it, that would not be considered hardship. I think that there are some issues there that need to be addressed.
Overall, this is a change that is necessary and overdue. There is much in it that we will only know whether it works two or three years after it actually hits the ground. I think that, as an assembly and as successive assemblies, we need to watch this legislation very closely and be prepared to come back and revise it as necessary.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (6.45), in reply: I thank members for their contribution to the debate and for their support for