Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 26 June 2008) . . Page.. 2112 ..
In relation to the LDA, it is worth making the point that there seems to have been some improvement in some of their spending decisions. I have certainly been critical in the past of the LDA’s spending on advertising and marketing on things that are simply branding exercises. We do not want to see branding for the sake of it. In fact, we have been told in the past by the LDA that they would not spend money on simply branding and that they would spend less money on advertising their products. There seems to have been less of that in this budget, and we certainly welcome that. There seems to be less of the kind of individual cost blow-outs that I have certainly highlighted in this place in the past few years. On that score there are some improvements, but I am sure that there are significant further improvements that could be made in terms of the LDA.
We often hear, particularly from the planning minister, comments about our budget speeches and how we never call for restraint and are always calling for more spending. Every year when I have raised these issues I have identified specific spending measures on the part of the LDA which I see as being particularly wasteful and which do not bring a return to the territory. We know the Land Development Agency has a monopoly on land supply, and it used to have a monopoly on residential land development. Of course, it is still by far the largest player and it very much controls the terms of the market. Therefore, the idea of branding and the idea of spending lots of money on advertising the LDA’s products I think is a false economy. It is money that is thrown away because people really do not have any options as to where they go.
It is not like there are many different places that young Canberrans can go to to get land. Under this government, the LDA will continue to be the largest land developer by far. In fact, there may even be a prospect of it going back to a monopoly situation. That has been contemplated, it would seem, in previous answers from the Chief Minister where he said that en globo releases were something that would be trialled and that the government would see how they worked.
We do believe in genuine competition in the market; we do believe that that is a good way of bringing a diversity of product to the market and of keeping downward pressure on prices, particularly building costs. We believe in genuine competition in the market rather than one or two big players, as has been the case in the past few years. I certainly would say that the LDA is doing better than it has done in the last couple of years in terms of some of its spending decisions.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.33): A chief minister’s department has responsibility for whole-of-government policy development. But there is no energy policy, despite the promises the government made when putting together its climate change strategy. Interestingly, having published Weathering the Change, CMD seems to have no responsibility or no priority now of ensuring the territory addresses the challenge of climate change. This seems to have been relegated to a bunch of programs in TAMS. I do not mean to deride those people working in TAMS but I am astonished that there is no formal whole-of-government priority in moving the territory further on an issue which the Chief Minister continually describes as probably the most important problem that we face.
Towns and cities all around the world are putting together energy plans that will dramatically cut their greenhouse emissions but there is no such initiative in this