Page 2902 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 13 August 2013
undertake is to get its procurement working properly so that it does not put business to great expense, award the status of preferred tenderer, and then cancel tenders.
It does come back to attitude. I hope the government’s attitude towards business improves. We get lots of talk and lots of waffle. I was there in the room, for instance, when the Treasurer said that he would get rid of commence and complete charges for the property sector. There was a great round of applause. They are still waiting, and I suspect they will be waiting for a very long time. Either the minister got rolled in cabinet or he did not have permission to make that statement in the first place. We certainly have not seen that carried through. That is the sort of treatment that the business community hates.
The government has much to do in the realm of economic development. There is much potential there. There is much opportunity. It is about time that we got on with developing the other side of Canberra. The public service is a great boon to the ACT economy. The employment there is welcomed, I am sure, by all. But there is the potential to develop the other side of the city, the private sector—not to the detriment of the public sector, but in concert with the public sector, to make sure that we all reap the benefits that I know are there.
MR COE (Ginninderra) (5.06): The Land Development Agency is responsible for the vast majority of land released in the ACT. However, once again, the LDA has failed to reach its target for land release, falling short by about 300 blocks in 2012-13. What is more, it appears those 300 potential blocks will not be rolled over into 2013-14. Instead, we will see fewer blocks come online in this budget period. When you have fewer blocks and fewer opportunities and, what is more, uncertainty in this space, that is when you get price escalation, which is exactly what Canberra households and Canberra investors and Canberra families have seen over the last 11 or 12 years.
The estimates committee recommended that the LDA provide more detailed information about the number of blocks available for release and the types of dwellings it plans to release. It is disappointing the government has not agreed to these recommendations. I think it is quite reasonable to know how many blocks the ACT government will release in RZ1 or how many blocks it intends to release for higher density purposes. These are the sorts of things industry would find very interesting, and it is also the kind of information that would help bring some certainty and ensure that predicting land availability in the future would be far more accurate.
Of course, the LDA has responsibility for implementing part of variation 306 to the territory plan. As we know, the MBA, the HIA, the Institute of Landscape Architects, the Institute of Architects, the Property Council and others raised various serious concerns about variation 306, and the opposition are proud of the stance we took in this place in seeking to have that variation disallowed.
But when we raised this in the estimates committee, it is interesting that a senior official from the LDA labelled the concerns of the industry as hysteria, and the minister refused to contradict this slur. In effect, the minister endorsed the slur that all the community groups and representative bodies that spoke out against variation 306 were, in fact, being hysterical.