Page 3358 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013
MADAM SPEAKER: Preamble, Mr Smyth.
MR SMYTH: Minister, what evidence has the government of commercial land banking in the ACT?
MR CORBELL: There are a number of instances around the city centre where we see commercial land that has been purchased from the government not being developed. Those sites are well known. For example, there is a very large site off London Circuit adjacent to Edinburgh Avenue.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.
MR COE: Minister, given that you said land banking is taking place, what impact are the commence and complete fines having?
MR CORBELL: Commence and complete fees are having an impact in encouraging developers to develop their land in a timely manner. The government receives many complaints from members of the community who are concerned about undeveloped land. Indeed, we have, of course, had a number of instances where members of the opposition have raised concerns about undeveloped residential land in Gungahlin. Mrs Jones has been one of those members. The existence of commence and complete fees acts as a spur to those property owners to realise that they need to develop their land. It is not fair for everyone else in the suburb to do the hard work financially and physically of developing land in a new suburb only to have a block opposite sit vacant because the person, for whatever reason, is not willing to develop their site. It has an impact on the rest of the neighbourhood amenity in those new suburbs, and it is the subject of regular complaint to the government.
The provision of commence and complete fees in those circumstances acts as an incentive by signalling that there is a financial disadvantage to a leaseholder if they fail to complete or commence development on their land in the time frames set out in their lease.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Coe.
MR COE: Minister, when the Treasurer made his comments last year, was he speaking on behalf of the government or was he simply wrong?
Mr Corbell: I do not know whether I can answer a question for the Treasurer.
MR BARR: I will answer the question, Madam Speaker.
MADAM SPEAKER: Okay.
MR BARR: I was at that particular event and made a commitment in relation to changes to commence and complete fees that was enacted.