Page 2795 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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is better informed. At present nobody is well served, whether it be the developers, the builders or neighbours and community groups. Nobody can comprehend this system.

I also feel sorry for the assessors at ACTPLA because they have their work cut out for them when it comes to any development application they have before them. It must be so difficult to assess a DA given the cumbersome rules everybody has to try and comply with. It is no wonder there are so many opportunities to go to ACAT when there are so many rules making it plausible to make a mistake when assessing them.

The government is determined to build its light rail, and in doing so there is no regard for any planning restrictions that get in the way. The government has passed legislation to remove scrutiny. It has refused to listen to community concerns and is determined to build light rail whatever it takes. We have already seen several pieces of legislation and other instruments come into play. That is all about steamrolling this process until completion—steamrolling the community until this project is complete.

I have already spoken about the problems with the government’s land release strategy when discussing the LDA. However, let me remind members of the issues that I raised. The government’s land release simply does not match community demand. The location and size of blocks are often unreasonable and do not meet the demand for family homes. Of course, the price point is often out of reach for Canberra families, and it is a shame that our land release policies are driving people across the border. Our policies are driving people to Googong and Tralee because the Queanbeyan City Council have seen a market. They are simply supplying the market and the demand is picking it up.

Another significant problem in the planning space is the excessive and counterintuitive fees and charges this government imposes. The lease variation charge is a counterintuitive and unfair tax and simply does not comply with its supposed wish to have high density. If the government is serious about increased density in the city and town centres it should rethink the lease variation charge. Last year the estimates committee made a recommendation about reviewing the application of the lease variation charge to achieve a target of 50 per cent greenfield and 50 percent urban renewal development. The government refused to review the application of the lease variation charge even though there is a clear case of the tax working against the government’s published densification objectives. If the government really wants to encourage densification in the city and town centres, a change to the lease variation charge is an obvious step. (Second speaking period taken.)

The government should also reconsider the extension of time fees as part of its strategy to increase housing affordability. The extension of time fees are supposed to stop people land banking. However, the vast majority of people who are caught by the fees are not holding on to land to try to make a profit but simply because there is not demand for that product at the time. They are people who bought land with the intention of building on it and have since discovered that there is no demand for office or commercial space. They are also people who have bought land with the intention of building a family home but, due to circumstances beyond their control, have been unable to start building. These people are paying rates, fees and charges and often mortgages on these blocks and are not getting anything in return. They are not land

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