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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 September 2015) . . Page.. 3021 ..

will make the new units close to important facilities more affordable and will drive the redevelopment of rundown commercial spaces. We may well see buildings which are currently vacant, buildings which are empty here in the city, retrofitted into viable apartments if the lease variation charge is removed. The lease variation charge is stopping the maximum use of available space. The best way, the most efficient way, to get people into the city once again and to get people living in the town centres is to remove the lease variation charge in these places.

The Chief Minister’s response to the opposition’s announcement shows his government’s arrogance. Mr Barr has been the Treasurer for four years but he still does not understand how the lease variation charge works. He claims that the lease variation charge is not a disincentive for development. Mr Barr is wrong.

Anyone who is aware of what is going on in the construction industry knows that the lease variation charge is discouraging development across the city, especially in the CBD and in the town centres. The Property Council knows that removing the LVC in the city and the town centres is good policy. The executive director said:

In its current form, the LVC distorts investment decisions and impedes the upgrade of empty, redundant C and D Grade commercial offices—contributing to what is now the second highest office vacancy rate in the country … The Property Council always supports good policy—and the Liberal Party’s commitment to relax the LVC in the CBD and town centres is good policy.

That is why the opposition is proud to announce that we will remove the lease variation charge for four years in the city and in the town centres. It will bring vitality to these areas which should be the densest parts of the ACT. In contrast to those opposite who simply want to build on every single transport corridor, we would much rather see large, dense nodes which are connected by high frequency public transport rather than scatter high density projects up and down the corridors, which does in fact slow down those corridors rather than the opposite.

Urban renewal is essential to the continued viability and vitality of the town centres and the city. I call on the government to join the Canberra Liberals in supporting our town centres by removing the lease variation charge in Civic, Tuggeranong, Woden, Belconnen and Gungahlin town centres.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (3.56): Urban renewal has been a priority of my government since day one, and our commitment to urban renewal is a commitment to strengthening our economy, continuing to improve the livability of our city, building on the character of our communities and delivering sustainable development outcomes. Urban renewal is good for our suburbs and it is essential for our town centres and the CBD. It is good for our community.

In the end, urban renewal is about people and it is about jobs; it is about where we live, our homes and our happiness. With urban renewal we will activate and reinvigorate our city and town centres and make Canberra an even better place to live, to work and to visit. In doing this, we will create vibrant and bustling areas of economic and

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