Page 3066 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 16 September 2015
The Liberal Party position is that 100 per cent of the windfall gain should go to the developer; the government’s position is that it should be shared. The fact that the Liberal Party now believes the community deserves none of the lease variation charge revenue, that none of the windfall gain should be shared, demonstrates where their priorities lie—not with the community at all, not with urban improvement, not with outcomes for each suburb in this city, not with outcomes for suburban and urban improvement. With the lease variation charge cut to zero, all of the unearned windfall gain will go to the developer.
That is not fair; it is a bad policy outcome and it should be opposed. That is why the amendment I have moved today calls on the government to continue to ensure that a portion of windfall gains from changes to leases are retained for the community’s benefit. Yes, this is a threshold issue. We will stand strongly in support of some of the windfall gains, the unearned gains that come from a lease variation, being shared with the community. I am very happy to go to an election on that policy difference. Bring it on!
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.37): As we anticipated yesterday, we are having a more detailed discussion about the lease variation charge. When I spoke yesterday afternoon I said that the Greens support mechanisms for developer contributions such as the lease variation charge. We have always supported the principle of the LVC, and we have negotiated special remissions that were to be created as instruments for the Planning and Development Act. I will come back to those in a moment, because there are specific policy objectives there.
The very principle of the LVC is quite an important one. The Greens believe that it is appropriate that when a significant financial gain is made from a change in a lease purpose clause the community derives some benefit from that. That is a principle we have stood by in this debate about the lease variation charge. We consider it appropriate that when there is a substantial change in the value of a property because something different can be done with it and the value goes up, the benefit should be shared. The community should derive some of that benefit.
Of course, the person who takes the risks on the project should also get some of that benefit. I have no dispute with that. They are entitled to make a reasonable return. But we need to make sure that where there is a change in value and a new value created, the community gets a share of it. There are consequences for these changes and if a change is going to impact on the community then there should be a sharing of the benefits.
As I said, the Greens canvassed a range of special remissions that had a policy purpose and, I guess, recognised that certain outcomes deliver community benefit. Our rationale is that if that community benefit is coming by another means then that is reflected in the benefit that is put forward. For example, some of the specific remissions are related to social housing and the provision of child care. With environmental remediation—for example, a former petrol station site where there is obviously a cost to cleaning up the site and it is a community benefit to have that site remediated—it as appropriate to consider a remission on the lease variation charge.