Page 3864 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015

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MS LAWDER: Minister, what impact will not being able to demolish these 17 public housing properties on Northbourne Avenue have on the ACT government’s asset recycling agreement with the commonwealth?

MR BARR: Potentially some impact, but that will be determined through the market process associated with the sale of those blocks. I think it is important to stress that those particular buildings will not be required to remain untouched and, in fact, can be incorporated into redevelopment and can be refurbished and re-purposed for a variety of different needs. I think there is a perception among some that these things are frozen in time. No, they are not; they can be adaptively reused and that can be part of, and will be part of, the government’s approach to market.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Minister, will the government receive less money from the commonwealth under the asset recycling agreement now that it is not able to demolish those 17 public housing properties on Northbourne Avenue and, if so, will the ACT taxpayer have to top up any shortfall to fund either light rail or its public housing urban renewal program?

MR BARR: I do not believe so but of course the process involved estimated land values at the time we signed the agreement with the commonwealth. So it is quite possible that in fact we will exceed the sale prices as the valuer has most land sales in the territory going well above the valuation benchmark. The most recent sales have been about 20 per cent above what was anticipated. Should that trend continue, then we will in fact significantly exceed our revenue targets in relation to those properties. Time will of course tell how the market responds.

The way the asset recycling initiative works is that a 15 per cent bonus is paid in tranches generally in relation to the process of selling an asset. That was certainly the case in relation to the asset sale associated with the TAB. I caution those opposite: you anticipated the government receiving between $10 million and $30 million for ACTTAB and we got over $100 million for it. The asset recycling initiative bonus was considerably higher and certainly ensures that the government has a considerable buffer in relation to overall asset recycling initiative goals.

Of course the program is still open. So it is open to the territory government to continue to participate in that scheme or, indeed, the other schemes that the new federal Treasurer has put before state and territory treasurers at the most recent meeting a few weeks ago.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Minister, between February 2015 and February 2017 will the ACT’s public housing stock fall below 10,848?

MR BARR: The ACT government’s commitment under the asset recycling initiative is to have an agreed minimum amount of public housing as a result of our

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