Page 1486 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.45): I rise today to speak about the City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Bill 2017. The bill is designed to split up the roles of the Land Development Agency. The City Renewal Authority will be in charge of revitalising present areas of Canberra that the Chief Minister deems worthy of revitalisation.

A month out from the 2016 election, the government announced that it would divide the work of the LDA between two ACT public sector delivery entities, one focusing on leading and facilitating the redevelopment of Civic and the Northbourne Avenue corridor, called the City Renewal Authority, and the other dedicated to developing new suburbs, the Suburban Land Agency.

The government made this announcement after many issues had arisen from the LDA, such as the Glebe Park deal and the CFMEU/Tradies Club. There was a lot of media coverage about the LDA not acting transparently; about them not following their own procedures, not going to the board for approvals and with payments for land that went well beyond the valued amount; and about manipulated valuation advice. We saw an Auditor-General’s report into the practice of the LDA which begins with:

Transparency, accountability and rigour have been lacking in the processes used by the Land Development Agency.

What we see now is the government using this split-up as an opportunity to make it seem as though they are trying to resolve the issues surrounding the LDA. However, the bill we are debating here today will not do that. The LDA is an agency that has grown beyond its original mandate. I hesitate to use the word “bloated”, because it is quite an ugly word, but that is exactly the word that has been used by other people to describe it to me. They say it has strayed into the activities of the private sector, well beyond its remit. This bill sees the LDA split up into two organisations, the City Renewal Agency and the Suburban Land Authority.

The City Renewal Agency will be responsible for leading and managing urban renewal works in declared urban renewal precincts. The first precinct to be declared will encompass Civic, the Northbourne Avenue corridor and West Basin. The City Renewal Agency will be responsible, within declared urban renewal precincts, for facilitating significant development projects, including related land acquisitions and sales; collaborating with the National Capital Authority and the Planning and Land Authority about precinct planning and design standards; undertaking work on sequencing and site selection for particular classes of development identified by the government for inclusion in an urban renewal precinct; conducting design competitions; engaging with potential investors and developers at a national and international as well as local level; conducting community engagement processes; coordinating with other ACT public sector bodies, including directorates; undertaking site preparation and infrastructure works; and undertaking public realm improvements and place activation activities.

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