Page 3065 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 22 August 2017

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Lands Acquisition Amendment Bill 2017

Debate resumed from 8 June 2017, on motion by Mr Gentleman:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (11.00): The Lands Acquisition Act provides for compensation to be paid following the compulsory acquisition of an interest in land. This is consistent with section 23(1)(a) of the self-government act, to the effect that the Legislative Assembly has no powers to make laws with respect to the acquisition of property otherwise than on just terms.

Currently, the procedures for effecting a payment of compensation are triggered by the interest holder making a claim under section 56 of the act, but if the interest holder does not make a claim, no payment of compensation occurs. Currently, there is no time limit on the making of a claim by the landholder, landowner or other interest holders. This is contrary to the need for timely payment of compensation to the holder of the relevant interest in land—the interest holder—and contrary to the efficient administration of territory finances and of the Lands Acquisition Act.

This bill amends the act to provide that if a person whose interest in land is acquired—the interest holder—and the interest holder does not make a claim for compensation within three years of an acquisition, the executive has the option of making an offer of compensation. Once the executive makes the offer, a claim for compensation will no longer be able to be made under section 56 of the act.

This amendment provides the executive with a mechanism to effectively put a time limit on the making of a potential claim, should it wish to do so. At the same time this does not diminish the rights of the interest holder to receive adequate compensation. The government has had to make this amendment due to, for example, issues surrounding the 2015 acquisition of the Dickson bus interchange land. The bus station at Dickson will act as a transfer station for passengers between light rail and bus services when the Dickson light rail interchange opens.

The government is unable to finalise the costs of the project due to the fact that there has been no claim for compensation. In a briefing, government representatives assured me that while it has been three years since the government acquired this land, they will not make an offer to the interest holder for another three years so that these changes are not retrospective. It appears that this is a common-sense bill, and the Canberra Liberals are happy to support the changes to the act today.

MS ORR (Yerrabi) (11.03): I thank members for their contributions and support for the Lands Acquisition Amendment Bill 2017. I would like to make some comments about the underlying principles of land acquisition and their relationship with this bill. After all, any amendments to the act must be consistent with the standing requirement that any compulsory acquisition of property be done on just terms. I would also like to talk about the application of existing review mechanisms to the measures in this bill, transitional arrangements, including a proposed government amendment, and other matters.

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