Page 4436 - Week 12 - Thursday, 26 October 2017

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Property Council in particular is also seeking a broader overhaul of the lease variation charge system to allow it to be simplified.

Having given that background, I turn to the substance of the motion. Housing affordability and urban renewal are both issues that are important to the Greens. As a result my colleague Ms Le Couteur has worked closely with both industry groups and the Chief Minister’s office to reach a potential solution. This motion would deliver the solution that Ms Le Couteur has negotiated.

The motion will bring forward the government’s proposed review but, critically, will expand it into a broader review. The review will cover the lease variation charges and remissions that apply to all residential and mixed use development. This is important because over the years the system has become extremely complicated. There are now effectively three different systems operating in parallel, and charges are different for identical developments in slightly different circumstances.

I will illustrate this complexity with two examples. First, take two identical developments across the road from each other in an older part of Canberra. They both have a crown lease which is limited to the wording “for residential purposes only”. However, one is in a residential zone while the other is in a mixed use zone. The development in the residential zone will be charged $30,000 per dwelling. The development in the mixed use zone will be charged based on before and after valuations. The charge could be much lower or much higher on a per unit basis. The difference could be tens of thousands of dollars per dwelling.

Take a second example with two identical developments across the road from each other. In this case, instead of being in different zones, they have crown leases with slightly different wording. One is “for residential purposes only” and the other specifies that a maximum of one dwelling is permitted. This is a minor wording difference but has a substantial impact on the charges. Again, one will be charged 30,000 per dwelling. The other will pay a charge based on the suburb and how many dwellings have been added. This charge can range from $180,000 per dwelling down to $25,000 per dwelling. There is clearly a lot of room to improve the consistency and efficiency of the system without impacting on the overall revenue raised.

Moving on to other parts of the motion, the government’s current commitment is to an internal review. This motion requires the review to be conducted in close consultation with the community, industry groups and other stakeholders. This is an approach that the Greens prefer generally and is also something that the industry groups are very keen to see in this case.

Even though the recent change did not alter the remissions available, I have included them in the motion. The Greens have worked on the remissions with government over many years, because they have great potential to provide incentives for developments that have wider community benefit. We have previously been successful in introducing a remission for developments with a community purpose such as child care, and also a remission for developments with better environmental design.

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