Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 26 October 2017) . . Page.. 4437 ..
One other opportunity for remissions worth looking at and specifically mentioned in the motion is affordable housing. The review will consider how lease variation charges and remissions could be better aligned to meet the government’s housing affordability policies and objectives. We have a great opportunity to line up the charges and remissions with the outcomes of the government’s current work on a new affordable housing strategy. This could see the development industry provided with incentives to deliver substantial quantities of affordable housing.
I would like to finish by highlighting something that this motion is not about. It is not about scrapping the lease variation charge. The Greens clearly support the principle of the lease variation charge that, where a developer receives an increase in value of land from the single act of lease variation, the community should share in those benefits. That is what the LVC does. It captures some of the return for community development. We are absolutely committed to that principle, as we have stated over a number of years. We know that the Canberra Liberals would prefer to scrap the LVC. Nonetheless, I commend this motion to the Assembly and urge all members to support it.
The strength of this motion is that it delivers three key things. It delivers the potential to substantially streamline the lease variation charge system. It delivers the potential to align the lease variation charge with the government’s housing affordability work, with benefit for the whole community, and it delivers a process conducted in close consultation with the community, industry groups and other stakeholders.
We believe that this is a positive approach that seeks to follow a very important principle that sits behind the lease variation charge: that the government should derive revenue for the benefit of the whole community from these gains in value but look for constant improvement in that scheme to achieve a number of objectives that I have outlined today. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (11.21): I thank Mr Rattenbury for bringing the motion forward today. The lease variation charge has a very simple premise: that the Canberra community should share in the gains of development. When a developer buys a block of land and receives permission to vary the lease on it to add more residences or add greater commercial facilities, the Canberra community should share some of the resulting increase in value. By capturing some of the unearned windfall gains from a lease variation, the government is better able to fund the increase in services and infrastructure that goes along with the new developments in order to fundamentally protect our city’s livability.
As Mr Rattenbury has indicated, there are a number of different LVC schedules dealing with the assessment of the charge for different types of development. The change announced by the government in the 2017 budget updated the schedule 1 charges associated with varying a lease to specify the number of dwellings allowed on a block, which is necessary for unit titling in the case of townhouse and apartment developments. The previous fees were based on the administrative cost of processing schedule 1 lease variation applications. They did not reflect the actual value uplift that