Page 4439 - Week 12 - Thursday, 26 October 2017

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consistency with the per unit charges which apply to other types of residential lease variations. It is an interesting motion that we see here today. It is a bit of smoke and mirrors from Mr Rattenbury because what we see here is Mr Rattenbury standing up in this chamber, calling on himself as a minister in the Barr Labor government to do something.

This is a motion that was originally put on the notice paper by Ms Le Couteur. It is a Greens motion. It sat on the table for the past few sitting weeks in her name. So it is the Greens having a bite of the cherry twice. The lease variation charge is a tax that has never brought in the amount of money that the government expected it to. The lease variation charge stifles growth in Canberra. This is something that has been brought forward by Mr Rattenbury, as a member of the executive, under executive members’ business but it is actually a Greens motion that was put on the notice paper by Ms Le Couteur. Mr Rattenbury has obviously already discussed this with the executive and already knows that the government is going to support it.

It is this big new LVC tax which proves that the ACT Labor-Greens government is all talk and no action. There has been silence at budget time, at budget estimates, from the Greens about this. This is a tax that will increase the price of housing in the ACT—and it is important that we review the LVC across the board—but it did not need a Greens motion now dressed up as executive members’ business to do that. The government can review the LVC at any time. In fact, you would have thought that the government would have undertaken such a review before making that enormous 300 per cent increase in the LVC on units in the last budget, instead of just apparently randomly and arbitrarily making that increase.

I am a bit gobsmacked. The change, this increase on the unit LVC, encourages people to build and retain; it does not encourage people to build and sell; it does not encourage more land to be put to market. Instead—and I think this is the term used by Ms Le Couteur herself—it encourages the building of McMansions. I think the quote from Ms Le Couteur was in an article in the Canberra Times. Many young people especially will be worse off under this particular change.

The government did not consult relevant stakeholders. We heard this in the estimates process. The government did not consult the Master Builders Association. I guess we should not be surprised at that because apparently the government does not like talking to the Master Builders Association at the best of times, unless they have prior approval from the unions to do so. Obviously either they did not ask the unions for permission to meet the Master Builders Association to talk about it or the unions denied permission to talk about it.

The government did not consult the Property Council either, and that was very clear in the evidence given on community day at budget estimates hearings. The government did not bother speaking with those in the know, those on the ground, those who know how these changes will impact on the sector.

Prior to this change, if a builder bought a house block in a suburb such as Dickson or Turner or any suburb built before 1971 to convert to units, they faced a strata title charge of $7,500 a unit for the first three units and $5,000 a unit after that. This charge is now hiked to $30,000 a unit. By anyone’s measure, any one of us here

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