Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 November 2017) . . Page.. 5178 ..
Remember that it was only a few months ago that we were having similar discussions with Icon Water about similar charges that they were seeking to introduce almost overnight, with very little consultation, very little transition.
So we are not learning our lessons; we are not learning from previous mistakes about lack of consultation. This government is getting a name for itself as the government that does not consult, the government that is arrogant and believes that it knows better than those who are actually working in the sector. Because of this arrogance, the government have already had to backtrack on this change, making conditional arrangements for the next six months and then having the review in 18 months time. Had the government done its job on consultation from the start, there would not have been any need to backtrack.
Good policy happens when the government consults appropriately and genuinely with those in the sector. This motion to disallow is the last-ditch effort to save housing affordability in this sector. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (6.18): The Greens will not be supporting the disallowance motion, although clearly I support many of the points Ms Lawder made. I am very flattered that she quoted me so extensively.
The Greens have always supported the lease variation charge as an equitable way of raising revenue. It is quite reasonable that the community as a whole, in the guise of the government, should tax the windfall gain that landowners make when the purposes that their lease can be used for change. I think that that should be an accepted and reasonable thing to do. It is one of the advantages, I suspect, of our having a leasehold system that we are able to do this.
But, in saying that the lease variation charge is a quite reasonable tax, I do not mean that we agree with everything that has happened with that charge. I have to agree with Ms Lawder that a 300 per cent increase without any consultation is not the way to go.
MS LE COUTEUR: As the interruptions have said, “Consult.” That is entirely what we think and that is why a motion was moved by my colleague Mr Rattenbury—I only get four motions a year—on this exact subject. That is why we moved the motion for a full review of the lease variation charge on residential development.
There should have been better consultation. I should not say better consultation; there should have been consultation in the first place. There should have been a phase-in process. I am pleased that the government introduced transitional arrangements. That is one of the reasons why so many applications were brought forward this year.
Ms Lawder is correct: I stand by my comments that the changes as originally announced by the government are likely to increase “redevelop, knock down, rebuild as McMansions”. We know from studies everywhere that this is not what the people of Canberra are looking for. Some of them are, clearly, but a lot of the people of