Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 February 2018) . . Page.. 108 ..
email. In December there was an invitation to information sessions. In December again, an information session was held. On 20 December a project update email was sent. On 5 January there was a project update email. On 8 January another project update email was sent. On 25 January this year there was a project update email. On 7 February this year there was a presentation to the Woden Valley Community Council.
It is important that these matters are noted in Hansard, Madam Speaker. I think that the engagement from the directorate in the O’Malley area has been quite fulsome. We will certainly be responding to the petition.
Lands Acquisition (Reporting Requirements) Amendment Bill 2018
Mr Coe, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (10.14): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
I am pleased to bring forward the second integrity measure that I foreshadowed last year. The purpose of this bill is to improve integrity in land acquisitions. This integrity measure that I am bringing forward today is necessary because of the repeated failings of this Labor-Greens government to address issues surrounding land acquisitions made by territory entities. The Auditor-General, in her 2016 report into certain Land Development Agency acquisitions, highlighted that acquisitions had been “undertaken without adequate transparency, accountability and rigour”. Since the release of this audit, the Auditor-General has undertaken investigations into the purchases of rural land leases and sweetheart land deals between the Labor government and fellow travellers. Canberrans are very familiar with these issues, and it is clear that action is required.
There is substantial public interest in implementing effective mechanisms to ensure that land acquisitions are undertaken with due diligence. It is also reasonable to expect that the information relied upon when making these acquisitions is available for public scrutiny and debate. This bill aims to bring the requisite transparency, accountability and rigour to all land acquisitions made by a territory entity. This is achieved through requiring quarterly reports to be presented to the Assembly, as well as the public accounts committee for additional probity. This two-tier level of scrutiny seeks to eliminate the opaqueness surrounding land acquisitions and ensures that the necessary protocols are followed.
The Lands Acquisition Act is the key piece of legislation that governs land acquisitions by the ACT government. The process for acquisitions by agreement and compulsory acquisitions triggers certain notification procedures. However, a number of acquisitions undertaken by the territory fall within the exception found in section 18(1)(d) that allows for acquisitions to be effected without pre-acquisition