Page 5123 - Week 13 - Thursday, 29 November 2018

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MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (4.07), in reply: This bill will be named the City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Act 2017 to ensure that assets, contracts, and liabilities of the former land development agency are correctly allocated to either the City Renewal Authority or the Suburban Land Agency.

When the former land development agency, the LDA, ceased operations on the 30 June 2017 the majority of its assets, contracts, and liabilities were transferred to the authority or the agency by notifiable instruments under division 9.6 of the Financial Management Act 1996, the FMA. This transfer was consistent with and reflected the responsibilities endowed upon the new land entities under the establishing legislation.

What transpired after 30 June, however, was that the former LDA’s assets, contracts, and liabilities not expressly listed in the division 9.6 FMA instruments automatically transferred to the territory, represented by the Environment, Planning, and Sustainable Development Directorate under division 9.7 of the FMA.

This outcome was the unintended consequence of the FMA’s operation in what were novel circumstances for the territory. We have never before abolished a statutory authority and in doing so simultaneously created two new entities to carry on its functions and responsibilities within the newly defined roles and boundaries.

In practical terms the FMA instruments required preparation and notification via the ACT legislation register prior to the abolishment of the LDA. The LDA, however, rightly continued to operate until 30 June 2017, and hence further commitments and liabilities arose during this period. It was simply not possible for these commitments or liabilities to be captured within the FMA process.

Since the transfers occurred on 30 June 2017 the authority and agency have identified a number of assets, contracts, and liabilities that should have been transferred to one of the new entities through the instruments noted above. The bill ensures these assets, contracts, and liabilities are correctly transferred to either the City Renewal Authority or the Suburban Land Agency consistent with the statutory responsibilities.

In addition from 1 July 2017 the territory unintentionally became legally responsible for liabilities arising under executed LDA contracts, for example, sales of land, settled or civil works contracts completed before 1 July 2017 but for which the full statutory period of limitation was not concluded. The bill ensures that these liabilities also rest with the relevant land entity and reflect the government’s intention in passing the City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Act.

In preparing the proposed legislation the directorate sought to balance the need for transparency, certainty, and legal clarity with the impost of introducing amending legislation. The bill ensures that the government does not go beyond the scope of the transitional powers in the City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Act 2017. The option we have pursued to rectify this through an amendment bill is the most comprehensive and transparent solution.

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