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|Dr BURNS (Business): Madam Speaker, I welcome the students from Wagaman Primary School today. It is great to see you here and enjoying the parliament.|
Madam Speaker, I move that the bill be now read a second time.
In 2003, this government created the Land Development Corporation as a commercially oriented land agency, with the primary aim of providing strategic industrial land associated with the port, rail, oil and gas industry. The success of the organisation in delivering appropriate land for industry is evidenced by the volume of large scale development occurring at the Darwin Business Park and surrounding areas. Today, we see an impressive array of businesses operating, and new businesses becoming established at the Business Park, with the total value of development already exceeding $200m.
The Land Development Corporation currently owns and manages over 100 hectares of strategic industrial land at the Business Park, and administers another 208 hectares of Crown land at East Arm, with an unimproved capital value in excess of $120m.
The current year’s capital works program for the corporation exceeds $20m, which will deliver nearly 20 large parcels of industrial land in the next stage of the Darwin Business Park. It will also deliver services to the common user area near the Darwin Port Corporation gates at East Arm. These developments, as well as others planned, do provide support for major industrial activities, and cement the role of the Land Development Corporation as a central player in the strategic growth of Darwin as an industrial hub.
Building on the success of the Land Development Corporation as the land developer, and as part of the Chief Minister’s recently announced measures to address the critical shortage of accommodation in Darwin, the Northern Territory government has decided to expand the role of the Land Development Corporation to undertake the development of residential land and affordable housing projects in urban areas. It is no secret that the accommodation situation in Darwin, like other cities in Australia, has reached a critical stage where business and government workers are having difficulty in finding appropriate affordable accommodation.
Every other state and territory has a land development agency which is tasked with delivering residential land and, more recently, with the delivery of affordable housing. All the land agencies are not only commercially oriented operations paying dividends back to government, but are also providers of solutions and innovations in the delivery of land estates and housing. Most of the interstate agencies also deliver a full array of government land requirements such as subdivisions, land sales, leases and licences, over a wide range of residential and commercial accommodation, as well as community facilities and infrastructure in whole urban precincts.
For example, in Western Australia, the Land Corp has developed many residential estates, providing the full spectrum of housing developments. Some of these include shopping precincts, transport hubs, and are often undertaken in joint ventures or partnerships with private entities. Notably, the Land Development Corporation has a strong focus on delivering large scale industrial land, as well as residential solutions for key workers in the fast developing areas of the north-west.
The South Australian Land Management Corporation delivers all government land estates and owns the state land bank around Adelaide and has a focus on delivery of affordable housing. The New South Wales Land Com and the Queensland Urban Land Development Authority both develop whole urban precincts. The New South Wales Land Com’s design guideline for buildings and streetscapes is currently being reviewed by the Northern Territory Land Development Corporation to develop a set of standards for its landscaping and street designs.
The interstate land development agencies are also increasingly focussed on providing sustainable development solutions. As a result, there are continuing innovations in water sensitivity and environmental design of developments being delivered. A range of sites are being developed around the country by these agencies, and if members visit Adelaide, they should take time to see Lochiel Park, Mawson Lakes and New Port Adelaide to appreciate the innovations in new environmental and sensitive design, and redevelopment of past industrialised areas.
Likewise, developments by VicUrban have made it a leader in developing housing solutions with the environment, transport and technology at the forefront of its new residential developments. It has recently undertaken a six-star environment development called Aurora at Epping North, with rear loading housing lots providing aesthetic streetscapes and pedestrian safe areas for families.
The Australian Capital Territory, or ACT, is a jurisdiction most close in size and rate of growth to the Northern Territory. Members might be interested to know that the ACT Land Development Agency is responsible for a significant proportion of that Territory’s revenue, with returns to the ACT of just over $390m last year. Unlike other states and the Northern Territory, the ACT land agency does not have the option of dealing in freehold land but has developed a number of lease options for developers including an innovative affordable housing program called OwnPlace. OwnPlace not only delivers the land and financial arrangement, but the completed house with carpet and curtains installed.
The Northern Territory’s Land Development Corporation has developed a close working relationship with all the other jurisdictions and is fortunate to have a board of highly qualified people experienced in delivering residential and industrial estates.
The board consists of Mr Steve Margetic, Managing Director of Sitzler, the Chair, Ms Margaret Michaels from Clayton Utz, the Deputy Chair. Other board members are Mr Philip Duval, Director of Reality Solutions Australia, in Adelaide, Mr Marek Petrovs, director of several companies and the founder of the annual interstate government land agency forum, and the Chief Executive of the Department of Business and Employment.
This combination of networks and experience means our Land Development Corporation is well placed to take on the expanded role in delivering residential solutions for Territorians. With its highly experienced board and strong interstate connections, the Northern Territory is well placed to take the best of residential models developed interstate and apply them here. The current functions and powers of the Land Development Corporation restrict the Corporation to dealing not only in industrial land. In order for the Land Development Corporation to take on residential development, its power and functions need to be broadened.
In light of this, I announce today the Land Development Corporation Amendment Bill 2009. The bill aims to expand the role of the Land Development Corporation and the amendments required to do this are not substantial. The changes are intended to ensure the Land Development Corporation can avail itself of the commercial development opportunities experienced in other jurisdictions, and best serve the Northern Territory’s residential and industrial requirements.
Apart from the obvious inclusion of the residential description, the amendments provide for development of facilities associated with the amenity of urban development, the ability to enter into joint ventures and partnerships, as well as being able to borrow or raise money. In order to achieve this, it is proposed to repeal section 6 of the existing act, and replace it with the new section 6, specifically allowing the Land Development Corporation to engage in development, management and promotion of land for residential and/or industrial business.
This section will also allow the corporation to provide services, facilities and general assistance in relation to commercial, recreational activities, heritage and environmental conservation activities. Examples of developments might include multi-level residential development with offices or shops at the ground level, or precincts with child care or community facilities such as a swimming pool.
The intent is to allow the Land Development Corporation to engage in its primary development areas and to provide appropriately mixed development.
Madam Speaker, I might pause there as it is 11 am.
Madam SPEAKER: Yes, minister, I ask you to resume your seat. We will, as previously advised, call the Leader of the Opposition on the Appropriation Bill.
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