Auditor-General’s report on rural land buy highlights need for ACT Integrity Commission

Auditor General Maxine Cooper’s report on Assembly of Rural Land West of Canberra exposes serious failures of integrity by the now disbanded Land Development Agency, highlighting the need for the Integrity Commission secured by the ACT Greens in the current Parliamentary Agreement.

“I have been asking the tough questions on these land purchases for well over a year and this report confirms the LDA did not have a clear plan for why they were buying the land, failed to follow their own land acquisition policies, failed to seek legal advice and bought land for millions more than it was initially valued at,” said Greens planning and development spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur MLA.

“The ACT Greens have already called for the former LDA’s land dealings to be referred to the new ACT Integrity Commission when it starts operating next year and this report sets out exactly why.

“The LDA had clearly developed a ‘cowboy culture’, which is why the Greens voted for it to be abolished.

“The ACT Government’s land development arm should not have been running a secret development agenda without approval from Government or the community.

“The report says that the purchases were inconsistent with Government planning policies and indeed with decisions that Cabinet had made.

“These purchases were not supported by Government planning policies and there was no community consultation. That’s unacceptable.

“Sprawling Canberra from Weston Creek to the Cotter and from Holt to Kambah is a huge decision for our city’s future – these are the kinds of decisions that should be made by the community.”