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State Growth - Crown Land Sales

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Tags: Crown Land, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - I want to talk about the announced sale of what minister Petrusma called 'excess Crown land'. As we know, some four or five years ago the Office of the Coordinator-General requested from the Crown Land Services the document that detailed how much Crown land there is in Tasmania, and how much might be available for sale or privatisation. What's the role of the Office of the Coordinator-General in the Crown land sales program?

Mr JAENSCH - I am advised there is no involvement in that process.

Ms O'CONNOR - So, there have been no approaches to the Coordinator-General about the potential purchase or long-term lease of any parcels of Crown land?

Mr JAENSCH - That's a different question.

Ms O'CONNOR - It is a different question.

Mr JAENSCH - You are referring, firstly, to a Crown land disposal process, and also whether the Coordinator-General has been approached about leasing a parcel of Crown land. Is that right?

Ms O'CONNOR - Leasing or buying. They are different questions, that's right.

Mr JAENSCH - I don't want them to be joined one into the other.

Ms O'CONNOR - That's a matter for you.

Mr JAENSCH - Exactly. Can you be more specific with your question? That would help us. We have a lot of discussions about people wanting access to Crown land.

Ms O'CONNOR - To repeat the same question, has the Coordinator-General been approached by any developer about the potential long-term lease or purchase of Crown lands in the past year, if you want it to be temporally specific?

Mr JAENSCH - I wouldn't be surprised if there were dozens of people seeking that.

Ms O'CONNOR - It's in the public interest that we know.

Mr JAENSCH - I will ask the Coordinator-General if he has a better answer.

Mr PERRY - Minister, we engage with proponents all the time, and they're looking at all sorts of different things. They want to talk to us about the expression of interest process. They're looking at different options for where they might site different facilities. So, as you mentioned, it would be typical for us to have discussions around land, both private and public ownership.

Ms O'CONNOR - Can you explain what the process is?

Mr JAENSCH - The most important thing to insert in this, is that whilst people may come to the Coordinator-General as a contact point for facilitation, the Coordinator General has no power to bind the state to sell land, to bargain on things like the use of public land or assets.

Ms O'CONNOR - I understand that.

Mr JAENSCH - Any such proposal that the Coordinator-General was approached on or did any work on, would be by way of being able to provide advice to relevant parts of government.

Ms O'CONNOR - To the specific question, has the Coordinator-General referred any specific proposals that relate to the long-term lease or purchase of public Crown land to the minister for Crown lands for further facilitation?

Mr JAENSCH - I have no line of sight directly to what may have been referred to the minister for Crown lands. You would need to ask her.

Ms O'CONNOR - But the Coordinator-General is here.

Mr JAENSCH - I would be happy for Mr Perry to comment on that, if he is able.

Mr PERRY - Can you repeat the question?

Ms O'CONNOR - Yes. I am trying to get some specifics here.

Mr JAENSCH - Do you have a particular project you want to ask about?


Mr JAENSCH - Just generally?

Ms O'CONNOR - No, I am trying to work out what you are doing with public assets.

The specific question is, has there been particular developers or specific developments that have come to you as Coordinator-General about an area of Crown land that your office has then referred on to the minister for Crown lands for action, in the past year?

Mr PERRY - No, we have not provided a recommendation towards anything towards the minister for Crown lands in relation to development projects. I will repeat what I said before: we engage on a frequent basis with different proponents. We have a significant pipeline but many of those don't go any further, so we engage at different levels.

Any sort of engagement with particular pieces of Crown land would need to follow through the Crown Lands Act and be dealt with through the minister's office.

Ms O'CONNOR - Would that come to parliament if there was an area of Crown land that was to be transferred to a private developer? Under the act you can hand it over, can't you?

Mr JAENSCH - No, under the Crown lands legislation, there is a range of processes through which land owned by the Crown can be transferred or leased, defining under what terms, be they valuation or be they a transfer to say a local government authority for a community purpose in which that parcel of land would be encumbered and there would be a covenant put in it. There is a range of different mechanisms but they probably are best pursued through the minister for Crown lands.

CHAIR - Exactly. I was about to say, Ms O'Connor, you can ask about the Coordinator General's role in the process but with regard to the actual Crown lands process, that would need to go to the minister.

Ms O'CONNOR - Will do that, thank you, Chair.