Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe will try to force the territory government to publicly report all its land purchases, in a move aimed at improving the integrity of such buy-ups.
The move comes as territory politicians await Auditor-General Dr Maxine Cooper's report on a series of rural land purchases the now-defunct Land Development Agency made before it was abolished last year.
That report will examine numerous rural land purchases by the former LDA in Canberra, and was recently widened to include the $7.5 million purchase of the Winslade property at Mount Stromlo on the LDA's final day of operations.
Mr Coe on Wednesday will introduce a bill into the Legislative Assembly that would force the government to produce a quarterly report on all ACT government purchases of land in the territory.
He said there had been "far too many property scandals in Canberra", some of which were the subject of audit office investigations, and that in the absence of an ACT anti-corruption commission, "this is a simple and reasonable step toward greater transparency and integrity".
"The government's use of public funds must always be in the public interest, but far too often revelations of multimillion dollar land deals shrouded in secrecy brings the government's financial integrity into question," Mr Coe said.
"In some instances, we have had to rely on secret tipoffs to learn of multimillion dollar government land purchases. This information should be publicly available."
While similar to new reporting measures Chief Minister Andrew Barr introduced for the City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency that replaced the LDA, Mr Coe's bill will include all land purchases made by any government agency, not just the two land agencies.
It will also encompass those land purchases made by government through agreements with existing owners, not just property that is compulsorily acquired.
The quarterly reports would also be tabled in the Assembly and given to the relevant committee within six sitting days, rather than the current requirement of 15 sitting days.
The Opposition will be reliant on support from the Greens to be able to pass the bill.
Daniel Burdon is a reporter for The Canberra Times
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