Home » Federal Golf Club Development » Should the Federal Golf Club profit from development (and other letters to Canberra Times)?

Should the Federal Golf Club profit from development (and other letters to Canberra Times)?

Canberra Times 25 November 2015

Letter to the Editor

The report of another housing development proposal by the Federal Golf Club once again raises the issue of the ad hoc ACT Government treatment of private development on community owned land.

Sporting clubs are granted concessionary leases over considerable and valuable land areas at significant ratepayer support, in order to provide a community asset. It now seems that whenever the sporting club needs more capital, instead of looking to their membership or to a perhaps deficient business model, they attempt to persuade the government to allow them to not only develop contrary to the terms and spirit of their lease, but then to retain any windfall profit derived from the increased land value.
This approach, which the Government policy appears to be to ‘treat each on its merits’ has the result of dudding the ratepayer thrice over. Firstly, by applying ratepayer funds to the financial support of a select and private club; secondly, by not returning the financial benefits derived from development back to the government in the form of betterment; and thirdly, by converting a community space into a private space.
If a sporting club wishes to live beyond its means, that is their prerogative. They should not however seek to enrich themselves at community expense. Perhaps a first step would be to levy the membership before selling off the family (i.e. the community) silver.
Paul Ratcliffe
Other relevant letters published in the Canberra Times:
1 December 2015

It is ridiculous of Chris Hume (CT 25 Nov) to claim that the Federal Golf Club (FGC) has not received government support. The ACT Government subsidises many sporting groups by not claiming market value for the use of Territory land. In the case of FGC they currently pay a rent of $13,000 a year equivalent to the rent on a Garran house block, when they use an area equivalent to a small suburb. The course and connecting infrastructure, such as the driveway off the Red Hill summit road, was largely established at Government cost. Ground work costs were later recouped as the annual rental of the club spread over 25 years, free of interest. Recently the club received $250,000 to assist in construction of a dam and $15,000 to develop a business plan. Given the long standing and considerable public support of FGC, it is disappointing that this plan ignored community views and wishes. Instead the club chose to regurgitate inappropriate development plans rejected on many occasions by both the local and wider community and governments of all political shades.

Dr Michael Mulvaney

5 December 2015

The Federal Golf Club and their indefatigable supporter Chris Hume (letters 3 December 2015), seem to be bent on demonstrating Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The fact is that on at least six previous occasions, development proposals on community land leased to the Federal Golf Club have been rejected by the ACT Government. The reasons for these rejections have not been based on the whingings of ‘NIMBY apologists’, but on sober assessment of their merits.  These assessments have taken account of public policy, planning, traffic, public transport, social, emergency access, fitness for purpose, community and environmental criteria and have found that on balance, the development proposals should not proceed.

It is highly probable that the golf club members are, mostly, as sane as the next person. It is therefore a mystery why they are once more happy to spend their membership fees on pursuing yet another development proposal in the face of the historical record.

My advice, for what it is worth, is for members to replace their leaders and stop flogging this dead, buried and cremated horse.

Paul Ratcliffe

7 December 2015

9 December 2015 (1)

9 December 2015 (2)

9 December 2015 (3)

11 December 2015 (1)

11 December 2015 (2)

15 December 2015

17 December 2015

23 December 2015

26 December 2015

30 December 2015 (letter to MLAs from a concerned community member)

12 January 2016