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LDA has no interest in helping people

By birder - 14 November 2012 21

Did anyone read this article in the Canberra Times about the OwnPlace scheme?

Oddly enough, I can’t find it anywhere on the Canberra Times website now.

But I was absolutely appalled by the apathetic and unfriendly attitude of the Land Development Agency. I don’t care if it’s not LDA’s responsibility. At the very least, they should have said, “While this is outside our responsibility, we are very sorry it has happened.”

They should also be investigating ways that they can help ensure it doesn’t happen to other people.

Who in the world would want to deal with this type of project in the future? You should be able to expect the responsible government authority to try to do what it can to help these people, some of whom have lost $10-15k because of the delays in negotiations between the builders and LDA.

Instead, LDA Chief Executive David Dawes has completely washed his hands of his customers. Why not ensure that people can’t take out the mortgage until the LDA and the builders have negotiated everything? Doesn’t that make sense?

My only knowledge of this travesty is from this article, so I may misunderstand some of the facts. But LDA’s complete lack of interest in the customer comes through loud and clear.

What’s Your opinion?

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21 Responses to
LDA has no interest in helping people
WhyACT? 5:40 pm 14 Nov 12

Thanks Pierre. I have called a neighbour who is affected by the 2bedroom to one bedroom issue. They will call you to discuss.

BigBangBallers 5:02 pm 14 Nov 12

My apologies, I should clarify. Our firm, Johannessen Legal, was involved in the conveyancing of a number of OwnPlace properties, and having raised several issues of concern with the LDA regarding the scheme and the associated contracts, are not altogether surprised that such an issue has arisen.

Feel free to contact us to discuss your options.


Pierre Johannessen

BigBangBallers 4:52 pm 14 Nov 12

@WhyACT? feel free to contact Pierre at Johannessen Legal & Migration if you need any assistance.

RedDogInCan 4:30 pm 14 Nov 12

Speak to a lawyer. The LDA land contract can be voided because the goods sold (ie the land) are not fit for the purpose for which they was sold (ie suitable for a two bedroom house). This is a standard common law right and there is even scope to claim damages for the for their stuff up. Every thing said by the LDA is purely legal bluff. Unfortunately this will involve dealing with a lawyer.

Chop71 3:34 pm 14 Nov 12

Don’t whinge, go legal

Baldy 3:23 pm 14 Nov 12

WhyACT? said :

Dear Baldy.

Excellent response that clearly informs what happened. Much better then the news article or the origional post, both of which were short on facts and high on emotive ‘blame the government” comments.

Thank you WhyACT for explaining your side of the story and in which case I retract my comments on you just blaming the government with no cause.

chewy14 2:06 pm 14 Nov 12

WhyACT? said :


If what you say is true, the the LDA have behaved disgracefully over this matter.

WhyACT? 1:38 pm 14 Nov 12

Dear Baldy,
So some of the facts that are missing from the article are as follows:
1. To purchase from the ‘OwnPlace scheme’, you go into a ballot. If selected out of that ballot, you go to the LDA website and select a block of land from the ones with their colour coding for ‘OwnPlace’. When you click on that block of land it will have a diagram of the houseplan that will be built on that block of land and the builder that will be building that house. You cannot buy that block without agreeing to that plan and that builder.
2. At the time this is happening, the subdivision is actually off limits to anyone other than the LDA as they are still building the roads and putting in driveways etc. The builder draws up the plans on the basis of the information given to them by the LDA.
3. When you have made your selection, you are given two contracts, one for the land and one for the builder. Because the land has not been fully subdivided, no specific dates are put onto contracts.
4. Your solicitor takes you through the land contract and then orgainses settlement for you once the LDA determines the land is ready.
5. Once you own the land, the builder can go onsite to finalise their plans. At this point, our builder discovered the LDA had put the driveways in differently to the plan they had sent the builder and the land contours were different to what the LDA had sent to the builder.(These driveways will be ripped up and replaced by the LDA in November which acknowledges their errors here).
6. ACTPLA refused to allow 3 houses in the row to be built as 2 bedroom with only a single garage. This is not a rule any of us could have known about as many many houses on the OwnPLace list were 3 bedroom with only a single garage. The LDA had divided the land in such a way that it would have been impossible to fit more than a single garage and thats also what their driveways were for.
The builder had suggested to the LDA to divide those three blocks as 2 rather than 3, but the LDA had already taken the money for the land.
The builder applied for an exemption with ACTPLA but was denied. This back and forth between the LDA and ACTPLA took 10 months because, despite being in the same building these two departments don’t talk to each other.
7. Those with the housing plans changed to one bedroom were never given the option to back out of the scheme and couldn’t because the LDA had already taken their money by that point and wiped their hands of it.
8. At the bare minimum this is a case of false advertising as the LDA website said you have to have this 2 bedroom house and then that couldn’t be delivered.
9. I don’t see how this can be the builders fault as they have also lost a lot of money. The wrong contour plans given to them by the LDA have also meant digging foundations into the side of a hill, as well as the cost of redesigning to meet approval.
10. Katy Gallagher happily advertised, in the build up to the election, the OwnPlace scheme as one of their great successes, but if the fault for this lies with the builder and not the government, then surely the success of the scheme would be for the builder and not the government.
11. The LDA claim that they have no contractual involvement is true – by setting up the scheme to be two contracts rather than one, they can take the money for the land and walk away. But can they really claim they have helped first homebuyers with this scheme?
I agree with you that too many people want to blame the government for everything, but I am not one of those people. When the government wants to take credit for something that has caused me harm though, I will speak out against it.
Oh and yes, I am the woman in the article. Unfortunately, while all of my neighbours (except 1) have contacted me over the last 10 months to tell me of how much this scheme has financially hurt them, they are all in either government or property industry jobs and too afraid to speak out.

birder 1:31 pm 14 Nov 12

Baldy said :

Mothy said :

These people (particulaly the OP and the woman in the article if they are different people) should take responsability for the fact they signed up for something that they didn’t knwo anything about. It certainly isn’t LDA’s fault. They did exactly what they were required to do.

I’m the OP, and I’m certainly not the person in the article (the Riot Act administrators know this, as they have my email address). How do you know the person in question didn’t know anything about what she signed up for? How do you know that the LDA has done everything they were required to do? Because they said so? Wow, you must have a lot more trust in government than I do. What we do know is the LDA sees that this woman is basically screwed and their response is, “Who cares? Not us!” Aren’t the conservatives who hate government always saying that government should be more responsive and should treat taxpayers as their customers? Shouldn’t we have higher expectations for government? And as a mechanism for self-preservation, should LDA avoid complete screw-ups like this so that people are not completely turned off of their offerings?

Baldy 12:57 pm 14 Nov 12

Mothy said :

Particularly when buying off the plan, part of that process should be ensuring said plan was ACTPLA approved?

I agree. This seems to be a case of “I didn’t read the fine print or fully research this before I signed and now it’s the Governments fault.

I hate how the modern thing to do these days is to blame the Government (at whatever level) for individual and personal mistakes.

Who signs up for things without fully investigating and research them anyway? And it is shows the character of the person when they then blame whatever the closest Government agency for the buyers mistake.

These people (particulaly the OP and the woman in the article if they are different people) should take responsability for the fact they signed up for something that they didn’t knwo anything about. It certainly isn’t LDA’s fault. They did exactly what they were required to do.

devils_advocate 12:35 pm 14 Nov 12

Mothy said :

Particularly when buying off the plan, part of that process should be ensuring said plan was ACTPLA approved?

Well one reason for waiting until the buyer had committed before seeking approval would be, if there was scope to make minor variations to the plan before submitting to ACTPLA.

But the overarching point is – the builder is a repeat player, they should know very well what plans will and won’t be allowed by ACTPLA. Probably they went super-aggressive with what they were trying to squeeze on the blocks and then got knocked back. Or, arbitrary decision-making by a faceless bueracracy. As noted above, difficult to know what to think without further info/comment from involved parties.

NoImRight 12:31 pm 14 Nov 12

Ive been waiting forever to say this…….wont someone please think of the children?

Mmmm. Kind of a let down after all that. 🙁

Seems to be an issue for the builder not LDA. Maybe start a hate thread on them?

Mothy 12:17 pm 14 Nov 12

Read same. While also surprised at the LDA response of Mr Dawes (“…said his agency only had a contractual obligation to sell the land and it was up to the builder to secure the necessary approvals”) buyer beware has to play a part, surely?

Particularly when buying off the plan, part of that process should be ensuring said plan was ACTPLA approved?

Being landed with a 1bdr when you bought a 2bdr off the plan is a nightmare, no doubt.

Slashor 10:44 am 14 Nov 12

The original article in the times is here. (Can’t work out how to make that url pretty.)

ezy10z 8:57 am 14 Nov 12

id like to know who the builder is?

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