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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1210..


Leave of absence to members

Motion (by Mr Moore ) agreed to:

That leave of absence from 30 March 2001 to 30 April 2001 inclusive be given to all members.

Neighbourhood amenity

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received a letter from Mr Wood proposing that a matter of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion, namely:

The right of residents to the quiet enjoyment of their property.

MR WOOD (5.35): I was pleased to concede time to that last debate, as I think it was an important one and needed to be finished. My matter of public importance calls for people to be able to have the quiet enjoyment of their neighbourhood. I understand that that is a clause in many lease documents. It is fine in principle but sometimes hard to achieve in practice. I am sure all members have a long list of complaints from constituents about the lack of quiet enjoyment of their neighbourhood. Mostly the complaints are about noise, but there is a good deal more than that.

This speech is in no way a criticism of the government. I am not seeking to take the government on in this. In fact, later on I will be giving some praise to the government for one of its actions. I know how difficult this can be. When I was minister for the environment I had a very distressed letter from a constituent whom I later rang. I could detect the deep anxiety in his voice as clearly as I could hear the screeching of the cockatoo in the neighbour's backyard not very far away. The cover came off the cockatoo's cage at about 6 o'clock every morning, and this man's life was a misery. I know how difficult it can be to deal with these issues. Someone here might have been the DLO at that time. I wrote on that letter, "This is disgraceful. Please report to me in a fortnight how it has been fixed." Needless to say, it was not fixed in a fortnight and may not be fixed to this day. I am not making complaints about government inaction here, because I know just how difficult it is.

Among the most persistent complaints are those about dogs barking. It was remarkable-I did not hear it all, of course-how Rod Quinn on the ABC could run his program for two hours just on dog noise. He got all sorts of people on his program to say how it might be fixed or otherwise.

Mr Moore: If you started on cats, you would get the same thing, even though they do not make a noise.

MR WOOD: Cats are another problem, Mr Moore, and I have been scratched to death when I have tried to deal with it, but that is another issue. I have been to the houses of people who are in a highly distressed state as a result of neighbours' dogs barking constantly. I saw one woman who was in a very poor physical state because of her anxiety. I know attempts are still made to fix the dog problem. I know what you have to


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