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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 400..


MR SMYTH: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Given that Professor Shaddock is recognised as a world expert in the field of disability services and does reside in Canberra, why was he not even asked to be the ACT's independent adviser on disability services?

MR STANHOPE: Because I made a judgment not to ask him.

Latham shops

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Planning. It relates to measures the government is taking to deal with the Latham shops issue. Can the minister inform the Assembly what action the government is taking to ensure that the Latham shops no longer pose a threat to the safety of people in the area and an eyesore to the general public?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. This is an important issue in terms of the government's preparedness to resolve some of the outstanding mess-ups that were left by the previous minister for planning but is also important in the context of ensuring that the concerns of the local residents of Latham are properly addressed.

As members may or may not be aware, a majority of the previous Assembly's Planning and Urban Services Committee supported redevelopment of this site in the way that was proposed by the current owners and subsequently endorsed by the then minister for planning, My Smyth, on 10 April last year, through the exercise of his call-in power.

At the time of the exercising of that call-in power, Mr Smyth made it clear that one of the reasons he was exercising his call-in power was that it was time to get on with it. Subsequent to the exercise of the call-in power, did we see any immediate action in relation to the development of the shops by the then Liberal government? No, we did not. Between April and October no action resulted in any further development activity or redevelopment activity occurring at the Latham shops. In fact, the Latham shops continued to deteriorate.

As members may be aware, the Latham shops are currently unused. It is a derelict building. Part of it is burnt out. It is vandalised in a number of areas, and it is poorly secured.

Mr Humphries: When will you fix the problem?

MR CORBELL: I am coming to that, Mr Humphries. When coming to office, the new government immediately asked that this issue be investigated, and I am pleased to inform members that Planning and Land Management wrote to the lessee on 8 January requesting that the lessee submit a separate approval for demolition of the buildings by mid-February 2002. We have also asked the lessee to take all necessary steps to properly secure the building, as the fencing around the building has proved to be inadequate in keeping people out of the derelict and unsafe structure.


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