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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (10 April) . . Page.. 880..


Block 3, section 129, Narrabundah

MRS DUNNE (10.45): Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Assembly asks the Minister for Planning to:

(1) in accordance with section 37 of the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991, give written direction to the Planning Authority to immediately commence a draft variation over block 3, section 129, Narrabundah to change the use to broadacre; and

(2) keep this Assembly informed on progress of the draft variation.

This is a simple motion and I will be brief. It is a simple motion about commonsense and justice to a longstanding Canberra family. Block 3, section 129, Narrabundah is all that remains of what was once a soldier settlement farm run by Sergeant Ernest Murray. Before I go to the issue at hand, I would like to point out that Sergeant Murray was one of Canberra's first ANZACs. He enlisted at the age of 35 and went off to war. He landed at Gallipoli at 4.30 am on 25 April 1915. He served at Gallipoli, he served in Egypt, he served on the Western Front and he was a member of the AIF until 1918.

For bravery and service in the field, Sergeant Murray was awarded the Military Medal and bar and was mentioned in dispatches. When he returned to Australia, a grateful Australian government awarded him a soldier settlement farm, which covered much of what is now Narrabundah and Fyshwick. A small amount of it remains in the Murray family and is held by Ms Christine Murray. This is the block of land that we are talking about today.

Christine Murray and her family run what is almost an institution in the ACT-a simple concept of a company called Animals Afloat, which is Canberra's only petting nursery. Here in the bush capital we have a lot of children who have never had any exposure to the way a farm is run; they have very little exposure to coming to terms with things to do with the soil and agriculture. The very popular Animals Afloat goes to fetes, fundraising activities and corporate events, providing the children of Canberra with a little bit of the knowledge and a little bit of access to what it is like to run a farm.

This petting nursery has been running successfully for a number of years, but under very difficult circumstances. The Murrays have possession of block 3, section 129, in Narrabundah for agricultural purposes. They hold an agistment lease over the land. They were allowed to build a very fine American-style barn on that lease, but they may not live there. Christine Murray and Alan Swan hold their animals on the lease but they hold the very small animals at their home in Mawson. Every time they take their petting nursery somewhere they have to constantly run between Mawson and Narrabundah. They have to pick up and then drop animals back at Mawson or Narrabundah. This places an enormous strain on a large family.

For some time the family has been asking for permission to build on this piece of land. However, because this land is currently urban open space, they do not have the capacity to build a residence. This motion asks the government to instruct PALM to institute a draft variation so that eventually this land can be designated agricultural land with


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