Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2829..
MR CORBELL: I am not aware of any proposal by ACTION in this regard, but I will certainly take the question on notice and make some inquiries for Ms Tucker.
MS TUCKER: Thank you, Minister, for saying you will look at it. Could you look at the potential for setting up at least some sort of trial service as soon as possible, particularly to coincide with Floriade, when many visitors can be expected to come to Canberra, and ensure that the service operates to meet the needs of recreational users rather than commuters, for example, by having adequate services on the weekend and in off-peak times?
MR CORBELL: The government is always keen to see ACTION seek to expand its service wherever there is demand. I will seek further information from ACTION on the proposal Ms Tucker has outlined and advise her of the response.
Aboriginal tent embassy
MS GALLAGHER: My question is to the Minister for Planning, Mr Corbell. Minister, conflicting comments have been reported in the media regarding the ACT's jurisdiction in relation to the Aboriginal tent embassy. Could the Minister please clarify the role of the ACT's electrical safety inspectors in the recent events at the embassy?
MR CORBELL: The Aboriginal tent embassy occupies national land in front of old parliament house. Under the arrangements that came into being at self-government, responsibility for the management of national land rests with the Commonwealth, in this case with the National Capital Authority. The Commonwealth has wide-ranging powers for the control of unwanted structures, occupancy and trespass under the National Land Ordinance 1989. That is the legal framework in which the Commonwealth is responsible for all structures on its land.
Recent remarks by the territories minister, Mr Tuckey, seem to suggest that the ACT government has responsibility for these structures. That is not the case. The ACT Electrical Safety Act 1971 and the ACT Water and Sewerage Act 2000 apply on national land as laws of the territory. This is by agreement with the Commonwealth. The ACT administers the provisions of these acts on Commonwealth premises, because the Commonwealth has no alternative infrastructure, expertise or inspection approval or compliance processes.
We are simply there enforcing the regulations the Commonwealth has chosen to place on itself in relation to our own legislation. A similar situation exists in relation to the ACT Fire Brigade, which provides services to Commonwealth-owned buildings.
On 13 August this year the National Capital Authority called Actew in relation to a fire in a tent occupied by members of the Aboriginal embassy. Actew has no authority in relation to safety and compliance matters, and the matter was referred to Planning and Land Management.
A PALM electrical inspector attended the fire. Fire Brigade officers were of the opinion that a wood fire within the tent started that fire. The PALM electrical inspector observed that flexible cables supplying various items of electrical equipment were extensively