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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 10 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 4056..


compensation for essentially business continuity, a disruption that has occurred due to this incident. People have been affected differently and, indeed, a number of the business owners at the meeting today said they had been in touch with their insurers already; some of them were heading along that journey.

I have to say—and I do not want to prejudice any future decisions that will be taken—that was not the priority for Mitchell business owners today. The priority was to get back into their businesses and get them open for business. Many of them already are, but particularly in those three streets that have been affected—Tooth, Pelle and Dacre streets—I think there are 100-odd businesses that are still affected.

Even if the exclusion zone is reduced this afternoon, which we hope it will be—the washdown has been completed, to my understanding—it may just now involve the closure of a couple of businesses in very close proximity to the factory. So obviously there is a different level of disruption for different businesses. Businesses, as far as we understand, have insurance arrangements in place. There will be some responsibilities on ESI and the government is actively interested and talking with people in this space. As there are further developments in this area, we will certainly let people know.

Children and young people—care

MR COE: My question is to the minister for housing. Minister, the former Ginninderra police residence on the Barton Highway is leased to Barnardos and is used for residential care placements of children and young people in the care and protection system. It has been alleged that the residence was unsuitable for a recent residential care placement because it is claimed that there were no beds, no running hot water, inadequate electricity supply and broken window panes, with glass on the floor. Matters such as hot water and electricity supply in Housing ACT properties normally would sit within the responsibility of Housing ACT. Minister, how is it that a Housing ACT property could be allowed to be in such a state as to be unfit for human habitation?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Coe for his question. You are right: the property is head leased through Barnardos and they have responsibility for its ongoing condition. It is one of I think 620-plus properties that we head lease to organisations, within the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support and through disability services as well. Certainly, there has been an issue around the preparedness and the state of the property. It is my understanding that when that was raised with Barnardos, it was addressed and some repairs were done.

I sought some clarity on this at the end of last week when these comments came to light. I asked Housing to go through its maintenance list and they found a report of a leaking hot-water system. The following day, a temporary repair was put in place and I think two weeks later a permanent repair had been put in place. I think there was some confusion. Certainly I was confused because I was referring to a July placement. The matters around the bedding were actually a comment around an earlier placement. Barnardos has since clarified that. Certainly for the July emergency placement there was adequate bedding and provisions. There are problems with the electricity. Housing ACT and I find it unacceptable for a head lease tenant not to bring that to our attention or not to make remedy itself.


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