Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 6 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1841..
MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development. I have received numerous complaints from residents of Amaroo concerned about a large number of long-term unfinished houses in their neighbourhood that are an eyesore, attract vandals and are a safety hazard for families. Minister, why are houses allowed to remain unfinished for long periods of time in Amaroo?
MR CORBELL: I thank Mrs Jones for the question. It is regrettable that there are a small number of homes in new suburbs like Amaroo which have not been completed within the appropriate commence and complete time frames established under those homes leases. The reasons for this are many and varied. They often relate to financial difficulties faced by the owners of those properties or in some smaller number of circumstances, a long-term or serious illness, or even death, which impacts on the ability of the leaseholder or their successor to complete the property.
My directorate continues to work with the leaseholders in these circumstances, reminds them of their obligations and seeks to achieve completion of the premises in as timely a fashion as possible, recognising that this is often difficult given some of the circumstances that I have mentioned previously.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.
MRS JONES: Minister, in the last two years how many such long-term unfinished residential properties has the directorate taken action on, and how many have now been finished as a result?
MR CORBELL: Again I thank Mrs Jones for the question. I do not have those specific figures before me but I am very happy to take the question on notice and provide some further information to her and the Assembly.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Coe.
MR COE: Minister, what specific action has been carried out to ensure that long-term unfinished properties are not a safety hazard for local families?
MR CORBELL: There is a range of options open to the government in relation to non-compliance with leasehold conditions. In the first instance, the approach is to educate and remind leaseholders of their obligations and seek commitments from them as to when the properties will be complete. Secondly, there is a range of penalties that are essentially applicable, depending on the time periods involved, for failure to complete, in particular at the five-year mark. And finally it is open to the territory to seek action to resume a property, to resume a lease, where failure to commence or complete has been a very longstanding matter. There is one instance, to my knowledge, where my directorate is doing just that.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.