Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 4 Hansard (7 April) . .
Land—unmaintained residential blocks
(Question No 649)
Mrs Dunne asked the Minister for Planning and Land Management, upon notice, on 9 February 2016 (redirected to the Chief Minister):
(1) What power does the Government have, and through which agencies, to clean up residential blocks when leaseholders fail to maintain them.
(2) How does an unmaintained block come to the Government's attention.
(3) What is the process and associated timeframe for assessing blocks for Government-initiated action to clean them up.
(4) What criteria are used to make the assessment.
(5) Which other agencies, such as fire services, are consulted in the assessment process.
(6) To what extent are the leaseholder or neighbouring residents consulted.
(7) What is the typical cost involved for completing a clean-up.
(8) Who pays the cost; if it is the lessee, how is the cost recovery undertaken and, if necessary, followed up.
Mr Barr: The answer to the member's question is as follows:
(1) The Government via Access Canberra administers the enforcement provisions of the Planning and Development Act 2007 (the Act) and the regulations under that legislation. Schedule 2.2 of the Act provides for the regulation of unclean leaseholds. Policy guidelines which underpin the provisions of the Act are available at: http://www.planning.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/21278/Complaints_on_COLA_and_lease_matters.pdf
Under s106 of the Emergencies Act 2004, an inspector from ACT Fire & Rescue (ACTF&R) may direct the owner of a block to remove to remove hazardous flammable material. Under s107 of that Act, if an owner has contravened an order under s106, an inspector can arrange for action to be taken to remove the hazard.
The Health Protection Service investigates complaints of squalor and hoarding under provisions of the Public Health Act 1997. Under that Act, public health officers have powers to inspect properties and arrange for insanitary conditions to be remedied.
(2) The majority of unmaintained blocks come to the Government's attention via a complaint from the public. In some cases, a government inspector may observe a problem while in the vicinity, or a complaint may be referred from one part of Government to another.
(3) Following a complaint, an Access Canberra officer will inspect and report on the condition of the block (using written documentation, visual observation and photographic evidence). If the inspector determines the block meets the policy criteria for an unclean leasehold, Access Canberra serves a warning letter on the block's
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