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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (13 March) . . Page.. 1029..


MR WOOD

: In part, I have mentioned that. There are inquiries under way about whether houses and forests should sit close to each other. Let me tell you some of the background. Of the properties destroyed, 54 were in rural areas under the Territory and National Capital Plans. The properties were at Uriarra; Pierces Creek; Stromlo settlement; Cotter/Casuarina; Kirkpatrick Street, Weston; and Mount Stromlo.

Under those two plans, as everybody understands, residential uses are not permitted. This means that while ACT Housing can retain possession of existing houses indefinitely there is no mechanism to allow them to obtain leases or to sell properties which are no longer suitable for our needs, unless the relevant planning instruments are first changed. Some of us know that it has not been possible to achieve that. The government has been determining whether or not it is appropriate to rebuild these dwellings or seek to replace them elsewhere, as I have explained.

That is the background. I will give a little more detail, because I think this is an issue of importance to the residents and to the community broadly. Each of those settlements had its own characteristics that made it attractive to the people who lived there. The Uriarra and Pierces Creek settlements were both created for forestry workers, as was the Stromlo Forest settlement. However, while the first two were on territory land and plantation forestry under the territory plan, the settlement at Stromlo Forest was on national land which appears as an urban area under the National Capital Plan but as plantation forestry under the Territory Plan.

The cottages at Cotter/Casuarina, under the Territory Plan, were in the river corridor area, where neither development nor residential use is encouraged. The settlements in all those places, excluding Stromlo, were in isolated areas and distant from shops and other services.

The problem is a one that has not been capable of resolution rapidly, nor should it be, so we have taken the action I have indicated to members.

Land rates-new system

MR PRATT: My question is to Mr Quinlan. You are introducing a complicated and untried rates system, which will lead to a situation where everyone on the same street will be paying different rates for their properties. This will mean that the Revenue Office will require more staff and incur more administrative expenses to try to make the complicated system work.

Have you costed the extra staffing and administrative expenses that the Revenue Office will incur as a result of the introduction of your untested changes? If so, how much extra will your new system cost to run?

MR QUINLAN

: To give Mr Pratt the benefit of my many years of experience in ACTEW, where we sent out a lot of bills for electricity to various different customers: there were some bills with rebates on them, and some without; there were different classifications of customers in terms of the level of voltage-whether they were high voltage or low voltage-and whether they were domestic or commercial.


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