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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (25 May) . . Page.. 2251..

(1) Further to the Minister's letter of 5 June 2003 regarding action against the lessees of 14 Yambina Street Waramanga for failure to complete building work on site since at least 1995, why has Planning and Land Management, its predecessors and successors allowed this matter to drag on for at least nine years;

(2) Does the A.C.T. have laws limiting the amount of time a lessee has to complete building work; if so, what is this time limit and why has it not been enforced in this case;

(3) In the Minister's letter which concludes by saying that the matter will be resolved after the AAT makes a decision, can he advise if a decision has been made and if so, what is that decision;

(4) If the AAT has not yet made a decision, why not;

(5) Do neighbours have any legal recourse for lower property values living next to this building site;

(6) Can the A.C.T. Government take action against the lessees under the so called dirty block legislation; if so, will such action be taken; if not, why not.

Mr Corbell

: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) ACTPLA and its predecessors have been attempting, within the laws that did exist and now exist to force the lessees to complete the extension. The lessees have been successfully prosecuted and fined under the Building Act. This did not convince the lessees to complete the extensions. ACTPLA issued orders requiring the immediate cleanup of the block and the completion of the extension by November 2004. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal, on appeal, affirmed the requirement to complete the extension by November 2004 and varied the cleanup provisions to take into greater account the impact of the construction work on keeping the site clean. The lessees have appealed the Tribunal's decision to the ACT Supreme Court. The matter is listed for a preliminary hearing in August this year.

(2) Development approvals now have a time limit built into them; normally two years. ACTPLA has the capacity to extend these times if the circumstances so warrant. The Land Act provides that where a Development Approval is not acted on within two years then the approval lapses.

However, when the National Capital Development Commission approved this extension under the Design and Siting legislation no such constraints were available.

This matter has been further exacerbated with the control of the granting of building approvals passing from the public sector to the private sector.

(3) The AAT handed down its decision on 30/06/03. That decision required the lessees to

a. properly store all building material on the site, get a skip bin to contain building waste and to cutback the bamboo growth to the satisfaction of the Territory. This was to be completed by 31/08/03.

b. complete the construction of the extensions by 5 November 2004.

This decision has since been appealed to the ACT Supreme Court. A preliminary hearing has been listed for August this year.

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