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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 February 2005 2005) . . Page.. 391 ..


MR STANHOPE: The issue in relation to all three villages that were destroyed, and that we are determined to rebuild, is very much interlinked and interrelated. I cannot understand why members of the Liberal Party would not be interested in what the government has achieved and proposes for Stromlo, Uriarra and, indeed, for Pierces Creek.

As a result of the plans that we pursued and the tremendous cooperation that we have received from the NCA and the commonwealth, we will be rebuilding Uriarra. We will be providing up to 25 public houses at Uriarra and an additional 75 dwellings. Similarly, we have well advanced plans in relation to Stromlo. Of the three villages, issues concerning Stromlo were more straightforward, although there have been issues with the commonwealth in relation to our desire to increase the size of the village footprint at Mount Stromlo, it being bordered by land in the possession of the commonwealth.

Negotiations in relation to Pierces Creek have been more complex and have at this stage not been finally resolved. Members would be aware that 12 of the 13 houses at Pierces Creek were destroyed in the fire. The ACT government’s position has always been a strong desire to see all the residents of Pierces Creek returned to their homes. We, in the shaping our territory process, believe that a village of 50 houses at Pierces Creek is the most sustainable and desirable outcome under a range of criteria including social, economic and environmental sustainability guidelines. Our preferred position is a village of 50 houses constructed at Pierces Creek.

As members would be aware, the joint standing committee on territories held an inquiry into the future or fate of Pierces Creek. The essential recommendation was that the ACT and commonwealth governments negotiate and seek to achieve an agreed position on the future of Pierces Creek. I responded to that recommendation immediately by agreeing that the ACT government would be prepared to proceed with the construction of a village of 30 houses at Pierces Creek. That is a reasonable position. We have reduced what we believed to be the optimal village size from 50 to 30.

The minister, Jim Lloyd, and I had constructive discussions and I indicated to him that, in a spirit of compromise and in order to ensure that the people of Pierces Creek could return to their homes, the ACT government would agree to a village of 25 houses. We have now comprised twice on what we believe to be the optimal preferred position. At this stage we are still awaiting a formal response by the commonwealth to the territories committee report on Pierces Creek; indeed, I am awaiting a response by the minister to my compromise offer of a minimum of 25.

The overarching difficulty, of course, is the decision of the NCA not to approve a change to the territory plan in relation to Pierces Creek, which would mean that even if the 13 houses were rebuilt, they could never be sold. So for those public housing tenants, unlike any other tenant in the ACT—

MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister’s time has expired.

MRS BURKE: I have a supplementary question. Can the Chief Minister please explain what the term “security of tenure” means, particularly for the public housing tenants at Pierces Creek?


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