Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 361..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
injected into the process. I am only too pleased as minister to have a great and consultative role to play in moving the thing even further forward.
Housing-Narrabundah long-stay caravan park
DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Minister for Planning. It concerns the Narrabundah long-stay caravan park, in essence a small village of affordable housing and home to 200 people. The Assembly is aware that the ACT Commissioner for Housing gave the park to Koomarri for nothing, and, now that the requirement to maintain its purpose for five years has expired, Koomarri is selling it off, presumably to the highest bidder.
Given that the block is zoned broadacre and that ACTPLA can agree to vary the lease purpose clause specifying a caravan park for a fee, and given that the planning reforms to come in this year propose to get rid of those clauses altogether, the residents do not feel secure on that site. Consequently, since there is a shortage of similar sites available in Canberra, is the ACT government pursuing a variation to the territory plan to ensure the site remains dedicated to long-term affordable housing?
MR CORBELL: No, we are not. The government does not believe that a variation is required in relation to this site. For Dr Foskey's and the Assembly's information, the crown lease over this site was granted to the Commissioner for Housing on 9 November 1999. The crown lease permits the land to be used for a caravan park and camping ground, except that no more than 102 caravan sites are to be located on the land.
As Dr Foskey and members are probably aware, the crown lease also provides that the lessee shall not, before the date of 31 December 2004 or a date five years from the sale of the lease, seek to vary the lease, but the above restriction does not prevent the lessee from making application under section 226 of the land act for the approval of additional uses or additional caravan sites, but such an application is not able to seek approval to the premises being used for a purpose which does not include a caravan park and camping ground. So there are some guarantees in the existing lease but, as Dr Foskey points out, the existing lease has conditions that essentially put a five-year sunset clause on those arrangements.
I think it would be fair to say that the government is very keen to see that the site is retained for accommodation purposes similar to or the same as is currently occurring because it does provide an important housing opportunity in Canberra that otherwise would not exist or would be reduced.
There has been no application to vary the lease. The lease is sold. Leaseholders have rights in relation to their land consistent with what is permitted under the territory plan. There has been no application to vary the lease. I will certainly encourage the sellers of the land, in this case Koomarri, to ensure that they do sell it to a third party who has a bona fide interest in continuing to operate the facility as long-stay accommodation.
DR FOSKEY: I ask a supplementary question. In the event that Koomarri does not take the minister's advice, what measures will the government take to ensure that those people currently resident in the long-stay caravan park can stay where they are living in an affordable and socially sustainable manner?