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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 951 ..

I note that our emergency services have performed extremely well in the face of challenges over the past year. We need to ensure that the lessons from the Orroral Valley fire are fully learnt and that the systematic changes and communications improvements between the ACT services and federal agencies are bedded down.

On behalf of the ACT Greens, I say thank you to all those who help keep Canberrans safe, particularly given the recent challenges in the form of fire, hail and pandemic. Your tireless devotion is to be applauded and recognised.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 11.59 am to 2.00 pm.

Questions without notice

Housing ACT—vacant property

MS LEE: My question is to the Minister for Housing and Suburban Development. Minister, the public housing complex on Lowanna Street, Braddon, which has 10 one- and two-bedroom apartments and cost $2.6 million to build, has sat empty for over five years. It is in disrepair and uninhabitable. Minister, with Canberra facing a critical shortage of public housing, why did your government leave these apartments in disrepair for so long?

MS BERRY: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. Yes, it is unfortunate that these dwellings have been empty for so long. Unfortunately, they were not safe for occupation. The last tenant was moved out of those dwellings in 2017. There was a fairly complicated legal process that Housing ACT undertook with the builder of that particular housing complex. We have now reached an outcome, following, as I said, prolonged, lengthy and complicated legal processes. We are now in a position where the development applications are going in for that dwelling to be demolished and new dwellings to be built on that site.

MS LEE: Minister, when you say you have reached an outcome, do you mean that there has been a legal settlement? If so, what was the nature of that settlement?

MS BERRY: Yes, there has been a settlement. I am not sure what advice I can provide the Assembly on that, but I will take advice on what detail I can provide. If I can provide it, I will definitely bring it back to the Assembly.

MR PARTON: Minister, how much will it cost Canberra taxpayers to demolish and rebuild on that site? And what will be the size of the replacement complex and when will it be completed?

MS BERRY: There will be 10 class C dwellings built on that site. I do not have a time frame for when they will be completed. The contract negotiations will consider the price for that. Once that is known, I can provide that information.

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