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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 December 2021) . . Page.. 3972 ..


How long do Gungahlin residents and their families have to wait before they can get out the popcorn and get their choc tops and take in the previews and the latest releases? Peter Elford from the Gungahlin Community Council recently said of the Gungahlin cinema saga, “It just feels like it is almost a mythical thing that is never going to happen.” Sadly, particularly in Gungahlin, so much feels like it is almost a mythical thing that is never going to happen, thanks to this government’s neglect of my area.

MS CLAY (Ginninderra) (3.27): I would like to thank Mr Pettersson for bringing his motion to the Assembly today. I will not speak for long, but I want to raise a few points. We have heard a lot about Gungahlin this year and it is clear that there are lots of opportunities for us to learn from the development of Gungahlin and its surrounding suburbs.

What struck me most about this motion is an issue that has been coming up for me a lot in the last year, in various capacities, both in my parliamentary work and in my work as a local member. The issue is this: when and how should government enforce lease clauses? This is not a subject matter that would have captured my interest a year and a half ago, when I was busy working in climate change, recycling and the arts. But now that I am here in the Assembly, representing the people of Belconnen and Canberra, and now that I am chairing the planning committee, I realise how important it is to get these details of planning law and enforcement right. They really do affect people’s day-to-day lives.

When lease clauses are not enforced, what happens? Buildings are not built on time. Services are not provided to the community. Leaseholds are kept untidy and insecure, becoming eyesores and sometimes hazards. I have received a lot of complaints about all these issues from my constituents, as I am sure every other MLA has.

The issue is complex and it applies not just to commercial entities. It applies to residences as well. It is complex because there are a whole range of issues behind it, a whole range of reasons why companies and individuals do not do what they said they would do and do not do what they are meant to do. Sometimes it is deliberate and sometimes it is not. It is an important issue that is coming up time and again in that committees I sit on and in estimates.

Without going into the detail, government has a fairly hands-off approach at the moment. I am not convinced that that is working and I am confident that we can do better under our new planning system. In the context of that broader planning review, I welcome this discussion today. When it comes to lease squatting, the slow or underdevelopment of commercial buildings and lease non-compliance, it is our community that ultimately misses out. It is our community we answer to and it is our community we must serve. Given that our developable land is finite, we need to make sure that what we build counts, that it is of good quality and that it is used well and as it was intended to be used.

I look forward to future discussions on what solutions might look like for this complex issue. I join my colleague Mr Braddock and say that the ACT Greens are happy to support this motion.


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