Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1286 ..
MR DE DOMENICO: Yes. As I said, Mr Wood, only casual staff are affected, and only new ones. The existing staff will be paid under the existing circumstances. Those two minor issues, I believe, will be resolved very shortly and, if not resolved by the two parties concerned, will be resolved by the umpire in the Industrial Relations Commission.
Mr Wood: And ACTTAB will not arbitrarily decide tonight?
MR DE DOMENICO: No.
MS REILLY: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. A number of community organisations are concerned about the increase in rent they are going to be forced to pay for community premises. Will the Chief Minister state whether these organisations are expected to fund this increase from current grant funds, with the inevitable consequence that they will have to reduce services? Will she give the Assembly a guarantee that the rent increases for community premises will be funded, or are these organisations, which provide such vital community services, expected to cut their services to the people of Canberra?
MRS CARNELL: The Government has, I think, a very reasonable policy in terms of rent of ACT Government premises to community organisations. We have a figure of $95 per square metre, which is well below commercial rates. I think that is a very appropriate approach from the Government. It means that community associations know very well what sort of rent they will be up for. In terms of any increases on top of $95 per square metre, obviously those would be in line with CPI or on the basis of negotiation. We certainly have no ambition to put the figure up above $95, except in line with the actual cost increases.
MS REILLY: I am quite sure that at $95 per square metre they are below commercial rents, but some of them are below commercial standards as well. Chief Minister, do you expect the many self-funded voluntary organisations that provide recreation activities and enjoyment for large numbers of people in Canberra to pay these higher rents for premises which many of them have occupied for many years?
MRS CARNELL: The move to have, shall we say, a set-rate rent for community associations was actually started under the previous Government. The appropriate approach was, rather than to have some real inequity in the system where some community organisations were paying very little and some substantially more, to set a figure. It is very unfortunate that comments were made that this space is somehow substandard because, in almost all circumstances, that is simply not the case. A figure of $95 per square metre is what we are aiming at. Certainly, in regard to space that is substandard, we are always willing to negotiate and have rents below that. For space that is up to scratch, and that is by far most of it, $95 a square metre is, again, a long way below commercial rents or what associations would have to pay out in the market.