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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (21 May) . . Page.. 487 ..

MR HIRD: Mr Berry said that we have a long way to go. He has a long way to go, and the further the better. My supplementary question Mr Speaker, is: The recent election demonstrated that the voters of the ACT have full confidence in the Government's programs, and this can be vindicated by the figures that the Chief Minister has just indicated to the parliament. Has the Chief Minister any further information with respect to those figures?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think the major figure that is important here is that we are under 7 per cent for unemployment; we have cracked the 7 per cent mark. That is a pretty impressive figure. I think it is something that all members of this house should be really pleased about and they should be saying, "Congratulations, Government".

Erindale Police Station

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Urban Services. Minister, on 13 November last year, I asked Mr Humphries, who was then acting as the Minister for Urban Services, what plans had been made for the use of land and buildings at the former Erindale police station. In my question I mentioned my concern at the fate of the former John Knight Hostel, only a couple of streets away, which had been left vacant for nearly two years and was extensively vandalised. When the new tenants finally moved in they had to face bills, I believe, of about $40,000 for repairs. Mr Humphries, as I recall, quite clearly promised prompt action. Given the interest shown by community groups in using the former police station, even before it was empty, can you say why it has not yet been allocated, and do you anticipate an announcement in the very near future, six months after Mr Humphries's statement?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I thank the member for his question and acknowledge his long-term interest in facilities, particularly community facilities, in the Tuggeranong Valley. I share with Mr Wood his concern over the long delays that occurred, particularly with the John Knight Hostel, which stood empty for a long period of time and was indeed vandalised. I do note now that it is a wonderful facility, offering space for thriving new businesses to get out there and improve employment and improve the whole viability of the Tuggeranong Valley, and it is a facility long overdue there.

As to the Erindale police station, I would also acknowledge Mr Wood's concerns on that. It has been raised several times over the last couple of months at things like the Tuggeranong Community Council meetings. I have to say that I have not been approached yet by a single community group - that is, approached directly - with regard to what would happen with the Erindale police station. Some people have put forward ideas, some of which were very sensible and some of which were unrepeatable in this place. But we will take the question on notice and find out what approaches have been made to the department directly to use that facility.

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