Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (23 March) . . Page.. 678 ..
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I would have to say that I was not and would welcome further information on it.
MS TUCKER: As Minister for housing, do you think that you should be interested in the rights of the tenants in the Narrabundah caravan park before you say that you will sell it?
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, as Minister for housing, I am very interested in and responsible for the rights of tenants of ACT Housing. Unfortunately, there are no tenants of ACT Housing in the long stay caravan park. It is not central to our core business and it is more than appropriate to sell it.
MR WOOD: I wish to follow up a question asked of the Minister for Urban Services by Mr Corbell. In answer to that question, Mr Smyth said that the Government or he had responded where they could. I took that to mean where they had authority. I want to get a clearer definition of what authority applies and where. With a simple yes or no answer to the question, Minister, you can dispense with this one very quickly. Is it the case that the Territory Government is responsible for setting the level of rent and other conditions for any new lease at that site?
MR SMYTH: There is conflicting legal opinion on who is responsible for what in this lease. Based on advice that the ACT Government Solicitor has given me, we are somewhat in conflict with the club's view of the lease. The ACT Government Solicitor's view is that the Territory is not legally able to make all the declarations sought as the land is national land, the land is under the control of the Defence Department, we have no say on that land. The club has sought the Territory's assistance and the club believes that some declarations can be made by the Territory. The advice that I am given by the ACT Government Solicitor is that I cannot.
MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, can I follow that up with a supplementary question. If there are confusions there, what steps have you taken with your Commonwealth counterparts to act in this matter? What have you done to see about extending that lease for some further period and what conversations, what discussions and what negotiations have you had with Commonwealth officers?
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, as I said in the answer to Mr Corbell's question, letters supporting the claim of the dragway have been sent from the department. Indeed, I have phoned Minister Moore's office to put forward their case and to make sure that the Federal Minister was quite clear as to what was happening further down in his department and to bring it to his attention so that they might consider it further.