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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (30 June) . . Page.. 1898 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

clear. I read out earlier in the debate what those obligations are - to determine rent and other conditions. The lease says the Commonwealth cannot issue a new lease for the dragway unless the Territory makes the determinations in the existing lease. That is what the lease says. What I am saying to this place is that the ACT Government has not fulfilled its part of the bargain. That is why these amendments are not acceptable.

Mr Smyth read out a letter from Mr Ross Bain of the Department of Defence outlining the agreement that had been reached between various parties about the future of the dragway's lease. I have the notes of the meeting that made that decision. I have the notes of the meeting, just for Mr Rugendyke's benefit, because I know he was talking briefly to the Minister. Mr Smyth made a claim about a decision made by the Department of Defence about what to issue to the dragway in terms of a new lease, only five years. He made reference to a meeting held between different parties. Those parties, from the notes of the meeting I have, were the National Capital Authority, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the Department of Defence, the Canberra Airport Group and Airservices Australia.

Members should ask themselves: Where was the dragway? Surely this issue affected the dragway. Why were they not invited to attend a meeting at which their fate was being decided? Indeed, where was the dragway if Canberra Airport Group was represented at the meeting? Canberra Airport Group do not control this land. They are not a government instrumentality. They are a private company that just happens to hold a lease right next door. If they were invited to the meeting, why was not the dragway? You would expect that in the interests of natural justice all of the parties affected, including the dragway, would have been represented at the meeting, but they were not. So the meeting came to the conclusion that they would only offer the dragway a five-year lease. Well, how convenient. It is pretty easy to make the decision when the party most directly affected is not present.

That is what happened, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. The dragway was not invited to the meeting which decided whether or not they should be issued a five-year lease. The NCA were there, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority were there, the Department of Defence were there, the airport people were there, Airservices Australia were there, but not the people most directly affected, the dragway. How grossly unfair is that? It is completely unfair, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker.

I reiterate for the record that the ACT Government has obligations that it must fulfil under the dragway's lease. Those obligations are to determine that the land is not required for a Territory or national land purpose, and to set the rent and other conditions for the lease. Those things must be done if a new lease is to be issued. What has occurred is that the ACT Government has not made all the determinations. For what reason, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker?

The Government has not given us a reason why it is refusing to make these determinations. It has not given us any reason at all. Why has it refused to make the determination that the land is not required for a national land purpose? Why has it refused to make the determination that the premise is declared to be available for lease? Why has it refused to make the determination of rent and reappraisal of rent? Why has it refused to make the determination for terms and other conditions?

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