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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3264 ..

MR CORBELL: I ask a supplementary question. Can the Chief Minister explain how the ACT Government can afford the luxury of providing an executive on a base salary of $175,000 per annum, continuing to be paid by the ACT, to the Commonwealth for up to 12 months, and what does the ACT ratepayer get for it?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, if the officer involved was not working in the Commonwealth, she would have had a payout, because the job that she was in previously does not exist.

West Belconnen Temporary Resource Recovery Estate

MR HIRD: I will not denigrate people who work as servants of the Government or the people of the ACT. My question is to the Minister for Urban Services, Mr Smyth. Can you inform the parliament what the current situation is with the tenants at the minor industrial area located in a great electorate, that of Ginninderra, at the West Belconnen landfill? Are you, as it has been put to me, kicking out recycling business, Mr Minister?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I thank the member for his question. It is an important question, because the West Belconnen minor industrial area, which I am sure all members are familiar with, is situated on the land between the Belconnen tip and the New South Wales border. It was established some 20 years ago for a very important purpose and until recently has been managed by PALM. I am pleased to say that on 30 September this year the area was incorporated into the West Belconnen landfill lease. It will now be managed by ACT Waste and has been more appropriately renamed the West Belconnen temporary resource recovery estate.

ACT Waste are currently working on a management plan for the estate. That will include improvements to the area - tree plantings and generally tidying the area up. The area was originally established, I guess you would call it, as a business incubator. While it still operates successfully today, primarily the place was set up so that small businesses which otherwise might not have been able to secure an appropriate location somewhere else in Canberra could establish their operations legitimately. The minor industrial area of the Belconnen landfill offered many fledgling businesses the opportunity to get their feet on the ground, to set up, and then move on when it was reasonable.

Even today, with Canberra's main industrial areas expanding, the temporary resource recovery estate plays a key role in meeting that niche market. Over the years many businesses have come and gone. Some have moved on to bigger and better things, and some have decided that, given that they could not survive there, perhaps they were not meant to be in business, and that is very important.

Mr Speaker, several tenants have been there for some 20 years now. In the main the area provides short-term sites for businesses to get started. It provided accommodation for ranger operations, recycling, firewood, motor wrecking, worm farming and timber furniture recycling. It provides employment for about 50 full-time employees and about 14 part-time employees.

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