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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3266 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Aussie Junk made it clear that they did not wish to exercise that option for an extension with a fair and reasonable rent for the site when it became due. So they got the kick-off and then they left. They subsequently handed the site back on 30 September when their licence expired. Of course, that was their prerogative.

Mr Hargreaves seemed to be insinuating in his comments last week on WIN news that we were kicking out viable legitimate recycling businesses. I think Mr Hargreaves might like to know a little bit more about Aussie Junk, because he has clearly got the wrong details. This is a firm from Wagga. It is based in New South Wales. What were they doing at the West Belconnen site? They were storing material. They were using it as a storage area. Aussie Junk was not making maximum use of this site, as the site was not staffed full time. They were conducting minimal business on the site, despite the intention being that it would help businesses grow.

Where were the jobs? You have to ask whether this was a productive and effective use of this site. It is not surprising that Aussie Junk decided that, instead of paying a fair rent for the land they were occupying at West Belconnen, they would move on, having taken advantage of the site, which was considerably cheaper than commercial premises at, say, Fyshwick, Mitchell or Hume, or just putting their stuff in U-Stow-It.

Mr Speaker, as of 30 September this year five-year full commercial rate licence agreements were accepted by all existing tenants to whom offers were made, and similar agreements were negotiated with the other recycling tenants who had been on the 12-month peppercorn rent. Who did not make a new agreement? Aussie Junk was the only tenant who knocked it back.

We certainly are not kicking anyone out of the industrial estate with, as Mr Hargreaves would have people believe, massive unfair price hikes that discourage fledgling companies from making it on their own. We gave them the initial year at $1 peppercorn rent to get them going.

ACT Waste has additional applications from businesses eager to get on the site. I think something like 16 are on the list of people who want to get in. We have a waiting list. People are knocking on the door to get in, but we do not have enough sites for them at this time. Clearly these sites are much in demand, contrary to what Mr Hargreaves has said. All businesses should be willing to pay a fair and reasonable rent for the land. Clearly we have a lot of businesses keen to do that.

Mr Speaker, this is going a long way to helping create jobs, helping close the loop on recycling and helping to meet the no waste by 2010 strategy in the ACT. As always, Mr Hargreaves is just wrong.

MR HIRD: I ask a supplementary question. Would the Minister be good enough to table the list that he has referred to? I think that would assist those opposite as to who is there and who is not there. I find it very curious that Mr Hargreaves has got it wrong. Would this be the first time that he has got it wrong?

MR SPEAKER: Order! The second part of the question is out of order.

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