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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3742 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

a signal. We would hope that the withdrawal clauses will be rigorous and clear enough to ensure no dispute in the event of the Territory needing to withdraw land for a new dam.

An easier way to go about it is to maintain those leaseholders on a shorter lease; to have the option more available to the Government within the anticipated timeframe. I understand it is around 30 to 40 years, for the withdrawal of land for a new dam. I do accept that there are many legitimate arguments over uncertainty of tenure for rural leaseholders in the Tenant and Booth districts. We will be looking very closely to make sure that, in return for the grant of 99-year leases for leaseholders in Tenant and Booth, there will be sufficiently rigorous withdrawal clauses to protect the Territory's - indeed the community's - interest should a new dam be required at that site.

My last point is related to the issue of Tenant and Booth. That is the area of rural leases at Pialligo. This is an area where the Territory could very well in future seek to withdraw land for territory purposes beneficial to the community overall. In Pialligo it relates clearly to the development of a transport hub and the possible route of the very high speed train.

I am pleased to see that the Government has been prepared to compromise with Pialligo leaseholders on land for withdrawal from rural leases and is proposing designated areas within specified Pialligo leases where land can be withdrawn. Outside of that area, land will be acquired under the Lands Acquisition Act. This would appear to satisfy our concern that the proper planning of developments in the Territory is not hindered by problems with leasehold administration. I commend the Government for its preparedness to negotiate with Pialligo leaseholders in this regard.

These Bills are significant and will provide a range of benefits to rural leaseholders in the ACT. It is a complex process. We will deal with some of those complexities in the detail stage shortly. There will be some rural leaseholders who will be unhappy with the overall outcome of these Bills. On balance, having considered all the issues, we believe these Bills are beneficial. They will result in greater security of tenure for all rural lessees and a better process for leasehold administration in rural areas of the ACT.

MR KAINE (4.33): Mr Speaker, it is clear that the provisions of the two Bills we are debating are controversial. They affect the rights of existing lessees. I have been approached over recent months by various interests, by the Rural Lessees Association, by individual lessees and by the ACT Sustainable Rural Lands Group. They have raised material questions that the Government should not set aside lightly. We need a response from the Government on some of these points before we vote on these Bills in the in-principle stage. I have not had the opportunity to verify what is stated in the information I received only today, but it appears significant. We would want to be satisfied by the Government that these concerns have been, or will be, addressed before we vote on this legislation.

The advice comes from the ACT Sustainable Rural Lands Group. I understand it has attempted to brief the Minister on its concerns, without too much success. My understanding is that his advice to them was: "Go and get some formal legal advice on

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