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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2022 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

The Labor Party has considered the proposal put by the government that would allow for a deletion of that sunset clause and for the minister to instead establish a period in which application is to be made for long-term rural leases by disallowable instrument. We are satisfied that that is an appropriate mechanism to allow the government to properly assess those areas of the territory where offers of long-term leases have not yet been made and to ensure that leases are being offered over parcels of land which are not required by the territory for future development or other purposes. That is why we think it is reasonable that this bill be supported today.

The government have indicated that they still intend to stick by the period of 18 months for a lessee to make application for a long-term lease. They have also indicated that they intend to stick by the provisions of the act as it currently stands that require the lessee to accept or reject an offer within three months of an offer being made for a long-term lease.

Whilst these are not reflected in the amendments or in the provisions that the minister must address in relation to the disallowable instrument, we are confident-perhaps with the minister's assurance in his closing comments in this debate that the government does intend to limit the period to 18 months and three months respectively-that this bill is an acceptable way forward in addressing the implementation of long-term rural leases. In that context the Labor Party will be supporting it today.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (12.07), in reply: I thank the Assembly for their support for this bill.

There have been a number of unanticipated delays in making sure that the original leases were issued. Some of them relate to surveys and boundaries. In fact, the boundary of the Murrumbidgee Corridor and the Namadgi National Park was involved there as well. Some delays were to do with valuations from the AVO.

I am quite happy to give Mr Corbell the 18 months assurance that he seeks. We do want to process this quickly. We want to give rural lessees the certainty that they deserve, where they live in an area where a 99-year lease can be granted, that they do receive that lease. With the support of the Assembly, I ask that the bill be agreed to in principle.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

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