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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (10 April) . . Page.. 892 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

long and lengthy debate in this chamber, no doubt. Also, my understanding is that the section of land that we are referring to-I suggest that Assembly members look at the section C1 overlays in the Territory Plan, specifically figure 14 and the Narrabundah exclusions from public land-is not public land. It is specifically excluded from being public land. I do urge all members to check the Territory Plan as part of this debate.

I understand that Animals Afloat is a small mobile nursery that works with children and community organisations as very much a friendship farm and that the current leaseholders have existed on the space in Narrabundah on a quarterly lease since 1985. I find it remarkable that any business would have to exist on a quarterly lease for such a long time, but this has been what has happened.

The proprietors of Animals Afloat have along come with a simple request, that is, to build a residence on the farm to help them monitor their animals more closely and to protect the land from vandals. That might seem like a simple request but, as we know, planning issues are incredibly complex, especially in this territory, and the debate that we are having today is just one small step in this very long and arduous process.

My understanding, as I have indicated by what happens under the land act, is that if this motion is passed and the direction is given to PALM, it will embark on the process of looking at a draft variation that will go to the Planning and Environment Committee for consideration, the Planning and Environment Committee will table a response to the Assembly and the Planning Minister will then respond to that report supporting or otherwise the variation. We are not prescribing an outcome.

The concerns about sewerage on the site and the impact on Narrabundah are all things that should come up under the draft variation process. We cannot pre-empt those things coming up and we cannot ignore those things coming up, but by not having a process at all we are not allowing the discussion to take place.

What happens to the land after this long process has been gone through? The minister could give it as a direct grant, which has been a matter of debate today, if the minister can prove that the public benefit and associated tests are met, or the land could go out through an open tender process. Those things are part of an outcome that we are not determining today. We are setting off a process. It may be an outcome in which Animals Afloat would be outbid. That is not the result that Mrs Dunne is advocating. I have discussed this concern that the outcome is not set in stone with the proprietors of Animals Afloat and I have told them that I am willing to support the starting of the process, but I cannot offer them a guarantee as to the outcome. This motion does not bind us to an outcome; it just initiates a process.

Mr Swan and Ms Murray, the proprietors of Animals Afloat, are definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place. Their current situation is unworkable, but they are willing to work through this process and they are committed to their animals and to their business. I hope that this process will take heed not only of the needs of Animals Afloat but also of the needs of Narrabundah and, more broadly, the Canberra community. I leave the last message to the Planning Minister: a timely consultative process is required.

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