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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2010 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

possibility that, once you got stuck in the ground, it was not a forever thing. I did not want to support the ultimate dual occupancy. I did not want to support a cemetery-like temporary accommodation process. I wanted to make sure that, once you were in the ground, you stayed in the ground-because that is probably the best place for it. But families have to have that degree of certainty.

This legislation actually does provide that certainty. Perpetual tenure of grave sites, it says, will apply in all current and future cemeteries in the ACT, whether public, private or anywhere in the mixture. It could be a joint venture-and wouldn't that be an interesting idea, hey?

I would urge the opposition to give some thought to passing this legislation. We can send it off to a committee, and all that will really do is delay the matter. And it will be brought back here again, dare I say it, as yet another live issue. But for what purpose?

We have had this on the notice paper for some time, we have had ample opportunity as members to go out there and solicit the views of people in the community with whom we have contact, we have had no great contact from the members of the public, from my office, anyway-some yes; I won't say there wasn't any, but not anything, for example, remotely touching the size of the firies inquiry, for example.

We have debated this before; we have debated it again. The time has come to just have some courage and actually pass it or knock it off. Sending it off to a committee for a gab-fest which is totally predictable is, I think, a waste of time.

However, if that is the only thing that will keep the crossbench happy, then far be it from us to deny them their hour and a half of glee. I would not want to do that. If that keeps them happy, then fine, but I can say with some certainty-and I will predict this-it will change nothing. It will absolutely change nothing. And it will not necessarily give people an opportunity to have their say that they have not had before. I urge the Assembly and the opposition to support this, to pass the legislation straight away. It is the opposition's legislation just slightly amended to ensure perpetual tenure. That is what it is.

Now, if people think that we have had a flick in our position-certainly, I have owned up to one today. I do in fact support the perpetual tenure, and that was not in the last one. So that is the major reason why I have said, "Yes, okay, I agree to it."

As I said before, the national competition policy is not a creature of this Assembly; we have no choice. I do not like it, the crossbench does not like it, and I am sure, in fact, the current opposition do not even like it, but we are stuck with it. In fact, this legislation does not create a private cemetery operator; all it does is remove the legislative restrictions to enable somebody who's game enough to want to buy a block of land in the ACT and stick people in it.

Well, I have to say, there is not a lot of land around the place, and it is not the cheapest thing you've ever seen, Mr Speaker. So I really wonder whether or not there is an entrepreneur out there who is going to buy a massive great plot of land-where is he going to do it? Tuggeranong? Sorry, that's full. Belconnen? Sorry, that's full. North and south Canberra? Tough luck, that's full too. What have we got then? Gungahlin; that's not full.

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