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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4431 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

site be used for adaptable housing suitable for people with disabilities and to meet the needs of Canberra's ageing population.

The government has been presented with a situation where the existing club is on the verge of closing and the prospect of an alternative club operating viably on the site is remote. If a club were able to operate successfully on the site, it would be likely to create other issues for the area, such as noise and traffic.

It is clear to the government that there is no appropriate long-term alternative use for the club site within the existing entertainment, accommodation and leisure land use policy, and it does not believe that the long-term operation of a club on the site is likely to be either viable or desirable.

The site is situated in the middle of a residential area. There have been complaints about noise from the club from surrounding residents. The site is located immediately adjacent to a school. The government believes that the land use policy should be changed to one which is more appropriate for the area and which delivers real community benefit in the longer term.

The government considers it is more desirable to see the site used for a worthwhile purpose-for some adaptable housing suitable for people with disabilities and Canberra's ageing population. It is the government's view that, without redevelopment, this suburban site would in all likelihood become derelict, an eyesore and of little benefit to the community. The government believes that is not an outcome that the majority of Narrabundah residents would want. The approach which has been approved by the government will ensure that the site continues to provide a benefit to the community.

In relation to recommendation 4, I have expressed concern in the past about development associated with concessional leases. For this reason I have directed PALM to undertake a review. In July 2002, PALM released documents providing for the tender of a contract for a full review of the concessional leasing system. The review will examine the various aspects of the policy and administration of concessional leases to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of the ACT community. The review is expected to report some time in the first half of the next year.

This is a very detailed and complex issue, and I want to make sure that the government has a good basis for dealing with these types of leases into the future. I believe that this study will provide an appropriate response to the committee's recommendation.

In the meantime, the government has adopted an interim guideline for the administration of these leases. Applications for consent to the transfer of a concessional lease, or for payment of the concession that applies to it, are now being assessed against that guideline. It is unfortunate timing, but the circumstances dictate that it would be unreasonable to hold off on the approval of this draft variation until the concessional leasing review is completed.

I investigated the opportunity of the government resuming the lease, and the advice I got was that, unless the club is prepared to surrender its lease, there is no capacity in the current circumstances for the territory to forcibly resume the lease. Therefore, the government has had to look at other options available. I can, however, assure members

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