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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 532 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

the ACT is not high, let me tell you.

I think it was inevitable that we would have some excess to pay, or the premiums to obviate that excess would have been totally prohibitive. I believe the policies are adequate and are going to serve us very well. However, it is still the case that not everything was covered. The cost of replacing assets that were formally listed in our assets register, so all of our streetscapes that require replacement, and all of the clean-ups that are away from particular assets, will still fall to the territory. There will be significant costs and I cannot give a precise figure on those, as I have explained to the house earlier. I do not think we could have done much better on the insurance coverage.

At this stage, I have not considered a submission to the inquiry. At this point, I do not know that I would be saying anything other than "this is what it cost", in case that is part of the inquiry and has some impact on whether Mr McLeod says, "This is how much protection you ought to have for this value of assets". However, I think we have been admirably covered.

MRS CROSS: Minister, will the future of bushfire planning involve insurance considerations-and you did mention that we might have trouble insuring the pine plantations-and, if so, how do you intend to keep the Assembly informed of developments in this area?

MR QUINLAN: Certainly, we must, from this point on, review our position because our position will be reviewed for us by the insurance industry. I am sure that our risk management processes will be scrutinised in some detail before we get the cover that we have now. As I have said, I have no confidence that we would be able to insure the next generation of pine forests if we replanted the whole area. I think that is unlikely. Even the areas that remain standing are unlikely to be insured beyond the middle of this year, unless something comes out of the woodwork-excuse the pun-to provide that insurance.

I am sure that, when we set about trying to cover the other assets that are vulnerable to an event such as this, we are going to have to work very hard on risk management plans. I am very happy for any member to be briefed on the process of making sure that those risk management plans are put in place. They are going to have to be done before we actually go to the insurance market.


MRS BURKE: My question is to the minister for housing. Minister, ACT Housing tenants directly affected by the bushfires are being relocated to new properties. Why are such tenants, including tenants who were in advance of their rent prior to the fires, being asked for up-front payments of rent? Why are these relocated tenants also facing an increase in their rent when there has been no change to their financial situation?

MR WOOD: It is a matter that is under consideration, Mrs Burke. As former housing ministers would tell you, people pay market rent. The market rent at Uriarra, Pierces Creek and other places were very low indeed. It is not easy to maintain that level of rent.

My understanding is that rents-I have been looking at Uriarra figures, not other

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