Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 619 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
issues is enormous, in the context of book value or replacement value-and whether or not we have sufficient land, for instance, in relation to housing.
This is an issue Mr Wood has been assiduously pursuing. Some of the issues in relation to the replacement of public housing stock and land are enormously complex. In relation to some of the issues, there is no fast response concerning our capacity to go out and rebuild the 80 or 81 public houses which were destroyed. We are grappling with those issues.
In relation to other issues, there is one issue the government has been required to respond to quickly. This is an illustration that goes with the need for this appropriation bill, and cuts across some of the doubters in relation to the need for, or the appropriateness of, this response. In relation to, say, rural fencing, perhaps hundreds of kilometres of rural fencing has been destroyed, and we are responsible for some of the roadside fences. In some of our rural areas, we have had a problem with roving stock. That is one of the issues which has made it difficult for us to open some of the rural roads.
The insurance issues in relation to parts of that will not be resolved for some time. What do we do? Do we sit back and wait until we have clarified the nature of the insurance, the extent of the claim and the amount of the reimbursement, or do we help rural leaseholders rebuild the fences, get the stock back off the roads-allow the roads to be opened, allow life to return to some normality, allow those rural leaseholders to get on with their business? These are the difficult issues we face.
That is a good example of some of the issues we have faced in relation to some of the funding requirements. It is not black and white. There are some pre-emptive decisions that need to be taken but, nevertheless, we are very conscious of process.
My colleagues have covered-off issues of relevance to their portfolios. However, there are other issues for which we have sought appropriation, which I know members have expressed no issue with, but which are nevertheless important. It is vital that we have them there. Illustrated are issues around, for instance, the clean-up. To the extent that my colleague, Mr Quinlan, has been saying, "You know, we think it is around $20 million, but it could go up", there is every real expectation that it will go up.
At the end of the day, when we are through the initial process, I think that one of the areas where we will find we have not covered-off the extent of the costs we are going to face will be around issues of clean-up and regeneration. I have driven, as have most members of the Assembly, to many of our rural roads. At Tidbinbilla, there are significant numbers of roadside trees which have been killed-essentially introduced species.
If one drives to the Cotter or Uriarra, there are dead trees now, trees that will not recover-most of the introduced trees. The radiata that were along our road fringes, which were very much part of the amenity of our rural roads, are now dead. Some of them are very big trees, which will be costly to remove.
I do not believe we have factored in any of those costs. These are second order issues that we will deal with when we can. We have undertaken a process of making our roads safe-removing dangerous trees to ensure that the roads are safe to drive on. There are