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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (12 March) . . Page.. 929 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Rural leasing in the ACT has had a long and sometimes chequered history which necessarily makes leasing arrangements quite complex. There are numerous reasons for the extended timeframes in finalising the leases, including whether some areas of public land should remain in lease and be managed under land management agreements; issues to do with a potential third dam and the requirement to retain withdrawal clauses to ensure that land can be made available should a third dam be required for the ACT; incorporating additional land into the new leases; the valuation process; and in some instances the responses of the lessees. It is quite a complex process the government has to work through.

Nevertheless, I would like to advise and assure members that the government has made a priority commitment to accelerating the finalisation of the remaining long-term lease offers. PALM has identified additional resources in the rural lease management area to assist with the preparation of the remaining offers. A range of government agencies, in particular the Australian Valuation Office, have made a commitment to finalising during April and May all those applications which are within the direct control of the government.

It is important to stress that it is a necessarily complex process. In some instances lease offers cannot be progressed until further information is provided by the lessee, but in those areas under the government's direct control we will be working hard to see these offers addressed during April and May, although there will inevitably be some that require further time, depending on the individual complexity of the proposal.

This is an important measure the government is taking. We think it is important to provide the opportunity of long-term tenure again to those lessees who are able to receive an offer. We will be progressing that matter as a matter of course. The government will be writing directly to those lessees who are eligible under the new arrangements, again making the offer of a long-term, 99-year lease.

Disabled people-taxi subsidy

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, in response to a question I asked you yesterday relating to the delay in implementing changes to the ACT taxi subsidy scheme, you said:

It is a fact, regrettably, that we did not meet the deadline, and there are a number of circumstances around that.

Minister, what are the circumstances that caused you to fail the disability community?

MR WOOD: Broadly, they were time constraints, Mrs Burke. There has been very intense effort across a whole range of government agencies in the first months of this year on a certain emergency that occurred. The major consideration was that. Disability was much involved in a range of areas. Housing was much involved. You may have caught up with the fact that Housing has had a great deal to do. The time scale was simply not able to be met.

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