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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3611 ..

MR WOOD: There is a deal of information on that and I will get it to you.

Community fire units

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Mr Bill Wood. Minister, how did you determine which eight suburbs in Canberra were chosen to have community fire units?

MR WOOD: I guess you should rephrase your question "how was it determined"because I did not determine it. It was determined by a process within the Emergency Services Bureau. I do not know the exact details of that process but I will find out for you.

I do know, as your question hints, that there are other suburbs that would like to have been part of it. I know that some of my colleagues have asked why wasn't this or that suburb part of it. It is pretty obvious that the suburbs that were selected were certainly those adjacent to bushland, to the Canberra Nature Park or on the urban fringe, and they are all logical selections.

It is certainly the case that quite a number of other suburbs could also logically have been included, and residents in some of them would have wished that that had been the case. But I do point out to you that this is a trial program; it is not the total program. We are running this to see how it goes. My expectation is that it will expand but let us wait and see. In the future, Mr Pratt, you could be confident that other suburbs that are logically needing that sort of protection will be attended to.

Housing tenants

MRS BURKE: My question is to the minister for housing, Mr Wood. Why is the government planning to sell off the homes of ACT Housing tenants in various streets in Yarralumla?

MR WOOD: There has been a long-running program of asset sales by ACT Housing. It goes back into history. I guess someone sitting up in the back knows about that. ACT Housing sells and acquires properties all the time. We look around the place. I am involved on occasions with properties in fairly desirable areas, so-called, that are beyond their useful life and are sold. We can buy other properties as a consequence.

I do not know the particular program in Yarralumla. I do know that, as a general rule, a property is not sold if the current tenant is very keen to remain in that property. When I was sitting where you are, Mrs Burke, I had approaches from a number of people in Yarralumla when it was suggested to them by ACT Housing that property might be sold. The outcome of that was that there was a hold put on it. People had lived there for 30 or 40 years. One lady had lived there for 50 years or thereabouts and it was accepted that, after a very long term of residence, that house would not be sold. If you want to come to me with details about property sales that perhaps people are concerned about, I will certainly pay attention to that.

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