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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3703 ..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

Copland and Gininderra to cope with the number of students in the Gungahlin area needing college education.

I think this is an issue the Connors inquiry brought up. In fact, Ms Dundas has also asked me a question about a school in Dunlop. It is a similar situation, where we have capacity in schools surrounding these areas. We have to consider that when looking at establishing additional infrastructure. There is a site allocated for a college in Gungahlin but, at the moment, and for the next several years, years 11 and 12 students can be accommodated in the colleges in Copland and Gininderra. In fact, a bus service is being provided from Gungahlin to Copland College to support that transport link.

MS DUNDAS: I note that there is to be a bus service; that is commendable. However, will you be monitoring retention rates for students based in Gininderra, because of the extra distances, to make sure that those who wish to are still completing years 11 and 12? If retention rates do become significantly lower for young people in Gungahlin, will you revisit the plans for the Gungahlin College?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, of course we will keep our eye on what is happening with students in Gungahlin. We will be doing that anyway, around a whole range of issues, and retention is one of those. If it is brought to our attention that there is a problem, we would revisit it. Certainly, though, at the moment, there are no signs that retention rates are suffering by needing to move into Copland or Gininderra Colleges. Yes, we will keep our eye on it. It is a good suggestion.

Rainwater tanks

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, I congratulate you on your announcement today that solar electric installation on suburban houses will be made easier, and I am hopeful that that will address concerns that our constituents have raised, and I have raised, about the difficulty in the past of installing such equipment so that it is invisible from the street front. I commend you for that. Can you advise the Assembly whether you are similarly going to facilitate the installation of rainwater tanks on suburban houses and specifically remove the requirement that such tanks not be visible from the street?

MR CORBELL: The government has moved to significantly reduce the red tape involved in getting approval for a solar hot water system on a house. Now I can say to the Assembly that, with the implementation of the new regulations, almost all solar hot water installations will no longer need a formal development approval. That is the result of work that has occurred in the Planning and Land Authority in the last month or so.

In relation to rainwater tanks, the government has asked the planning authority to look at that issue as well. The development controls around rainwater tanks are generally the same as they were for solar hot water systems, in that they require development approval, particularly for larger tanks. In the case of someone proposing to locate one in the front yard, the planning authority is proposing to provide me with further advice on that matter. I will be looking carefully at what steps can be taken to ensure that there is, similarly, a reasonable path forward for people wanting to install rainwater tanks in their dwelling.

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