Page 295 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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Suspension of standing orders—private members’ business

Motion (by Mrs Dunne) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority.

That so much of standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent consideration of Notices Nos 1, 2 and 3, Private Members’ business, being called on forthwith.

Rural leases—Molonglo Valley

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.02): I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Government to—

(1) make an offer to the Coonan, Tully and Tanner families, who hold rural leases in the Molonglo Valley, that would provide the opportunity for these property owners to obtain reinstatement to another location and cover the full value of the lessee’s interest in the property under their existing lease conditions as per the agreement in November 2003; and

(2) ensure the families can resume the lives as per their current conditions and so that they can maintain their current lifestyle and business opportunities.

I thank members for their indulgence on this important matter. Mr Speaker, for the edification and information of newer members of the Assembly, this will be the third time, in a technical sense, or the fourth time that this matter has been debated in this place in just over a year. I will give a very brief amount of background.

Midway through last year, the Minister for Planning made a new disallowable instrument in relation to the granting of the rural leases which excised two rural leases in the Molonglo Valley from those which had previously been 99-year leases and turned them into 20-year leases. This was done in secret, by stealth, without consultation or notification of the rural lessees concerned.

Effectively, that meant that those people who actually had an older style lease—that is, a 50-year lease—could have turned it into a 99-year lease when that lease expired or at any time under the new leasing arrangements. They had not done so; so the minister essentially attempted to acquire their property rights by changing the status of the lease to a 20-year lease, which has significantly diminished rights from a lease that is for 99 years. In addition to the complete heartlessness, lack of concern and complete injustice of this move, it showed that the minister and his department have little understanding of the leasing arrangements that relate to older style rural leases of the type that operate in the Molonglo Valley and in a few other places, but mainly in the Molonglo Valley.

As a result of this issuing of a disallowable instrument, which is DI2003254, I moved disallowance. It was originally debated in this place on 23 October. At that time, halfway through the disallowance debate, the debate was adjourned so that people could go into a huddle and have a discussion, and it was brought back a week later.

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