Page 304 - Week 01 - Thursday, 9 December 2004

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Prior to 1996 there was no provision for any entitlement to a further rural lease. In 1996, section 171A was inserted in the land act. Section 171A established a procedure whereby the holder of a rural lease could, subject to payment of a fee and surrender of the lease, become entitled to a grant of a further rural lease of his land. Provisions were also included in the legislation that required rural leases to be granted only if the proposed lessee entered a land management agreement. These provisions also restricted dealings with leases. Further leases did not confer certain water rights.

I reiterate Mr Corbell’s earlier statement that the Assembly made, from time to time, changes to the disallowable instrument governing the grant of further rural leases. The changes included extending time frames for eligibility to applicants applying for favourable payment formulas. The latest disallowable instrument, D12003-323, was notified on 12 December 2003.

From the history of rural leases it can be seen that special policies and conditions were developed specifically to assist the government in developing the territory into the future. Mrs Dunne’s motion does not acknowledge this history, nor does it acknowledge that these families have not sought to renew or surrender their leases. The government is not seeking to acquire the lease. The government has in good faith made a generous offer to the lessee through an informal process. As that has not been accepted, there is no basis for further negotiations in respect of claims for recompense, which are in all the circumstances simply inappropriate, as the lease expires on 31 December 2005. I urge the Assembly to support Mr Corbell’s amendment.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.39), in reply: I will speak to Mr Corbell’s amendment and close the debate. I will just go back and refresh people’s memories about what we debated last year, and draw the parallel with what we are debating now. What we debated last year—I read it out before—was almost word for word the motion that we are debating today, and the reason for bringing the motion forward today in an almost identical form to the one that we debated on the last sitting day of the last Assembly was to carry over that commitment of the Legislative Assembly to those people.

Mr Corbell has done a number of things, but in moving his amendment today he absolutely and utterly reneges on every commitment that he has made to the rural lessees and to their advocates since November 2003. The terms of the amendment that he has circulated today are a complete abrogation of every commitment that he made in this Assembly in November 2003. He can say as much as he likes that that is not true. But people will see, if they read his amendment and what he said in this place on 18 November 2003 and read the motion that he agreed to in this place on 26 August 2004, how this man has walked away from his words.

The Minister for Planning said that this motion was fundamentally about improvements. It is not about improvements. This motion, like the motion that was passed in this place on 26 August and like the commitment that he made in this place on 18 October, is to ensure that families can resume their lives as per their current conditions and so they can maintain their current lifestyles and business opportunities.

Mr Corbell was so crass as to talk about money here today, and he did it in a very devious way. He said, “It was this much money, and that’s a lot of money.” Yes, it is

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