Page 695 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 March 2005

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As I indicated in my closing comments during the in-principle stage, these two amendments simply provide clarification as to how optometrists will conduct their business in relation to their ability to prescribe certain medications. It clarifies, first of all, that the optometrist only supplies medications in the context of their professional work, their day-to-day work as an optometrist, not in any other capacity. Secondly, it makes clear that optometrists are not seeking to act as a retail outlet for medicines and other prescription medications. It is a clarification made at the request of both the optometrists board and the pharmacy board and I seek members’ support for it.

Amendments agreed to.

Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Rural Leases

Ministerial statement

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning): I seek leave to make a brief statement.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, I refer members to my speech in the Legislative Assembly on 9 December last year in response to a motion by Mrs Dunne regarding rural lessees seeking compensation for their rural properties in the Molonglo Valley.

For the information of members, and following some representations from parties involved in this issue, I would like to clarify a comment I made about the earlier acquisition of rural properties in the ACT by the commonwealth and the without prejudice negotiations with a number of rural lessees in the Molonglo Valley. In my speech I indicated that, for rural properties, the full rights to the lease were purchased by the commonwealth in the 1970s. While the commonwealth was still resuming both residential and rural freehold properties remaining in the ACT in the 1970s, for the Molonglo rural blocks specifically, this compensation process had, in fact, occurred prior to the grants of the 50-year rural leases in the 1950s.

Mr and Mrs Coonan purchased their rural rental lease in the Molonglo Valley in the 1970s when it was transferred from the then lessee, together with the existing tenant improvements. The point I was seeking to make was that their eligibility for any compensation should now only reflect the provisions of the lease they purchased, not any prior freehold title or lease that had been acquired many years before by the commonwealth, at which time compensation was paid by the commonwealth for land and improvements.

For the Coonan’s property, the commonwealth improvements, excepting some fencing, were sold back to the rural lessee in the current 50-year lease and that is currently the issue being determined for the amount of compensation due, should the lease be surrendered or expire. In this case, it is not appropriate for the government to compensate

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