Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 26 March 2009) . . Page.. 1417 ..
they then put forward a series of proposals around how a bond might be paid and that the requirement would be that he would develop the facility even further, both on the commercial side, through his office developments—and also redevelop the pool.
The government did not accept that recommendation, so it did not allow that further process to occur. So there was no further development to hold him accountable to—which is the myth that is out there at the moment: that somehow there is a legal requirement for Mr Turco, because of the office development that he was allowed. That is not the case.
What is the case, though, is that he has a requirement under his lease and under the territory plan to maintain public access to a 50-metre pool. As I indicated in my answer yesterday, the additional piece of office construction that has been the subject of this conjecture about whether that was tied to an upgrade of the pool has not gone ahead. That is the distinction. Some office development has, but the other parts have not.
The important thing here, as I reiterated in my statements yesterday, is that Mr Turco will be in breach of his lease and the territory plan if the pool closes. My call this afternoon—I call on the opposition to join me in this—is this. I am writing to Mr Turco indicating that he can prevent the closure of the pool by waiving the debt that Deakin Swimming Ltd have to him. They are paying $14,000 a month in rent to him for a facility that is not maintained. If the opposition are fair dinkum about this, I will provide the words for Mr Doszpot to make it easy for him. He can write a letter in support of my letter to Mr Turco, saying, “Waive the rent and don’t charge Deakin Swimming Ltd any further rent until you have upgraded the facility.”
What that will mean is that the pool will not need to close. This is an argument between Mr Turco, the landlord, and Deakin Swimming Ltd, the tenant, over unpaid rent. What this entire debate is about is that Deakin Swimming Ltd, who have operated as a not-for-profit body—have operated the pool for Mr Turco—for a period of five or six years are being forced out because they can no longer meet their rent to Mr Turco. The solution to this problem is for Mr Turco to waive the rent, to waive the arrears and avoid falling into a situation where he is in breach of his lease and in breach of the territory plan.
That would be a useful thing that the opposition could do in support of me today, rather than this puerile opposition for opposition’s sake—the petty, political attack that we have become so used to from the opposition. Here is your chance to be constructive, Mr Doszpot. Here is your chance to make a difference. Support what I am doing here and do not reward a developer who has let his facility run down. Do not seek to reward him out of the taxpayers’ purse. He should waive the debt to Deakin Swimming Ltd. He should stop asking them to pay rent for a facility that he has not properly maintained.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary question?
MR DOSZPOT: Yes, Mr Speaker. Minister, your answer to yesterday’s question was “major office redevelopments which have not occurred”. Minister, did you mislead the Assembly?