Page 5003 - Week 13 - Thursday, 12 November 2009

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granny flat. I believe these days the closest thing to this is what is called the habitable suite.

Mrs Dunne: I love the “habitable suite”.

MS LE COUTEUR: This is what happens if you have a house and you have got a disabled child or an ageing parent, someone with whom you have a caring relationship and you wish to house them in your house but with a degree of separation and privacy. You are able to build these suites but with a huge amount of red tape, because every year you have to go back to ACTPLA and demonstrate that you are still caring for this person, and when you build, you have to build it in such a way that it can be removed afterwards. I have a number of friends who have gone through this process, and it really discourages people—

Mrs Dunne: It is obviously designed to.

MS LE COUTEUR: You are probably correct, Mrs Dunne, and it is also because it is so discouraging that I think it is probably one of our laws which is widely not adhered to. Basically, the bottom line of the situation is that a house is only allowed to have at present one kitchen. You can have as many bedrooms as you want, as many bathrooms as you want, but only one kitchen—I guess it is good to know that the kitchen is the heart of the family, so from that point of view it is great.

It seems an area we could look at. We could look at the regulations again. Once upon a time, I think the ACT did allow second kitchens in some circumstances. We all know houses that have granny flats and things in them. There is a big need for this in terms of our ageing population, our ageing housing stock, more need in some cases for disabled people, or for students. Much student accommodation is in fact done this way. I suspect a lot of it is not done legally—and I think this is an area that it would be good for the government and the Assembly to do some work on. There are ways in which we can use large houses better than we do at present where the need for a large house is no longer there.

Not all of Canberra is like that, but particularly where I live there are substantial areas that are. I think that some policy development in this regard would be a step forward in terms of housing affordability and making better use of our land by implementing some very nice urban densification. Generally, I think it would be a positive move forward.

Engineering excellence awards

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (4.44): On 10 September I was honoured to be the guest of Mr Tom Brimson, President of the Canberra Division of Engineers Australia, and Ms Vesna Strika, the CEO of the Canberra division, at their awards dinner, the ACT 2009 engineering excellence awards. The evening was a glittering show of engineering know-how, both in the presentation of the awards as well as in the quality of the entrants. We saw represented quite a diverse range of products and projects, and, as the judges noted, the exceptional quality of all the entrants and the interesting submissions in the electronic areas were perhaps an indication of future directions.

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