Page 297 - Week 01 - Thursday, 17 February 2011

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MR SESELJA: Minister, why, more than a year after its introduction, are there still teething problems with the RFID system?

MR CORBELL: The RFID technology is a new technology in Australia, and the ACT is leading the way in trialling a form of technology that does not exist in any other jurisdiction in the country. That requires, obviously, a new level of knowledge being developed within the corrections environment, and I am very pleased that it is the ACT that is trialling this technology and developing it to ensure that it can deliver the types of capabilities that are very useful in a corrections environment.

Narrabundah long-stay caravan park

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister outline to the Assembly the government’s interim response to the Narrabundah park options paper?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. I am sure, and indeed I know, that all members of the Assembly are aware of some of the history of the Narrabundah long-stay caravan park. It is a caravan park that has been around for 30 years and over that time it has progressively evolved into a genuine community of long-term residents. It is a caravan park, but it has to be said, I think, that not many of the 102 sites are now occupied by a caravan. They are really what might be best described as semi-permanent dwellings of one sort or another.

The park has had a number of owners over that 30 years—initially, of course, the commonwealth, then the ACT government, then for a period Koomarri—when the then minister, Brendan Smyth, I think, quite callously sought to remove any oversight or responsibility for the park from the ACT government’s officials—and then the private sector. Of course, we all know the results of that brief period of private sector ownership—an eviction notice, I think, delivered to every single resident of the park, and then the subsequent actions taken by this government to ensure a future for the community and some certainty in relation to their living.

I think that decision—and it was a difficult and complex arrangement that was entered into to save the park and its residents from eviction—was a sign of the strength of this government’s commitment. Indeed, the commissioning of the options paper, its content and the government’s determination to now work with the residents to implement the outcomes of that particular study and the options are evidence of our continued commitment to the community. The options paper outlines a number of priority actions that need to be pursued and are recommended to be pursued and we will, in concert with the community, do that.

The objectives identified in the options paper are to establish a clearly defined process for identifying and addressing compliance and safety issues, to provide residents with security and certainty regarding the future, to adopt a best endeavour approach to ensure that no existing resident becomes homeless due to any proposed changes, to ensure that speculative commercial behaviour is managed as changes to the park’s operations are introduced and to ensure that the park continues to be a source of low cost housing.

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