Page 1359 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 April 2013
MADAM SPEAKER: I actually get to rule on whether the question is hypothetical.
MR BARR: That is my response, Madam Speaker: it is a hypothetical question.
MADAM SPEAKER: That is your response to the question?
MR BARR: Yes, Madam Speaker.
MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development. Minister, as you may be aware, one half of a duplex at Fraser Place, Yarralumla, was demolished approximately eight months ago to make way for a new residential building. This action has caused unbearable hardships to the neighbouring property owners. During the demolition on the site, damage has occurred to the remaining half of the duplex, rendering it uninhabitable and uninsurable. This has placed enormous financial burdens on the neighbours of the formerly attached property. Minister, can you please explain if this was an “exempt development”?
MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Doszpot for the question. My understanding, and I will check the record, is that it was not exempted.
I have significant concerns about what has occurred in relation to this matter. I think the imposition on the residents of the adjacent part of the duplex that is still standing has been unreasonable and unfair. These are matters that need to be resolved. We are dealing with quite a novel situation for the territory. I am aware that officials of my directorate have been in constant contact with other residents of the duplex concerned. I understand that they have assisted those residents to negotiate with their neighbours around how these matters should be rectified, and there has been a mediation between the two parties and an agreement entered into.
As a result, my understanding is that the relevant officials in my directorate continue to speak with the residents of the duplex concerned. They continue to seek to ensure that the mediated agreement between the two neighbours is put into effect. If it is not put into effect, other actions are possibly available to officials to deal with this most unsatisfactory circumstance.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.
MR DOSZPOT: Minister, can homes with a common wall be classified as an exempt development for demolition purposes?
MR CORBELL: It is quite a technical issue. I will take the question on notice and provide a definitive answer to Mr Doszpot.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Coe.