Page 1445 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—Gugan Gulwan

MR MILLIGAN: My question is to the minister for Indigenous affairs. Minister, the offices of Gugan Gulwan are in desperate need of repair, but it turns out that Gugan is required to foot much of the bill for repairs themselves. This includes paying the first $500 for any maintenance carried out by property group—sometimes up to twice a week with ongoing problems with the building; paying the cost of wiring to replace the lighting because of ongoing issues—a bill in excess of $6,000; and the cost for graffiti removal as well. There are many additional costs that need to be met by Gugan due to the age and disrepair of the buildings, repairs that should be carried out by property group or that could be remedied by providing them with a new building. These are issues that are not new but which have been going on for some time. Minister, why is it that Gugan is required to pay these additional repair costs, costs traditionally covered by a landlord?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Milligan for his question and for his strong interest in Gugan. I know that he was out there this weekend. I hope he had a good meeting with the community out there. Mr Milligan is correct in stating that Gugan is required to pay the first $500 of any maintenance costs. The reason for that is that it is part of their lease agreement. They are on a peppercorn lease. While it would normally be the case if you are paying full rent that the landlord would pay for maintenance, the peppercorn lease agreement with Gugan is that they pay the first $500 of each maintenance cost.

Currently the average yearly maintenance and utility costs for the centre are about $35,000 of which, as Mr Milligan correctly noted, Gugan pays about $6,000 and the ACT government pays the remaining $29,000. Recent work in this area includes a kitchen upgrade, replacement of lighting with energy efficient LED lighting and tree trimming. An electrical and security audit has also been undertaken.

Community Services met again in April as part of a routine service visit. As Mr Milligan has noted, there has been an ongoing discussion with Gugan in an attempt to find new premises for them. I understand that ACT Property Group will be showing Gugan Gulwan a property in Greenway in the coming weeks. The Community Services Directorate has been working in an ongoing way with Gugan Gulwan to ensure that they understand the requirements of property group in this process.

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, why has it taken so long for the property group to get on top of the many repairs and issues at the Gugan Gulwan premises?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Milligan for his supplementary question. I have asked the same question myself. I met with Gugan in December last year and I have had an ongoing conversation with the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. The office met with ACT Property Group on 6 March to discuss maintenance and accommodation issues on the current site. It was noted at that meeting that ACT Property Group regularly meets with Gugan staff and that all maintenance issues

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