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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 2017) . . Page.. 4082 ..


In conclusion, I urge all members of this Assembly to support my motion to ensure that we send a clear and unified message to the federal government that this privatisation is not what this Assembly thinks is the right answer for this very important part of the territory. I particularly call on my colleagues across the chamber to support my motion, because I believe your support will add to this unified approach, have a stronger impact on the federal government and ensure that this sends a message from the Canberra community rather than from a particular element of the political spectrum. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (11.46): I move:

Omit all words after paragraph (2)(c)(ii), substitute:

“(3) calls on the Federal Government to guarantee that any change of use of these significant assets will:

(a) ensure the heritage values of the East and West Block buildings are protected and maintained into the future;

(b) protect and promote public access in keeping with the spirit and intention of the Parliamentary precinct; and

(c) deliver value for money for Australian taxpayers and avoid repeating past experiences with the sale and lease-back of Commonwealth building assets; and

(4) notes that the ACT Government will:

(a) seek more clarity from the Federal Government on the process and safeguards associated with the sale process;

(b) take an active role in discussions about the future use of these heritage buildings to the full extent of the ACT’s powers and jurisdiction; and

(c) work with the Federal Government to explore alternatives to the outright sale of these assets, including long-term leasing arrangements.”.

I thank Mr Rattenbury for bringing this topic forward for debate today. It is an important one for the protection of our city’s and, in fact, Australia’s significant heritage assets. I can state that the ACT government will advocate for an outcome that does see the historic East Block and West Block buildings preserved and maintained so that they can be part of the future of the national capital precinct as well as, obviously, its past.

The East and West Block buildings are a major component of the Parliament House secretariat group, which also includes Old Parliament House. The buildings are a remnant of the relocation phase of the national capital, when they served as the seat of


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