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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 22 February 2018) . . Page.. 570 ..

To restore the existing lease, including current rates and conditions, acknowledging the central place the DCC has in the suburb of Downer.

1.·Ensure the lease is signed before the existing lease lapses, to provide certainty to current and future community users.

2. Acknowledge and account for the excellent economic management and caretaking role that the DCC ha performed over the previous leases, including the running and basic maintenance of the facility.

3. Return to the Downer Community some of the money that the Government received from the sale of the Primary School and Community Zoned land to Community Housing Canberra·.

Pursuant to standing order 99A, petition 5-18, having more than 500 signatories, was referred to the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Tourism.

The Clerk having announced that the terms of the petitions would be recorded in Hansard and referred to the appropriate ministers for response pursuant to standing order 100, the petitions were received.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.02), by leave: I rise today as an ex-resident of Downer, and an ex-member of the Downer Community Association, which is the reason that I have pursued this issue so much. The Downer Community Association and other such groups that run the local halls in Canberra play a vital part in our community life.

It is really important that we have spaces where community groups and individuals who are holding bigger events can meet in their local communities. They do not have to be held in big, fancy hotels. They also have a function in life, but we need spaces in our communities where groups like the Majura Women’s Group, the playgroups, SEE-Change, and machine knitters can meet. They are all small groups, generally without any sort of government funding. The only government assistance they get is indirectly, via groups like Downer enabling them to have easy access to affordable, convenient facilities to meet in. This is an important and essential part of our community life.

The ACT government, in its wisdom, decided that ACT Property would do a review of the lease arrangements, with the aim of making them all more consistent and commercial. I can understand, from ACT Property’s point of view, that they would be looking at the number of square metres and what they should get for it. It made a degree of sense. From the point of view of the community groups that use and run the spaces, and particularly in the instance of Downer, they do an awful lot of the minor maintenance. When I was with the association, one of our members was incredible. He spent about half a day a week doing minor maintenance on the hall. It is a heritage-listed hall. I suspect that it would cost the ACT government more if they were to take it over and run it themselves than to let the community do an excellent job of managing bookings and looking after minor maintenance.

I think there are about 16 or 17 other groups as well as Downer that are in a similar situation where they are paying peppercorn rent and passing on the advantages of the

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