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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 389

Mr Leo McLeay (GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES) - This evening I wish to raise a matter that comes within the jurisdiction of the Minister for Administrative Services (Mr John McLeay). It relates to an area in my electorate called the Addison Road Community Centre. Members of the House may not be aware that in 1973, 1 think it was, the Addison Road land which used to be the Leave and Transit Depot of the Department of the Army was transferred from the Department of Defence to the Department of Administrative Services, which subsequently conducted an inquiry into the community use of that land. It handed over the land, on a yearly lease, to the Marrickville Council for use as a community centre. For some years both my predecessor, the Honourable Frank Stewart, and I pursued with the Department of Administrative Services the question of the final outcome of the use of this land.

The Addison Road Community Centre, which is a very active and useful group in my electorate, also has been pressing both the State Government and the Commonwealth Government about the outcome of the use of the land. A number of migrant groups in that area are using the property, and a number of local community groups are using it as a community centre. They have not been able to get a long term lease. They have arranged with a bank in the Marrickville area for a loan of $50,000 to upgrade a community hall on the site but they cannot obtain the loan until they can get some form of tenure of the site or of the premises on the site. I have written to the Minister for Administrative Services about this matter on a number of occasions. My predecessor, Frank Stewart, also wrote to the Minister about this matter.

The absolute lack of information from the Department about this matter concerns me. I have what one might call a chronology of unanswered telegrams and letters to the Minister asking the simple question: Who owns the land? Is the Commonwealth attempting to transfer the land to the New South Wales Government? If it is, where does the land stand and who will get the lease? I have sent the Minister a number of telegrams but have received no reply. A few weeks ago I spoke to people in the Minister's office, who assured me that they would ring me back and tell me what the situation was. No phone call came, and I have continued to send telegrams to the Minister on the matter.

When people go to the trouble of arranging a loan from a bank, when they put up over a number of years with the lack of assistance and information from the Commonwealth about the use of a large parcel of land which has been used for years for community activities, it is rather appalling. The Government and the Minister should make a decision as soon as possible either to transfer or sell the land to the New South Wales Government, or to give it to the Council or to the community group. A decision needs to be made so that the people there who are trying to do a job for the area in which they live can get some indication of the future use of the buildings on the site and of the land. A number of old huts and Army buildings on the site are fire traps. Some of them have been burned down already. No one can insure the buildings because no one knows who owns them. The people find that the asset they thought they were being given is being taken away from them by the attrition of time.

I hope that the Minister will take note of the matter I have raised tonight in Parliament. I was rather loth to mention it as I had hoped that it could be dealt with by telephone, telegram or letter. Obviously that sort of thing does not get through to the Minister. I hope that he will make a decision so that the people who are using the land and doing something for the community in Marrickville can get proper tenure, thus enabling them to obtain the loan from the bank. I implore the Minister to make an urgent decision on this matter, and to show some common courtesy to the people of this community and their representatives on the Council and in the State Parliament and this Parliament by providing a reply to correspondence and telegrams.

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