Crown Land Management (Life Lease Sites) Amendment Bill

16 Oct 2013 archivespeech

A speech in relation to the Crown Land Management (Life Lease Sites) Amendment Bill.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (16:56): I am not going to speak at length. I did speak in some detail when I introduced this particular bill and also in relation to the sister bill, the National Parks and Wildlife (Life Lease Sites) Amendment Bill, but I would just like to make a few additional remarks.

I would like to thank all honourable members who have made contributions on this bill and particularly endorse the contribution by the Hon. John Darley which I think outlines the history very well. I acknowledge his ongoing interest in this and the invaluable service that he has provided to a number of lessees in advising them on valuations and those sorts of matters that he understands better than most of us.

We had a rally today and I think we had well over 100 people. They came from the West Coast, so some of those people would have had a six to eight hour journey; we had people come from Mount Gambier at the other end of the state, so they had a 5½ hour journey; and that bus trip even included people who came from across the border from Casterton in Victoria who came to support the rally. I would like to thank all those people who have made the effort to express their democratic right to protest on the steps of the parliament and to commend the newly formed Shack Owners Association, in particular, president, Mr Geoff Galasch, and vice-president, Mr Brenton Chivell, because they have got themselves organised, as they necessarily need to do, in order to demonstrate how important this issue is to them.

One of the comments I made on the steps related to a series which I think has been produced by the ABC and has been on the History Channel. It is a show called Building Australia, which is narrated by John Doyle, and it talks about all the different forms of housing that have been unique to Australia. It devoted an entire episode to something called the weekender, and that features shacks. It also features some properties that are in national parks. People might not be aware, but if you happen to stay in a ski property on Australian ski slopes, you would be staying in a crown lease that is in a national park. I have not heard too many suggestions that all those properties should not be there, or that it is a dreadful thing that enterprises are there and people are making money out of them, but I might be straying from my speech.

In that episode I note that one of the unions in New South Wales set up a whole lot of shack sites because they recognised that families needed cheap holidays, and that was one way to accommodate them, so these shacks do form a part of our heritage and our history, and I think the attempt to blatantly just say, 'They shouldn't be there,' for reasons outlined by the Labor government, are wrong.

I would like to respond to some of the comments made by the two ALP speakers. I am not sure why they needed two, but that is up to them. They are correct in saying that local government does not universally support this measure, but it is a measure that enables councils to opt in, with the amendment that I understand will be moved by the Hon. John Darley, in conjunction with a ballot to be taken by the shack lessees to opt into this model.

I would be the first person to acknowledge that there are some questions that remain in relation to this bill, but there is a whole lot of other legislation that does not explicitly prescribe everything in great detail. It is almost like providing the opportunity for a contractual arrangement. Contract law is well understood through the centuries and that parties come together and reach an agreement that obviously will be for their mutual benefit. Some of those details are to be worked out.

I get very tired of hearing some of the arguments put forward by this Labor government and, indeed, some of the members of the department about exclusive waterfront land and lack of access. I would urge members to go and have a look and talk to some of the people who own these shacks. I cannot think of a single example where people are excluded from access to the beaches or the riverfront. I may have mentioned it previously, but within the Coorong there would not be access to Williams Beach if it were not for the shackies. They clear the path because there are no park rangers to do that work anymore. The shack lessees care very deeply for the environment. They go there because they appreciate it, and they keep the place tidy. They have often cleaned up vandalism and they look after those areas because they take great pride in it.

I did not actually hear the word 'elitist' used in one of the Labor member's speeches, but I hear the tones of it and I make the comment, why should anybody have a property on the waterfront at Glenelg, West Beach, Tennyson or anywhere else along the coast of South Australia? I do not quite see how these shacks are doing anything in particular that gives them exclusive rights. In any case, there are many environmental issues that will be addressed in terms of upgrading the amenities.

This is not some sort of random idea or amnesia, as I have been accused of by the Labor Party. This has been around since 2005 when Mitch Williams and I think even the leader here, the Hon. David Ridgway, advanced this bill in a very similar form. So, the Liberal Party has a longstanding support for shacks.

Members interjecting:

The ACTING PRESIDENT (Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins): Order! There is too much conversation in the chamber.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I also understand that in relation to when the Liberal Party last lost office there may have been proposals for further freeholding which was not signed in time for the election, unfortunately, and therefore some of these areas have missed out. But I do wish to congratulate all the shack lessees who have taken the time to participate. We wish them good health. Some of them are hanging on, given that they may well be the last person on the lease, but if there is a change of government next year, they will have our full support.

Bill read a second time.