Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 16-02-16 Contents Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - 2
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Editor: Meredith Clisby
Journalists: Georgina Connery,
Kimberley Le Lievre
Contact: 6280 2457
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ZONING CHANGES PASSED
Finalising of new rules clears Fluffy blocks for sale
The first cleared Fluffy blocks will be
released for sale in the coming weeks
after zoning changes allowing the
blocks to be effectively subdivided
were passed by the ACT parliament
More than 50 asbestos-
contaminated homes have been
demolished under the buyback scheme
but the government has been holding
off selling them until the dual
occupancy changes were finalised.
At present rules covering the
residential zone only allow dual
occupancy on blocks of 800 square
metres or larger and even then the two
homes can t be sold as separate titles.
The new rules applying to Fluffy
blocks will allow sections of
700 square metres or larger to be
subdivided and sold as separate titles
by the new buyers, a change designed
to maximise prices.
Most of the homes demolished so
far will fall within the new unit title
Also last week, the government
brought forward debate on its land rent
changes for Fluffy owners. The debate
was to have been held this week, but
the Labor party brought it
unexpectedly to the Assembly,
pushing the land rent changes through
at the same time as the dual occupancy
The move outraged the Liberal
opposition, which said Fluffy owners
had been denied the chance to watch
the debate and express their
Liberal deputy Alistair Coe said the
land rent debate had not even been
listed on the daily program and the
move to bring on a snap debate was
sneaky and designed to avoid two
Fluffy debates in two weeks.
The land rent changes allow Fluffy
owners who meet income thresholds
($160,000 for a couple) to rent their
land instead of buying it back. But they
will have to pay market value if and
when they can afford to buy the land in
future, unlike other land renters, who
are required to pay only unimproved
The move has upset owners like
Christina Pilkington, who is struggling
to find the money to buy back her
cleared Ainslie block for which the
government wants $725,000.
Planning Minister Mick Gentleman
said the government had brought on
debate on both issues to provide
certainty for Fluffy owners, whose
land could now be valued. Those who
wanted to buy back their land would
be given first right of refusal before the
blocks went to auction.
Mr Gentleman also raised the
possibility of a freeing up of dual
occupancy rules more widely in the
city, saying the government would
consult on the issue.
As it now stands, the only legal dual
occupancies in the main RZ1 suburban
zone are the granny flat style, where
the two homes must stay under one
title and cannot be sold separately.
CELEBRATING CANBERRA'S MANY CULTURES
Diversity champions back campaign
Mohammed Ali is one of the backers of the ''Diversity goes with our Territory'' campaign by the ACT Human
Photo: Elesa Kurtz
High-profile Canberrans are urging
others to get behind the ACT Human
Rights Commission s online
campaign, Diversity goes with our
Territory, and spread messages of
inclusion, acceptance and
It was inspired by the Humans of
New York Facebook page and was set
up to celebrate Canberra s human
rights culture while tackling issues of
racism that emerge between the
Local champions for the campaign
include 2016 Australian of the Year
David Morrison, professional tennis
player Nick Kyrgios, and Forum
Australia president Mohammed Ali.
Mr Ali moved to Canberra from
Pakistan in 1991 and said the ACT was
more tolerant than any place he had
lived or visited, which included
Nigeria, Germany, the United
Kingdom, USA, UK and France.
We are so diverse that I am proud
to live in this city, he said.
I have been here 25 years and
never have I had any problems. In my
own street we have seven nationalities
His work with Forum Australia
involves promoting respect for social,
cultural and religious diversity as well
as freedom of expression. Mr Ali was
recently awarded the outstanding
Volunteer of the Year in the ACT
Multicultural Award for his
According to the 2011 census,
nearly one-third of Canberrans were
born overseas, a fifth spoke a language
other than English at home and 1.5 per
cent of residents identified as
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait
Cultural diversity was seen as
positive by 95 per cent of people.
However, research from the
University of Western Sydney showed
ACT respondents were never the least
likely to have experienced racism and,
compared with other states, were the
most likely to have been disrespected
based on ethnicity.
Prior to the campaign launch, ACT
Human Rights and Discrimination
Commissioner Dr Helen Watchirs said
a minority of Canberrans reported
cases of discrimination, such as being
turned away from clubs due to race.
But she said high-profile champions
and social media had been powerful
tools in persuading people to look
beyond the label.
The campaign s social media effort
attracted 50,000 engagements from the
Human Rights Commission s tweets
since it kicked off on the United
Nations International Day for
Tolerance in November. The
#Diversitygoeswith hashtag had been
included in nearly 60 tweets.
Dr Watchirs was keen to have
General Morrison on board and said
she expected some of the backlash he
had copped since becoming Australian
of the Year.
See the champions profiles at
diversity.hrc.act.gov.au and support
the campaign with the hashtag
to be extended
The government will extend smoking
bans in Canberra, allowing the health
minister to declare public spaces and
events smoke free, Chief Minister
Andrew Barr has foreshadowed.
Outlining his agenda for the coming
months, Mr Barr said the wider
smoking bans would fulfil an election
commitment. It is understood the
proposed legislation will not declare
new smoke-free areas but will instead
empower the health minister to declare
Proposals released for comment late
last year envisaged banning smoking
at public play spaces and playgrounds,
skate parks, bus stops, the entrances to
public buildings, sporting events, and
privately owned outdoor pools.
The government is focused on areas
where children spend time and on
outdoor places where people cannot
easily move away from smokers
without leaving the event.
Smoking is already banned in
enclosed public places, in outdoor
restaurants and bars, at underage
music functions and in cars when
children are present. Smoking is also
banned on the grounds of ACT
hospitals and health facilities, at the
Australian National University, at
Manuka Oval and at the Bruce stadium.
But the ACT has fewer smoke-free
areas than many other states, with
most other states already creating
smoke-free areas at playgrounds, bus
and train stops, building entrances and
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