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Bushfire homes being rebuilt despite costs

By Kerces - 18 January 2006 0

The Phoenix Association said yesterday that soaring building costs have slowed rebuilding homes destroyed in the 2003 bushfires.

However Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said today more than 90 per cent of the homes destroyed in urban Canberra had been rebuilt or were in the process of rebuilding.

Richard Arthur, president of victims’ group the Phoenix Association, said that although many householders were under-insured, there has also been a steep increase in construction costs.

“The main problem is building costs,” he said. “Even people who have bought vacant land and you would think would be in a position to to build haven’t done so and the reason I’m told is that they can’t afford it.”

Mr Stanhope said the latest figures showed that 97 per cent of those who had lost suburban homes had either sold their block, rebuilt or were in the process of doing so.

“January 18, 2003 was a traumatic day for Canberra,” Mr Stanhope said. “Homes, and lives, were lost. Three years later, we see suburbs – and communities – recovering.”

He said only 11 owners of the 374 suburban houses destroyed in the fire were yet to make a decision on the future of their block. One hundred and seventy seven original owners chose to sell their land and all but 20 of these sold blocks have redeveloped or begun the redevelopment process.

Nearly all of the destroyed public housing properties which can be rebuilt, have been rebuilt and a tender for the rebuilding of the Stromlo and Uriarra settlements is under discussion.

Mr Stanhope also said the ACT Government was pressing the Commonwealth to agree to a sustainable village at Pierces Creek. Jacqui Burke had a whinge back on Monday that Ted Quinlan had said the government “might” discuss the plight of Pierce’s Creek, a position she said was not good enough.

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