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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4402..


Gungahlin town centre.

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, my question to the Minister for Planning, Mr Corbell, relates to the Gungahlin town centre. Minister, a survey published in this month's Gungahlin Community Council newsletter reveals that 91 per cent of those surveyed indicated that they would prefer a town square arrangement for the Gungahlin town centre rather than the present plans and designs. The survey yielded 794 responses. Minister, can you please inform the Assembly whether you believe this overwhelming community concern about the present design of the Gungahlin town centre is cause for concern. In your answer, minister, can you please identify what consultation processes are in place so that the people in Gungahlin eventually end up with a neighbourhood that they want rather than one which is imposed upon them.

MR CORBELL: I thank Mrs Cross for the question. I recently received a letter from the Gungahlin Community Council outlining the results of the survey Mrs Cross referred to in her question. I immediately sought advice from Planning and Land Management and the Gungahlin Development Authority on their view on the issues that have been raised in the survey, and possible responses to those issues. It is a matter that I am currently considering because I do take the views of the Gungahlin community very seriously on this, as on all other matters.

That said, it is important to reiterate that the design for the Gungahlin town centre has not simply emerged from off a planner's drawing board without a very significant level of community activity and consultation being sought. Indeed, planning for the Gungahlin town centre has been underway from around the mid-1990s when it was relocated from the grasslands areas where it was originally proposed to be built.

I can recall that there have been repeated sessions of community consultation on the design of the town centre, including the specific issue which is raised in the survey around people's concerns about the on-street nature of some of the retailing and the through traffic that occurs in the Gungahlin town centre.

It is interesting that this issue has come through in the Gungahlin Community Council survey because the Gungahlin town centre is designed the way it is because in the earlier consultation processes people said, "We don't want a mall."That is what people said when the consultation was undertaken in the mid-1990s, and I am sure my colleagues Mr Wood and Mr Smyth, who were previous ministers for planning, and Mr Humphries even, would be aware of that work. People said, "We don't want a mall. We want a more traditional, almost like a country street, shopping precinct with shops along the main street and traffic and activity."That is the reason the Gungahlin town centre is built the way it is.

That said, Mr Speaker, any survey is of interest to the government. I will be looking closely at its results and replying to the Gungahlin Community Council in due course.

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. I thank the minister for his answer. I'm puzzled if the people of Gungahlin said in the mid-90s that they did not want it.

MR SPEAKER: Preamble, Mrs Cross.

MRS CROSS: I know, Mr Speaker, that this is a preamble and that I should get to the question.

MR SPEAKER: Thinking out loud is sometimes allowed.


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