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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 5 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1816..


MS HUNTER (continuing):

ACTPLA what elements they would like to keep in place. While we commend the residents for this work on their own master plan, really the drive to revitalise these villages should come through leadership from the government. Government should allocate to specific officers the responsibility of working with the smaller communities so that there is a clear understanding of their needs, the infrastructure required and development proposed. This would ensure proper consultation and consideration of all issues when government changes are being considered for the villages.

One means of doing this would be with the proposed celebrations for the Centenary of Canberra in 2013. These villages need to be not only part of the celebrations but also part of future activities for generations to come. The ACT Greens urge the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope, and his cabinet colleagues, the Centenary of Canberra organisers and those entrusted with growing our city and region to listen to the pleas of community groups and residents from our local villages and to put forward a range of initiatives to revitalise our villages before it is too late.

It is important that we do not lose our links to where our European settlement and ongoing Aboriginal custodianship originated. The best way to do this is to devote time to planning for these areas, to promote local recreational facilities and to create tourism opportunities.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (3.28): The government welcomes this matter of public importance on the viability of villages in the ACT. The importance that the government attaches to viable villages is certainly evidenced, I think most starkly, by the lengths we went to in the wake of the 2003 fires to rebuild the three villages that were so severely impacted by those fires: Pierce's Creek, Stromlo and Uriarra.

But we went much further than that. We did not just seek to rebuild the villages. We ensured that what we rebuilt at the villages of Stromlo and Uriarra—and we were able to obtain approval from the commonwealth to rebuild—was truly sustainable. Villages that had been, in effect, small enclaves of entirely public housing were, through the vision that we pursued, to be transformed into viable and sustainable villages. It was, of course, and remains, a matter of some regret that the commonwealth, through the NCA, did not allow us to live up to that outcome at Pierces Creek that we sought to achieve at both Stromlo and Uriarra.

Nevertheless, our philosophy from the outset was clear. From an early stage, the government expressed its determination to rebuild the villages to contemporary standards so that the former residents could return if they wanted to do so and that new residents could consider buying into the rebuilt villages to enjoy a rural lifestyle.

In rebuilding Stromlo and Uriarra, the government took the opportunity to increase the size of the villages to maximise the use of infrastructure and services and thereby improve the viability of the villages from an economic, social and environmental perspective. The villages do now provide a lifestyle alternative for normal suburban


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