Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 8 Hansard (4 August) . .
MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, the report on consultation for territory plan variation 347 shows that significant concerns were raised by nearby business owners, the National Trust and interested residents about the impact of future development on the Belconnen town centre and other surrounding retail and commercial areas. The recently approved territory plan variation will allow development to take place without developers having to pay the lease variation charge or comply with the multi-unit housing code. Minister, why is the government allowing the University of Canberra to unfairly compete with the private sector and other businesses?
MADAM SPEAKER: I am sorry, Mr Smyth, I could not hear all of the question. Could you repeat the question?
MR SMYTH: I can do it all again.
MADAM SPEAKER: No, just the question.
MR SMYTH: I can do it all again if you want me to.
MADAM SPEAKER: No, it is all right. I got that bit.
MR SMYTH: Minister, why is the government allowing the University of Canberra to unfairly compete with the private sector and other businesses?
MR GENTLEMAN: I do not agree with the premise in Mr Smyth's question. I do not believe that the government is allowing the university to compete unfairly with other businesses. It is a different scenario for the university and the work that it does for the territory. It is a learning institute and it is important that it is able to grow its institution through this variation. The government is very supportive of the university growing in the territory and, of course, bringing with it knowledge from other jurisdictions, including overseas, and the ability for it to have some income along with that.
The opportunity at the university is completely different from the opportunities that we would see in the Belconnen town centre, and we want to ensure that the Belconnen town centre has the opportunity to grow. With that, we are going through the Belconnen master plan as we speak and looking at opportunities for the Belconnen town centre to grow as well.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.
MR SMYTH: Minister, how will allowing the University of Canberra to develop commercial office space help the Belconnen town centre?
MR GENTLEMAN: It is about integration with Belconnen town centre around the UC. There are different opportunities, as I said in my first answer, for the University of Canberra. It will allow the university to bring some facilities along with it and help grow the university. We expect there will be job opportunities as well at the UC.
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