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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 3 Hansard (9 March) . .

Page.. 837..


I reiterate: the government does not build group centres; the government does not build shopping centres. The government will work in partnership with the private sector to deliver the land. There are times when the private sector has not yet been able to make the investment to build the infrastructure the community needs. It is a shared responsibility and one that the government is working hard on delivering.

MRS JONES (Molonglo) (11.48): The Canberra Liberals will not be supporting the amendment, and I am happy to speak and close. I thank Minister Fitzharris for her enlightening analysis of Liberal Party requests of the government. I remind her that no private entity can build anything on ACT government land without government approval and a process for that to occur. And I remind the minister also that this group centre will clearly not occur until the planning process is done and the land is released.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Canberra Liberals asking when that will be achieved. She can pick the semantics apart, and she is very welcome to do it, but it does her no favours in the Weston Creek community if I am reiterating what she is saying in this place to them—that her problem is with the method by which we asked when the government will get this group centre done.

The group centre at Amaroo is being built 20 years after people moved in. I lived in Amaroo for about five years, had no group centre, and moved out. Children have been born and grown up there and there still has not been a group centre. That is not the private sector's fault. It is an illogical and silly stretch to say that the fact that the Canberra Liberals are asking when the government will get around to solving these problems is somehow illiberal.

The community deserves confidence. The community needs to know when these facilities are coming, even with a rough time line. The government do themselves no favours by refusing to even make a statement about which decade this will happen in, as if they do not have a plan for when that will happen, as if for the past 15 years there have not been group centres built and planning done for new areas. They should have learnt from their experiences in Gungahlin roughly how long these things take, roughly how long it takes for the population to get to a point where a group centre is viable, and started making some basic statements about that.

The people of Weston Creek are utterly sick of the sight of a car park where they cannot find a spot. The group centre management, the Cooleman Court management, says in regard to parking: "We used to pride ourselves on being a convenient shopping centre. However, due to the new Molonglo division, we are now catering to a large trade area, and our car park is not coping and it is reflecting in our sales. We are having a lot of customers complain that they are going elsewhere and they are driving around and around and not getting a car park. Our core demographic is over 55. Our older customers are having trouble parking further and further away, making their way to the centre with walkers or walking aids as our disabled spaces are limited. Other retailers are not operating within the centre and also use the centre car park, like the McDonalds and other surrounding retailers in the vicinity. After 9 am, the car park


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