Page 170 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 9 February 2022

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We have also regularly invested in improving, upgrading and expanding these facilities. In the 2021-22 ACT budget, we are continuing to deliver upgrades for the Tuggeranong and Mount Rogers community centres, as well as funding temporary community facilities at Coombs for the next five years, until we build more permanent facilities, which we have also committed to as part of a combined community centre and library. Ms Orr mentioned that we are also looking at building a new community centre in Gungahlin. There is more that we can do in this space as we meet the needs of our emerging communities.

Key community partners like ACTCOSS have noted that many parts of our community property portfolio are ageing, and increasingly not meeting the current expectations of tenants, particularly in terms of things like thermal comfort and energy sustainability.

As our city grows there will be an ongoing requirement for more community spaces to keep up with our communities’ needs. Gungahlin is certainly one of those, and I appreciate the focus in Ms Orr’s motion in that regard. Molonglo, of course, is another one. We are looking forward to the Denman Prospect community centre opening in March, in my electorate of Murrumbidgee.

We also need to look at areas where community service needs are growing, as more people call those areas home, in existing areas where there are demographic changes occurring. That is why we are undertaking a review and assessment of current Property Group facilities, to gather some baseline data about their location and concentration across Canberra, the current building quality, and their expected future life span. We have recently commissioned an assessment, starting with the regions of Woden and Belconnen, of areas for future work. It will review in more detail the tenants of these community facilities—who they are, what they need, and how well our current portfolio of properties meets that need.

This is the first step in delivering a forward plan for the growth and renewal of community facilities in the coming years. Based on feedback from our tenants and community groups, we already know that the portfolio is not meeting community requirements in some important ways. For example, community facilities spread out across the suburbs are not co-located with other services in and near our town centres or in areas well serviced by frequent public transport, in some circumstances. That can be challenging for service organisations which deliver supports like services to help people to remain in their homes, mental health services, disability services and family services. Big halls and old classrooms often are not the best-designed spaces for doing office work or sensitive casework.

As we work towards Canberra being a zero emissions community by 2045, the environmental performance of our community facilities also needs to be addressed. Many of our current facilities have older and inflexible gas heating, ventilation and cooling systems, and poor insulation, making them less comfortable for tenants, expensive to run and more polluting than alternative new facilities.

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