Page 3578 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 22 November 2022

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Richardson shops—leasing—petition 31-22

Development—block 6 section 88, Gungahlin—petition 26-22

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (10.18): I would like to speak briefly on the petition on the notice paper today relating to Richardson shops. As you would know, Madam Speaker, Richardson shops has long been an eyesore for local residents and a wasted community asset. Two months ago, I was contacted by a young mother in the area called Kathy, who was understandably disappointed at the state of what was previously her local shops, and she wanted better for her community. She shared with me how wonderful the local Richardson school is, for example, and her thoughts on how much nicer Richardson would look and feel if it had some proper local shops for its residents.

My team and I worked with Kathy to distribute the petition around the suburb so that other residents could have their say. I am very pleased to see that it has gathered over 500 signatures.

I understand that local shops such as those at Richardson do face particular obstacles. Obviously, the government cannot force businesses to take up residence in them. We have had in this place in the past many discussions about Giralang shops, for example. This is yet another example. Monash shops is another local example where there are some changes going on at the moment.

However, we cannot afford to put these local shops into the too-hard basket. We see the success of some, such as at Ainslie and Narrabundah, which are praised as a success. We need to look at what we can do to improve our local shopping centres. Residents in suburbs like Richardson deserve to have the same great local facilities as residents living in the inner north and south.

That is what this petition calls on the ACT government to do. They are not big asks in the petition. I hope that the government will be open to what is called for in the petition, because Richardson residents deserve better than what they have at the moment. They deserve bustling local shops.

I would also like to say a few words in support of Ms Orr’s petition on the lack of residential parking around developments in Gungahlin, which also relates to people needing to park in order to shop at local businesses, as Ms Castley spoke about. Obviously, I do not live in Gungahlin, and I do not represent the people of Gungahlin, but I can absolutely relate to the experiences of residents, because we have similar issues in some areas of Brindabella. For example, those living on Cynthea Teague Crescent and Oakden Street in Greenway have, for years, expressed their frustration about the lack of adequate parking provided to accommodate the influx of people from new high-density apartment blocks. Businesses—for example, cafes in the area—tell me that people struggle to get parking in the area.

Small businesses pay the price, too, for this lack of forward planning. Customers struggle to find a car park to be able to pop in and grab a cup of coffee. If they struggle to find a car park, they will simply go elsewhere, through no fault of the business.

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