Page 4006 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 30 November 2022

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This petition points out that the Belconnen Town Centre master plan in 2016 said that we should have a playground in that area, and we do not have a playground in that area. I have run a few questions through the parliamentary processes to find out more about this and the only answers I have got is that people can walk to John Knight Memorial Park. That is 1½ kilometres away. That is a really long way to walk if you are a three-year-old. It is not really the way we were hoping that the town centre would develop.

This particular petition is talking about the large hole in the ground and opportunities, and I understand that that site has been allocated. I think that there are a lot of people concerned about Margaret Timpson Town Park in general, and what our future plans are there, particularly when we are talking about facilities for young people and children, because a lot of families are moving into that area now. I think it would be great if we could get an update soon, but also get a bit more of a vision for what we are going to see in this Belconnen Town Centre. That would be very reassuring to a lot of people.

I would also like to note that I am really pleased to be in Belconnen. Belconnen Community Council is a really open-minded and progressive mob to work with, and they are not at all anti-development. There is genuine appetite to deal with the big problems that we have, which are housing affordability, climate change and where to put our people. I think there is just a bit of frustration that we are sometimes building housing, or building certain aspects, ahead of the game, without planning all the way through.

I will paraphrase one of the comments made by one of our Belconnen Community Council attendees at the last meeting I was at. She is in her 80s. Her primary concern was that she did not know where the 18-year-olds would be able to go out on a Friday night, and she did not know where the kids would go and play. I just loved that that was her major concern with development in the Belconnen CBD. I think there are a lot of people who are thinking about others, and hoping that we do a better job, moving forward.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.13): I want to thank the petitioners for raising the issue about Belconnen. I want to reassure Belconnen residents that your champions, Minister Berry and Minister Cheyne, have been making sure your voices are heard, including about the need for information regarding the site of the former Belconnen Health Centre.

In relation to block 45, section 54, Belconnen, there is currently a procurement process underway, so there is limited information that can be placed on the record, and limited information that is provided to government. However, I understand that the procurement and RFT is due to be finalised this financial year. Should a proponent be successful in this RFT process, they will engage in contract negotiations with the territory for sale of the site. As I said, there is an active procurement process underway that touches on part of the matters raised in the petition. With that caveat, the government will consider the petition in the usual way.

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