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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2665..

MR WOOD (continuing):

been involved; not least, might I say, the recently rather maligned Planning Authority, which has been working very hard, without the adequate resources, on this proposal for quite some time. While it had consultants of a high calibre also doing work, the result is a credit to the authority.

I have a particular interest in this matter because the work originated in my time as Minister. I set out with a very personal objective, although I did not wish to override community views. I was delighted in the end when the views that I had in my mind were also the views expressed by the community, after broad consultation, and the views coming through in this proposal as expressed a moment ago by the now Minister. We do hope that this is a different centre in many ways. We hope that there is no mega ownership that brings the problems that we see persistently at each of the major malls. My colleague Mr Berry was indicating conversationally a few minutes ago that the proof will be when people turn up to this centre and it is different. I expect that it will attract people from all over Canberra because it is a very different centre. At the present moment you could find yourself in any one of the four major malls in this town and you would have to think where you were because they are all pretty much identical. The shops are the same; the same names are on top of every door; there is very little variety. I hope that the nature of design and the nature of ownership of this centre will see that we get a new, diverse and different range of shops that will attract people.

I hope that, as the planning proceeds, the financial pressures will not see the centre surrounded by car parks and that we can find other means of accommodating the parking. That is going to be a difficult decision for someone in time, because it will be much more expensive to arrange for car parking in a better way. I do know - no matter how much we might like to say otherwise - that people will want to be able to park as close as possible to the shops that they are going to. We might talk about public transport, but the people will want to drive their cars to that location. It will be a measure of failure if this town centre finishes up like others - in the middle of a sea of car parks. I believe that the process thus far has been excellent. We now have a centre on the drawing boards that I believe will be a pacesetter for the rest of Australia and will perhaps show people in other parts of the world what is good in new shopping centres. It is going to be new, interesting and different.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning): I seek leave to make a short statement on something that I meant to mention in my earlier remarks.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank members. Mr Moore did ask me particularly to respond to the issue in the report of the closure of access to cars. I indicated that I would take that on board. I will do so. The committee has raised in this context the question of what impact cars have on centres of this kind. Of course, it is true to say that every other town centre in the ACT now has a policy of excluding cars from the very centre of it.

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