Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 March 2004) . . Page.. 707 ..
MRS DUNNE (6.38): I rise to discuss the future of the Belconnen markets and the impact of pay parking on the markets and elsewhere. I notice that on 6 February this year the Chief Minister launched the Belconnen markets master plan. It showed some quite revealing things about the markets, which as a Belconnen resident of long standing I frequent fairly regularly. It is interesting to find that most people really enjoy going to the markets. Fifty-two per cent of Belconnen residents do their main grocery shopping weekly and 29 per cent do it fortnightly. And 85 per cent of Belconnen residents have shopped at the Belconnen markets in the past 12 months. Of those 85 per cent who have shopped at the markets, 42 per cent usually shop at the markets weekly. That is a very large proportion of people in Belconnen who go to the markets every week—so it is not just Bill Stefaniak and I—and 17 per cent once a fortnight and 15 per cent once a month. Ninety-four per cent of shoppers were satisfied or very satisfied with their shopping experience at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets and shoppers were keen to see—get this, Mr Speaker—improved parking and shaded parking, grocery stores and more cafes and eateries.
In the press release that went with the launch of the Belconnen markets master plan—I need to say that this is not a government master plan; it was actually a master plan put forward by the owners of the markets to create a way forward to make sure that the markets become viable—the Chief Minister talked about the Belconnen markets as being an important part of Canberra’s cultural and community history. But there was nothing about their future; he talked only about the past. Also in that press release the Chief Minister said, “The building of our city and community is a task that my government has taken to with vigour and is demonstrated by our ongoing successful program for refurbishing suburban shopping centres.”
Can you remember when? The only one I can remember going on at the moment is Higgins, and that was our idea anyhow. The whole issue here is that the minister talks about the past but not about the future. He said that the Stanhope government is committed to the revitalisation of the Belconnen Town Centre, but he did not say anything about the markets, whose master plan he was launching. In terms of actions, this government’s contribution to the future of the Belconnen markets seems to me to be entirely negative. They have ruled out the possibility of an Aldi supermarket there, and they have introduced pay parking, which means that the market car parks, which are private car parks and not subject to pay parking, are now full of commuters, leaving nowhere for the customers of the markets to park.
I have to question whether the government is committed to helping to keep the Belconnen markets viable or whether pay parking is intended to favour shopping at malls, because at the mall you can get the first two hours free, which means that local retailers in the trades area are now at a disadvantage—or is this just another unintended consequence of pay parking? I would like to see some guarantees from this government that one day the master plan for the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets might come to fruition, along with the supermarket that is part of that master plan.