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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 June 2005 2005) . . Page.. 2066 ..

regard to the Civic west redevelopment. Currently the Chief Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Planning are all claiming some responsibility for Civic west yet none of them seems to be prepared to answer questions on the issue and they continue to pass the buck.

It is time that one of those ministers took overall responsibility and offered a lead on the project. Given this fog of intention and lack of detail in the government’s commitments, I fully support the committee’s recommendation to include a representative of community organisations and other existing occupants on the City West precinct committee. I think at the very least the government should ensure that those organisations are brought into the creative thinking process at the earliest possible stage. I also call on the government to consider the community organisation’s request to be collocated in Civic west as well as their request for adequate space, the continuation of their rental rebate and security of tenure.

Mr Speaker, since I first came to Canberra in the mid-1980s the area known as the ROCS, the residents of Childers Street, has provided all kinds of services to people like me, for instance, who were new to Canberra and interested in environmental issues, because the Canberra Environment Centre is there and the conservation council. The ANU Food Co-op, run by the ANU Food and Nutrition Society, provides cheap and wholesome food for anyone who wants it. There used to be photo access. There was a Dance Street theatre but that burnt down. That area has a heart and a soul lacking in so much of Canberra. Therefore, it is absolutely important that we do not reduce Civic west to more sterile sites limited to housing, residential development and offices, which is a pattern we are seeing repeated over and over again in this city.

Although these requests may not be in line with the Treasurer’s comment about appropriate accommodation in highly valued real estate, it appears that I must remind the government of its community facility land use policy. The first objective of this policy states that the government will “ensure that adequate sites are available to meet community needs for community services and facilities in appropriate and accessible locations.” I hope to hear that commitment restated in the government’s response to this report.

I now turn to the issue of affordable housing. Page 64 of the City West master plan commits the government to ensuring that a minimum of five per cent of residential accommodation in Civic west is offered to low and medium income earners. While I acknowledge that the government has in the past taken some steps to improve housing affordability, although not necessarily in this budget, it is important that this commitment to provide that five per cent in Civic west does not slip in the face of the high land value.

It is a pity that in relation to affordable housing in Civic west the government and opposition did not agree with my recent motion to reconvene the affordable housing task force, which could have provided expert advice on the plans. And although I am aware that residential development in Civic west will not be fully implemented for some time, I fully endorse the committee’s recommendation that the government report annually to the committee on progress in meeting the five per cent affordable housing target for City West and the policies applied for meeting the target.

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