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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 334..

Planning and Environment-Standing Committee

Statement by chair

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella): Mr Speaker, pursuant to standing order 246A, I wish to make a statement on behalf of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment relating to the petition referred by the Assembly to the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment on 16 February 2006 concerning the expansion of the Woolworths supermarket in Mawson.

On 16 February 2006, the Assembly resolved that the petition presented that day concerning expansion of the Woolworths supermarket in Mawson be referred to the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment. The committee first considered the petition at its meeting on 28 February 2006. On 1 March 2006, the committee resolved not to inquire further into the petition and to present this statement to the Assembly.

The committee invited the Minister for Planning, Mr Simon Corbell MLA, to respond to the issues raised in the petition. Mr Corbell provided a detailed response on 28 February 2006. Mr Corbell advised that Argos Pty Ltd is a lessee of block 13 section 46 Mawson. A Woolworths supermarket operates from that site. The current supermarket is considered by Argos to be suboptimal and therefore Argos has applied to acquire block 24 section 46 Mawson. In support of the application, Argos also provided a range of planning studies which included consultation with the local shop owners. These studies supported the expansion of the supermarket.

Following extensive consideration, the government agreed to the direct sale, conditional upon a variation to the territory plan being undertaken in order to allow the expansion, as well as Argos meeting all costs associated with the proposed development, including the replacement car parking and infrastructure costs. Argos will also be required to pay full market value for the site, determined by an independent professional valuation.

Argos recently lodged a development application for the proposed expansion and it is currently being assessed by the ACT Planning and Land Authority. Once the DA is approved, the Land Development Agency will be in a position to grant a lease at full market value to Argos. A crown lease will not be provided to Argos over the replacement car park as it will remain in territory ownership.

The committee appreciates Mr Corbell's prompt response to its inquiries and is satisfied that due process has been followed in relation to the proposed expansion of the supermarket. The committee notes that several aspects of the petition were factually incorrect.

In July 2005, the committee had unanimously supported the proposed expansion of the supermarket in its report to the Assembly on draft variation to the territory plan No 255. The committee considered the consultation comments on the proposed variation that had been provided to the ACT Planning and Land Authority. The committee visited the Southlands Mawson Group Centre in June 2005 and discussed the proposed territory plan variation with stakeholders.

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