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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1731 ..

I find it very hard to believe that the ministers and the members opposite have not received dozens of emails over the years from people in Dunlop asking about the situation. Why doesn’t Mr Stanhope know about it? Why doesn’t he? Why? It is probably because he does not care. He simply does not care. My motion calls on the planning minister to provide the Assembly with some information in a timely manner. He should be able to provide all the information by next week, and that is why my motion says “by 14 May”.

I want to know when the construction of the shops will commence, when the shops will commence trading, how many parking spaces there will be, how big they will be and whether there will be any indoor space available for community use—for example, for a hall or meeting rooms. I also want to know whether there is scope for a childcare facility in Dunlop and whether there will be any other community facilities in the suburb.

Of course, as set out in paragraph (2)(b) of my motion, I want the government to actually work with the developer to make this happen, and to make this happen quickly. However, given the evidence, given the information we have heard, I think it is very unlikely they will do so. Hopefully, by this motion being on the agenda today, and hopefully by this Assembly passing it, it does put pressure on the government to change the way that they react, to change the way they approach the situation and to change their attitude to the people of west Belconnen.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (11.21): There are a number of misconceptions in Mr Coe’s motion and in his speech that need clarification in order for the Assembly to properly consider the matters this morning. The government agrees retail and community services are of vital importance to the social fabric of our suburbs and that these services are highly valued by residents and in many ways provide the glue which cements communities together.

From what we have heard from Mr Coe, it does appear he is aware that the development application for commercial development in Dunlop was assessed by the Planning and Land Authority and approved in March 2009. It also appears he is aware that a further application was recently lodged for a revised development. The Planning and Land Authority has been working with the leaseholder to move ahead with the development but of course it cannot compel development on the site.

The government has introduced an extension-of-time fees law for residential and commercial development, to provide an extra incentive to develop in accordance with lease covenants. However, if a lessee seeks an extension of time, there is little capacity for ACTPLA to decline the request. The alternative, and Mrs Dunne might want to listen, is for the government to resume the land, which would of course raise a range of complex legal questions in relation to property rights and would create an ongoing sovereign risk. If Mrs Dunne wants to be party to scaring investment out of the city by supporting the government resuming the land in this particular circumstance, let her get up now and say that.

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