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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2422 ..

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary?

MS LE COUTEUR: Yes, thank you. Is the government considering providing a community or music venue in an area which is affordable for community groups to hire and well located to respond to the lack of such venues?

MR STANHOPE: Perhaps my answer was at some cross-purposes to your central issue, Ms Le Couteur, which, as I understand it, is essentially rehearsal space for bands and live music. I was speaking more generally rather than specifically, Ms Le Couteur. I think perhaps I misunderstood the central point of your question. Ms Le Couteur, I think you are aware—indeed, you have raised it with me previously—that there is an issue across the city in relation to appropriate venues for live music, most particularly for bands that generate a fair bit of noise. We have had issues in some such venues.

In relation to neighbourhood amenity, neighbours complain. There was a very popular site, as you know, Ms Le Couteur—we have discussed this—in Ainslie, where most particularly young, emerging, noisy bands were wanting to practise or to play and issues were created there as a result of the impact on the neighbourhood. It is always going to be an issue in a city. We see it in relation to live music venues in the city and the issues around densification. People moving into residential apartments now complain about live music or music or noise coming from nightclubs and venues in the city. These are vexed and difficult issues in a city.

I will have to take on notice your question in relation to what the government is doing. It is an issue that we are looking at; I do not know how that is progressing, but I accept it, Ms Le Couteur, as a legitimate issue: how to achieve a balance with the need for venues that have been popular in the provision of entertainment, such as McGregor Hall; it is being refurbished as part of the overall refurbishment of the ANU.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what exactly is the ACT government intending to do to look at replacing McGregor hall so that we do have a centrally located, affordable venue for musicians that they can use well into the night?

MR STANHOPE: I will take some advice in relation to McGregor hall. I think this is the exchange in Childers Street and the public buildings. It has to be said—and I think we need to put this on the record—that the government negotiated a memorandum of understanding with the ANU in relation to the development of City West. It was very explicit in its demands and requirements. The ANU has responded I think entirely to the letter in relation to the housing and community groups that were affected by the development we now see along Childers and Kingsley Streets and the ANU. It is a fantastic development. It was a tremendous announcement by the commonwealth in funding 1,100 NRAS places for affordable student accommodation within that precinct. It is that development, of course—it is the construction of an additional 540 units, I believe, of student accommodation under NRAS—that provides a significant reduction in rent for students at the ANU.

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