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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 February 2018) . . Page.. 114 ..


been the federal Liberal Party cutting public servants. An organisation like the City Renewal Authority would have the skills to formulate an ACT government response that brought together landowners and government agencies. An organisation focused on land sales rather than renewal is just not skilled to do that sort of work.

Another really striking example is the Kingston arts precinct, and that is why I included it in my motion. The Kingston arts precinct should be an arts precinct—arts led. It should have a focus on getting the right outcome for the arts. Leaving it with the Suburban Land Agency means the focus is going to be on the sales process. I am worried—and I know that many people in the arts in Canberra are worried, as well as many people in the local Kingston community—that what we are going to get is a property development which sells well but does not do much for arts or the local community.

I have seen Mr Barr’s amendment, and the government will say that master plans do the coordination required, and they have got a point, but it is only part of a point. Master plans can only do one stage of the coordination required. They do the plan and the vision, and that is great, but they do not do the day-to-day work of making things happen. That requires staffing and an organisation that is clearly responsible. The way the system works now, after the master plan is done, the coordination ends and the gaps really begin.

In conclusion, I will talk about what will probably happen if my motion does not pass today. Firstly, the Chief Minister’s city-first focus will see the city get attention and grow. That is great, of course, for those of us who use the city and it is great for our tourism industry, but it is not great for the town centres that have been falling behind and will continue to do so.

Secondly, we will continue to see projects rolled out that are not coordinated—planning approvals double the height specified in the master plan, for example; new tall buildings next to narrow, clapped-out footpaths designed for another era, when the idea was that everybody would drive; and missed opportunities to deliver affordable housing for our young people, our service workers and our older people who are no longer in full-time employment.

Thirdly, we will continue to see developers having an undue say in how development happens in Canberra. Developers should not be leading urban renewal. This is why we need the City Renewal Authority to take advantage of its legislation, which enables it to declare precincts and take over Woden, Belconnen and Tuggeranong town centres. That is why, of course, I believe all members should vote for my motion.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (10.36): Any opportunity to talk about the future of Woden is a welcome one. I am relentlessly optimistic about Woden’s future. Our government is focused and we are committed to urban regeneration in our town centres, and particularly in Woden. It is really pleasing that we are already seeing the signs of regeneration starting to occur and renewed confidence in Woden town centre. I know that some people like to be pessimistic about Woden. This constant pessimism is not constructive. Talking Woden down does not make our town centre a better place.


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