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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 22 February 2018) . . Page.. 599 ..

that have had their financial viability threatened by light rail construction. Minister, will the government provide any form of financial compensation or relief for these businesses that are at risk of going under because the light rail work has made their operations unviable?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Coe for the question. Certainly the government, through TCCS and of course through Canberra Metro, the consortium constructing light rail, has been in regular contact with businesses in the Gungahlin town centre and I have also had conversations with businesses in the Gungahlin town centre. I certainly accept that there has been disruption to a number of these businesses.

We have been working with them on ways that we can support them throughout the construction process and also, of course, giving them information on what steps are coming next. They will soon start to see some of the more immediate impacts of construction diminish, particularly on that section of Hibberson Street between Gungahlin Place and Hinder Street, which I know has had an impact on the street frontage for the businesses there. The government will continue to work with those businesses but no, as we have stated previously, financial compensation is not something the government is considering.

MR COE: Minister, how can you expect restaurants, cafes, dry cleaners and other service businesses to survive, given the dust, the fencing and the fact that there are no loading zones and there is no nearby parking in addition to there being limited access for those businesses?

MS FITZHARRIS: I personally visit a number of those businesses on quite a frequent basis and it is the case that there has been an impact. There has also been an impact from the construction works for the Gungahlin bus station. It is also the case that those businesses will soon start to see some of the benefits of significant upgrades directly in front of their businesses.

Opposition members interjecting—

MS FITZHARRIS: That is the case for many of them. They have been kept well informed. We understand that it has been difficult, but we have also kept in very close contact with them to provide them with information about the impact of light rail. My understanding is that the business engagement and outreach area of Canberra Metro is quite frequently in contact, in fact on a weekly basis visits businesses there and asks them what more they can do. I also note that it is a very busy part of the Gungahlin town centre.

Opposition members interjecting

Ms Berry: Point of order, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: Resume your seat. Point of order.

Ms Berry: Madam Speaker, their continuous—

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