Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2021) . . Page.. 374 ..
I believe the government needs to intervene to address this unique set of problems that has been created in Gungahlin, and it needs to do so quickly. In other parts of the city decisions have been made to incentivise investment, including peppercorn leases and other subsidies. The government needs to step up and ensure that future developments are suited to commercial and business opportunities. Gungahlin is crying out for investment from business, and we need government to jumpstart the process. The ACT government has shown that it is prepared to lead the way, constructing Winyu House. Maybe it is time for the ACT government to consider moving even more public service jobs to Gungahlin.
This is one of the most important community issues affecting my constituents. The residents of Gungahlin want the opportunity to work in their community. They want access to the same options that other residents around Canberra have. Repeatedly I am told of the traffic in and out of Gungahlin during peak hours, the emptiness of light rail during the day, the seemingly endless building of more and more residential apartment buildings, the deserted town centre during weekdays and the struggles of small business owners who are desperate for patrons in their cafes and shops.
The government has a role to step up and deliver on the town centre model that was promised to the residents of Gungahlin by providing them with options to work and live in the same community. When we look more broadly at other town centres around the ACT some clear trends emerge, in my opinion, that make some of them more successful than Gungahlin. Whilst Gungahlin is new—and I want to acknowledge that—Gungahlin already has a thriving industrial district in Mitchell. But that district is detached and removed from the town centre, unlike what you will see in Woden and Belconnen.
We need to facilitate growing industries—industries of the future, like digital technologies—to invest in and create jobs and employment opportunities in the heart of our community. Gungahlin was connected to the NBN very quickly. We should have been able to seize the opportunities that came with it. We should incentivise higher education providers to build and invest in facilities in the Gungahlin area, to educate and train our future workforce and, in themselves, provide jobs.
Previously, the ACT government has offered peppercorn leases to higher education providers. This is a good thing. Next time let us have an eye to ensuring that these opportunities go to where they are really needed. We also need to guarantee that in the future, when decisions are made about the town centre, the requirements will mean that developments are prepared for commercial and business tenants. We need to make sure that commercial fit-outs in these new developments allow for businesses to be easily established without the need for retrofitting. This is particularly a problem along Flemington Road.
We need to focus our attention on ensuring that street-level activity is vibrant and engaging. We need to work together with Gungahlin community to ensure that this future planning creates the town centre that we need. Relying on federal public service departments to move their operations to Gungahlin clearly is not working, and that is what, sadly, most of the conversation has been focused on. The federal