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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2021) . . Page.. 552 ..

Planning—Kippax group centre—petition 8-21

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (10.09): Today I present a petition signed by 781 residents of the ACT asking this Assembly to acknowledge that the Kippax group centre needs to expand urgently. They are right. Kippax Fair Shopping Centre opened in 1977. This area of Belconnen has grown tremendously since then, and growth is accelerating. The first master plan for Kippax was drafted seven years ago. Following community engagement, the owners of Kippax Fair proposed an alternative design the following year. Community support for this proposal was strong, and it was formally endorsed by a community panel in 2017. These changes were then included in the next draft master plan and supported by a majority during consultations in 2018.

Twice in July last year, Minister Gentleman spoke in this chamber about the planned expansion of the Kippax Fair Shopping Centre. As a result, many residents of west Belconnen thought that development of the shopping centre was imminent. But that appears not to be the case. We have recently been told that the ACT government has shifted from a planned direct land sale to an open tender process, with expressions of interest not even opening until May.

All this delay has consequences. Residents keep moving into west Belconnen, and each week the car parks and shopping options grow less sufficient. At the same time, tenants at the shopping centre face uncertainty, with one major tenant having recently announced their closure because they do not know what is coming.

Residents in the community are genuinely worried. Aware of how this government has handled past land sales, they are concerned that something not quite right is going down. Is the government more interested in maximising profits than in following its own master plan? Is the strategy to bring in a national player that will overshadow a long-established and locally owned shopping centre? Without transparency, no-one knows.

Residents are also concerned that this matter has dragged on for so long. They know that this government has repeatedly shown poor foresight when it comes to suburban planning. Victims of this poor planning number in the tens of thousands. Residents of Gungahlin know full well what it is like to be at this government’s mercy when it comes to planning. Molonglo Valley residents are quickly coming to the same realisation. Residents of west McGregor who can look out their windows at unused bus stops definitely saw this coming.

People in west Belconnen know that we have a government in this territory that just does not seem to learn from its many failures. They are, therefore, justifiably worried that the expansion of the Kippax group centre will end up being one more of this government’s notorious planning failures—or a land deal gone wrong. Nearly 800 of these residents have united their voices to call upon the ACT government to do everything within its powers to help the existing owners of Kippax Fair to undertake the centre expansion as soon as possible in accordance with the approved master plan. It is my pleasure to represent these residents, and I wholeheartedly commend this petition to the Assembly.

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