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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 31 March 2021) . . Page.. 703 ..

MR GENTLEMAN: The due diligence work needs to go ahead before land is released. This was raised in the hearings recently. There is quite of bit of work to do there to ensure that that land can be passed over to the SLA for residential development. It is quite some time away.

Municipal services—public amenities

MR MILLIGAN: My question is to the Minister for Transport and City Services. The Labor-Greens government has revealed plans to upgrade the Kaleen south shops, nine years after it promised that a $1 million upgrade would happen in 2013. The government says the changes will revitalise the shops and make them vibrant places that more people will enjoy. It also says that community needs have changed since the early 70s, when the shops were built. Minister, the community’s need for toilets has not changed, so why does the upgrade not include public toilets, which the Canberra Liberals have been championing now for several years?

MR STEEL: I thank the member for his question. We are actually out consulting with the community at the moment, because we understand how important local shopping centres are as community hubs. We want to hear from the community what they think needs to be provided at the shops. A feasibility study was undertaken, in the last term, of upgrades at the Kaleen south shops, at Gwydir Square. As a result of that feasibility study, we have now developed some draft plans to get some more community feedback, after taking some feedback last year as well.

The Labor Party and the Greens committed to an ambitious infrastructure program at the last election. That compares with the opposition, who did not come forward with a range of projects. We are getting on and delivering it, and we will do so in consultation with the community.

MR MILLIGAN: Do you know how many locals currently use the shops, and how much of an increase do you think there will be with these upgrades? How many other locals will be using the shops? Where do you expect locals to go when they need to go to the toilet?

MR STEEL: As I said in my previous answer to Mr Milligan, we will be consulting with the community about what their needs are before we go ahead and construct the upgrades there. Our government is making a significant investment to upgrade these shops, because we understand how important these local shopping centres are. We have already heard from businesses like the local chemist, who have been saying that they would like to see some more parking. That is part of the draft plan, and we are looking at how we can provide even more access to the shops. These have been very popular during the pandemic; we have seen more people using their local shopping centres rather than going, necessarily, to shops in the city, in the CBD, as more people have been working from home. They play an important role in the community, and we will work with the community to make sure that the upgrades meet their needs.

MS CASTLEY: Minister, do you agree that this is not a wee problem? Can you explain why toilets were not included, and will you go back to the drawing board, as these are vital public amenities?

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