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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1111 ..


MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (4.27): I will give Mr Cain the benefit of the doubt, given he obviously has not been a member of this Assembly for very long and may not be familiar with the context of the establishment of the City Renewal Authority and the Suburban Land Agency and may not be familiar with the distribution of functions and responsibilities in relation to land release, urban renewal and indeed the other functions that he has requested for other parts of Canberra which are indeed carried out by the Suburban Land Agency and the City Services directorate in the main.

The City Renewal Authority was established by legislation in this place about five years ago and has a range of responsibilities. I refer Mr Cain to the City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Act 2017, where he will find the direct responsibilities and issues that the CRA has responsibility for as well as those of the Suburban Land Agency. He questioned why there were not development authorities associated with different parts of Canberra. The answer is that, in fact, over the history of the development of those areas, both pre self-government and during the self-government period, there have indeed been precinct development authorities. There was a Gungahlin development authority, one of the ones that we had in the early days of self-government. Prior to self-government, the National Capital Development Commission, a predecessor to the now National Capital Authority, was indeed responsible for the development of Belconnen, the Woden Valley and Tuggeranong.

The issue of renewal goes to the obvious point that the oldest part of Canberra is indeed the city centre. The rationale for the precinct approach is one that is consistent with redevelopment and urban renewal precincts in other states and territories, delivered by governments of both political persuasions, including, amongst others, the Barangaroo precinct under a Liberal government in Sydney; South Bank in Brisbane that was also a renewal precinct; various examples in South Australia under both Labor and Liberal governments; and in Western Australia under both Labor and Liberal governments. So it is not a new concept to have a defined area precinct authority. The rationale for this particular one is that at the time we had the biggest single transport and infrastructure project in the territory’s history underway. Mr Cain tabled the precinct map and he might note that that is indeed the route of stage 1 of light rail as it comes through the inner north and the CBD. And that is why the precinct is shaped the way that it is.

Again, Mr Cain, I do not expect you to be across every element of debate on planning and urban renewal, given you have only been in the opposition shadow spokesperson role for a couple of weeks and in the Assembly for about five months now. At the time there was a concerted push by the Canberra Business Chamber and by a range of planning stakeholders, following an extensive amount of community consultation and discussion, that we needed a CBD renewal focus. I have been in this place longer than anyone else now. I have heard this debate about city versus town centre go round and round probably a thousand times in the 15 years I have been a member, and then you add the five years I worked here before that. But the polycentric nature of employment within our city is where the focus should be. The oldest and tiredest infrastructure is in the city; the area where the transport investment as part of stage 1


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