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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 June 2021) . . Page.. 1651 ..

It is easy for Labor and the Greens to hit on the federal government to do more to locate an agency and jobs in Canberra. That is what every state and territory government does. Mr Braddock conveniently omits the fact that the federal government will create 300 new jobs in Gungahlin from early next year when Defence Housing Australia moves in. DHA has entered into a 15-year lease, with two optional five-year terms, to start next March. That is huge news for local businesses and residents.

As I said at the outset, I did not come into this place to be cynical, and I am trying hard not to be. But what is the outcome of the notice of motion we debated several months ago calling for action to improve Yerrabi Pond, which in some places is still an eyesore? At the time, I called on Minister Steel to set up a small working group comprising the Friends of Yerrabi Pond, Mr Braddock, me and a Labor MLA for Yerrabi, so that we could get the show on the road. Not surprisingly, I have heard nothing. I will take that initiative and kick off the inaugural meeting of that working group. Minister, I will send you an invite this afternoon.

I have said time and again that if only the Chief Minister had chosen to have a minister representing Yerrabi, things would be different. Instead, we have four ministers from his own electorate in Kurrajong. I note that we do not have Kurrajong MLAs on their feet each week pleading for more jobs and better parking, infrastructure and facilities for their areas. The difference is stark.

Unlike some members of this Assembly, I will never be sick of hearing about Gungahlin. I am Gungahlin’s representative, and I will keep fighting for it.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (5.17): It is always a pleasure to rise and speak about Gungahlin town centre. It is, after all, an issue close to the heart of—dare I say it?—every Gungahlin resident and at least five members of this place. It is great to have the opportunity to do so, so soon after my colleague Ms Orr’s motion about the development of Gungahlin town centre.

A few months ago, I spoke quite plainly about what I see as the issues in the town centre. That view comes from thousands of conversations with constituents and community surveys, both my own and those of local organisations. This is a big issue, and it is canvassed often.

What I said then, and what I will summarise now, is that I believe that Gungahlin is at risk of becoming a permanent commuter district. Unlike other town centres, like Woden, Tuggeranong and Belconnen, there are limited employment opportunities in Gungahlin town centre. The largest and only major employer in the town centre is currently the ACT government. I would like to see more ACT public servants in Gungahlin—I have said it before, and I will say it again today—but the ACT government cannot provide the major employment opportunity for the entire district. If we seek to replicate the scale of other town centres, we will need other employers too.

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