Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 3026 ..
included and when, and whether the government will keep their promise—a promise first made by me in 2006 to fast track-the shops, and then copied by the government at the last election. We have the brochures. They say that the shops will be fast-tracked.
People in Molonglo Valley have very few places to be together as a community, to get to know each other, to mix, to build and bond as a community. This centre should be delivered as a priority to assist in that process.
Further, I am concerned that the current proposal to release small parcels of land to different developers could result in a poorly integrated and disjointed development. The minister should seriously consider an integrated, single-release approach, which would support a development that integrates commercial, retail and public spaces from the start. Such an approach has been used in the award-winning recent development at Rouse Hill in Sydney. I understand that it has been an outstanding success. It has been referenced in consultation with planning officials about this centre, but the piecemeal land release approach that seems to be emerging goes in a completely different direction.
The answer from the panel is in. After 15 years of planning, the plans are not up to their expectations. This is an extraordinary critique of government and Minister Gentleman’s ability to deliver high-quality outcomes for the Molonglo Valley. The minister should be greatly embarrassed to receive such a report criticising the directorate and implying that the plans are stuck in the past.
Since I submitted this motion on Tuesday, we have learned that the government has in fact announced a two-year delay in the timetable for the delivery of this commercial centre. What has happened since April this year, when the minister wrote to the community council saying that everything was on track? What has happened is that the government, having received a scathing report on its plans for the Molonglo Valley commercial centre, will use the COVID lockdown as an excuse to delay this build further. The lockdown, even if it has slowed processes down, is for less than three months. This does not justify a two-year delay.
The government will then say, “We need to consult with the community.” Yes, we do, but given that this is also a part of standard practice of government, do not use talking to the community as an excuse to deny them a much-needed commercial centre, a group centre, for more than two years. It does not take two extra years to consult with the community. It is unjust to have such a fast-growing area without basic services of their own.
I urge the Assembly to support this motion and to give the Molonglo Valley a proper, central shopping, education, health and emergency services commercial centre in the time they promised at the election, and to not break their promise to the people so easily, as they seem to be doing.
DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (3.29): I thank Mrs Jones for bringing this motion to the Assembly on an issue about which we are both very passionate. The government will support the motion, and I will move the following amendment: