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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Friday, 8 October 2021) . . Page.. 3031 ..

strong community engagement on these issues. But good project management is also key. That will ensure communities have access to the services they need.

We need a better way of building our suburbs than letting services lag behind. We really need to plan and consult on services earlier. I am really happy to see a commitment to release further information on this project, as requested by the Molonglo Community Group. Transparency builds trust and it gets better outcomes for the community and for Canberra. I look forward to exploring these issues as the planning review continues. The Greens are happy to support this amended motion.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (3.41): Firstly I thank Mrs Jones for bringing this important matter before the Assembly. It is very timely; we did not know about this delay until the budget. Mrs Jones had been advocating for this for a long time, and I commend her for that and all the other good work we have been working together on in Molonglo. There is no doubt that the Molonglo Valley residents deserve a better deal. I think the government see them as a cash cow through the land sales there and the rates that they squeeze people for. They are very happy to take the money from the residents, but they are not providing them with the infrastructure that they deserve. It is absolutely outrageous that people in Coombes do not even have local shops! And now the commercial centre is being delayed.

The only reason the bridge will happen, it seems, is that the feds came in and provided $87 million and said, “You’ve got to do it or you’re not going to get the money.” That is the only reason this ACT Labor-Greens government is doing anything. The people of Molonglo Valley have every right to be very, very, disappointed not only with this delay but with the whole fiasco of planning that has occurred. Meanwhile they get squeezed for rates and they pay exorbitant amounts of money for their properties.

I am very disappointed with the amendment that has been put forward by Dr Paterson and the fact that the Greens are going to support it. It seems they are more interested in running interference for this government than they are in backing the people of Molonglo Valley. The weasel words we have heard are very disappointing. The members for Murrumbidgee, in particular, should be fighting for our residents, not running interference for this government and making weak excuses for it.

The delay is an extraordinarily disappointing decision both for the people of Molonglo Valley and for the residents of Weston Creek. Everybody knows that without this commercial centre Cooleman Court remains the go-to place. There was a capacity problem with parking and the use of the shops there before the Molonglo Valley had residents there. It is at a critical level. The fact that this will now be delayed will exacerbate that problem, and the government has not come up with a solution to that problem. The only solution was to accelerate the commercial centre, not to slow it down. So this is very disappointing.

I will go through what the Molonglo Valley Community Forum is saying about this. They have been passionate, strong, advocates and I commend them for the work they have been doing. This is from a public statement on their Facebook site:

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