Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 December 2021) . . Page.. 3967 ..
Earlier this year I conducted a survey of the Gungahlin community about what kinds of retail and hospitality venues our community would like to see more of in Gungahlin. Overwhelmingly, people wanted to see more entertainment options in the town centre. Over 67 per cent of the respondents wanted more entertainment in Gungahlin. Additionally, many respondents wanted to see more restaurants and bars in the town centre too. And more retail outlets were not far behind. That is why today I am also calling on this government to do more to encourage suitable retail, entertainment and hospitality providers to commence operations in Gungahlin.
Light rail has given Gungahlin an incredible opportunity to become better connected with the rest of Canberra and to become a destination for families and young people looking for something to do on the weekends. This government’s investment in public transport has made Gungahlin more accessible than ever before, but now we need to make sure that there are even more reasons to come to Gungahlin.
It is not all doom and gloom. I genuinely believe that the Gungahlin town centre has a bright future ahead. With more development in our town centre will come more opportunities and more activation. The space utilised in our town centre for productive uses is quite limited. There are still lots of paddocks and surface-level car parks to be reinvented for more useful developments. That is why I believe it is so important, at this critical time, that we make sure that the Gungahlin town centre is filled in with the right things, like a cinema. A Gungahlin cinema needs to be built. It should already be built. Gungahlin residents have waited a long time, and I believe it is time they got their cinema.
MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (3.10): I share my community’s frustration about the extended delays for this long-awaited cinema complex in the Gungahlin town centre. The initial delays had a lot to do with the government not enforcing development requirements with the successful bidder, which took four years to resolve.
The developer then appeared to make a mistake by endorsing two cinema operators, resulting in lengthy court delays where no useful information was released and zero progress was achieved. After a resolution was reached, the development application was approved, with some conditions, on 7 April 2020. Relevant plans for the development were endorsed. This triggered a two-year time frame for construction to commence. This period ends in early April next year. The Assembly should note that this time line specified the commencement of construction, not completion.
The Canberra Liberals recognise that this project is purely a commercial development and that the construction process is subject to market conditions and other relevant commercial factors. We support the government in its commitment to deliver a cinema in Gungahlin but feel it has only achieved this through the purpose of re-leasing the original tender.
We accepted the purpose of meeting with the developer, but this meeting should be restricted to exploring how the government may be able to assist in expediting the construction process. A viable outcome could be supporting the developer to ensure that the cinema development proceeds and is completed in a timely manner, consistent with the agreed time frame.