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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 10 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 2652 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Ms Tucker for her question. As she is well aware, there is presently a proposal for expansion of the Tuggeranong Hyperdome which has recently completed the preliminary assessment - - -

Mr De Domenico: The Ros Kelly extension.

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes. It has completed its preliminary assessment stage and there is now a process of public consultation on that particular proposal. It is certainly the Government's intention that that particular proposal proceed in the light of at least some formulation of a strategy for the future expansion of retailing in the ACT, particularly one that bears in mind the impact of retailing in the town centres and expansions of retailing in the town centres on local and group centres. This is an area which Ms Tucker might be aware was woefully ignored by the previous Government, as a result of which today a great many small local centres in the ACT have simply closed down. There are no longer shops in a number of local centres in the ACT, including my own suburb of Weston. Mr Speaker, I think it is most important that, for the first time in this town, we put in place a strategy to ensure that those sorts of decisions are made in the future in light of the impact that they have on other parts of the Territory.

Mr Speaker, there is a proposal before the Government for expansion of Belconnen Town Centre which is already well advanced. It includes extra space for a supermarket in the centre, extra space for restaurants and, I think, the space put aside for the cinemas, which are already well advanced. I cannot guarantee that that particular issue at Westfield Belconnen will not be considered before the overall retail strategy is developed, but certainly Tuggeranong will be developed in the light of that strategy, if possible.

MS TUCKER: I ask a supplementary question. How do you feel it lies with your commitment to small business during the election if you are going to allow that development at Belconnen, even though you say it is well advanced, and yet you have a strategy coming out on the social impact?

Mr Connolly: It is finished. Woolies are open.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, the answer is that basically, as the Opposition say, it is almost finished. It is very well advanced. From my perspective, there has been fairly strong support from across the community in Belconnen - members from Belconnen might correct me if I am wrong about this - for that expansion. In particular, there has been very strong support for the cinemas and the restaurants. I am not sure what involvement Mr Wood had in the previous decision, but I think he would agree with me that there is a strong case for some expansion at Westfield Belconnen. I do not believe that anybody in the ACT, with the exception of one umbrella organisation, has written to me expressing concern about the Belconnen expansion. I read into that some support for the expansion. If that is not the case and Ms Tucker has evidence of people who believe that this is the wrong decision to make, I should advise her to get them to talk to me or my department as soon as possible, because my view is that generally there is support for that expansion at Belconnen.

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