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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (18 April) . . Page.. 1090 ..

Mr Berry: I take a point of order. Mr Wood's question was quite clearly focused on the issue of inconsistency. Mrs Carnell should stick to that point in responding to the question.

MR SPEAKER: Proceed, Chief Minister.

MRS CARNELL: That is exactly what I am doing, Mr Speaker. What we launched was a consultation period, a period to allow the community and other retailers to have a say in the proposed redevelopment that has been put forward by Woden Plaza. That is an approach that we supported back in 1994. We supported it in the run-up to the last election. Our approach to Tuggeranong Town Centre was that we would not give an approval for extra space unless appropriate feasibility studies had been done. We had looked at how it would affect other businesses in the Tuggeranong Valley. We looked at how it would affect jobs in the Tuggeranong Valley. All of those sorts of things needed to be taken into account before any agreement to allow a redevelopment would go ahead.

When the Woden Plaza management, Lend Lease, came to see me quite a number of months ago now, we reiterated that position. Mr Humphries and I made it quite clear to Lend Lease that we would be giving no approval for extra retail space in the Woden Valley or at Woden Plaza unless community consultation had gone ahead, they had done feasibility studies on its effect on other retail outlets, and we had looked at the whole issue of retail space in the Woden area. They went away and started to do that work. Another stage of that work - a fair amount of it has been done already - is the community consultation approach. All of the work they have done so far is now available for the community and other retailers to input.

I am fascinated by those opposite. We have gone down the path of looking at these developments in a rounded fashion, looking at getting community input and getting retailer input. Those opposite will be interested to know that we will have a full retail strategy ready for community consultation, probably, in the next month or so, simply because we have not sat on our hands as the previous Government did. We have been doing the work we said we would do. We are looking at issues such as retail trading hours in a sensible manner, unlike the Greens, who want to shut Canberra down. The only positive statement I heard from that press release was Frank Pangallo in Queanbeyan saying, "Wow, we are in for a big retail boom in Queanbeyan". Maybe the Greens opposite have a deep and meaningful relationship with Queanbeyan retailers or something.

I think we have to come up with a balanced strategy, one that takes into account that our major centres are important to Canberra. There are 90 individual small business owners at Woden Plaza - 90 Canberra businesses, owned and operated, which employ Canberrans. We must not allow those 90 retailers to be totally ignored. They have a centre that was opened in 1972 and that was expanded in 1977. It is looking shabby. There are significant problems with the layout of the centre. There are significant problems with the way the supermarkets are positioned within Woden Plaza. I think the most important thing that we can do here is to allow real input into these issues. We have given no undertaking. Mr Humphries will back me up on this.

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