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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (21 May) . . Page.. 1530 ..

Woden Plaza

MS HORODNY: My question is directed to the Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning and relates to the proposed redevelopment and expansion of the Woden Plaza shopping centre. Public comment on the preliminary assessment for the proposal has recently closed, and I assume that the Planning Authority and you are now considering what further processes need to be undertaken in assessing this development. I note that it is proposed to extend the shopping centre to the edge of Corinna Street by building over the existing car parks to the south and west of the existing complex. To the west will be built two new supermarkets and other smaller shops, with a level of car parking in the basement and on the roof, and to the south will be built a new discount department store, also with one level of car parking on its roof. Minister, could you please advise whether a variation to the Territory Plan is going to be prepared to allow this? In the Territory Plan, as it currently stands, those car parks that are going to be built over are zoned only as car parks, but in the proposed new buildings the car parking areas are clearly secondary to the main purpose of the buildings, which is to house a massive increase in the shopping area of Woden Plaza.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, as it happens, I have the results of the preliminary assessment of the Woden Plaza redevelopment here. They arrived in my office today. I have not yet had a chance to have a look at them. I will do so later today. Some of the issues you have raised will become clearer as a result of that. On the question of whether a variation to the Territory Plan will be necessary, I will take your word that there is a purpose clause covering the car parks which does not permit the development of retail space, for example, on those areas; but I must say that it was my impression that the proposal to develop Woden Plaza could proceed without there being a variation to the Territory Plan. However, I do not want to be dogmatic. Therefore, I will take that part of the question on notice and I will find out.

It seemed that Ms Horodny was suggesting in the question that the Government needs to be very cautious before it proceeds to make a decision to allow the expansions. The short response to that is yes. That is very true. We do need to be very cautious. The Government will be balancing two important competing considerations. One is the need to ensure that the effect of such an expansion on local shops is not such as to significantly damage the viability of those shops across the catchment area concerned. The second consideration is to make sure that development in this city which is appropriate and which can generate real jobs is given the go-ahead. They are the two forces that the Government will be looking at and reconciling, if possible, in the case of this particular application.

MS HORODNY: I ask a supplementary question. It is also the case that apart from the inherently biased public consultation process - - -

MR SPEAKER: Order! No preamble, Ms Horodny.

MS HORODNY: The public will have no opportunity to formally comment on, or object to, the details of this proposed development. Can you clarify this issue for me?

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