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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (22 May) . . Page.. 1575 ..

MS HORODNY (continuing):

The social impact of small business closures is felt not only by the individual businesses but by the whole community. Some people in our community do not have the luxury of being able to drive to town centres. We do not want people to be driving to town centres, in any case. We would like people to be able to walk to their local centres. In fact, between 10 and 30 per cent of people surveyed in a recent study by Purdon walk to their local shopping centres. The study recently released by the Government on the social impact assessment of retail changes in the ACT concluded that local centres play several important roles for local residents - economically, socially, culturally and also from the point of view of access. It is the least mobile and the most disadvantaged in our community who rely on these centres the most. Some people do not have cars to jump into to drive to a town centre.

There are also huge environmental impacts from the increased traffic congestion that is generated around the town centres as everyone battles to find a car park close to the shops. The preliminary assessment on the Woden Plaza redevelopment acknowledged that there would be increased traffic around the Woden Town Centre and stated that the traffic intersections near the plaza would need to be upgraded to cope with this. Who is going to pay for these upgrades? Is the Government going to be picking up the tab?

This motion refers to a moratorium on retail space in town centres only. Members will be aware that a number of group centres are also proposing expansions which may be detrimental to neighbourhood shopping centres. However, it is the expansion of the town centres which is doing the most damage. We already have before us proposals to expand both Woden and Tuggeranong town centres. The management of Woden Town Centre wants to expand by over 20,000 square metres; 10,000 of this is supermarket space. There was a comment made on radio this morning regarding the revamping of the Woden Plaza. We do not have a problem with the revamping of the Woden Plaza; what we do have a problem with is the 70 or more new shops going into that place. Leda want to extend the Hyperdome by 16,000 square metres. These developers are competing to dominate the Canberra-wide market, not just the market within their town. They all acknowledge that their catchment areas overlap because Canberra is really too small to support four and soon five large town centres. An issue that has to be addressed is the fact that Lend Lease, Leda and Westfield openly acknowledge that they are competing with each other.

When the Liberal Party was in opposition they argued for the Hyperdome expansion to be stopped. In fact, they argued for a moratorium. It is interesting that Mr Humphries today said that a moratorium was simplistic. They said that there was clearly an oversupply of retail space in the ACT. They have publicly stated that. They even tried to introduce a moratorium on the expansion of the Hyperdome. I was surprised to hear Mr Humphries on radio this morning saying that this was a simplistic measure, as this was exactly the type of motion that they tried to introduce when they were in opposition. I have not heard of his Government coming up with anything better.

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