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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2198 ..



Debate resumed from 18 June 1996, on motion by Mr De Domenico:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SPEAKER: Is it the wish of the Assembly to debate this order of the day concurrently with the Gungahlin Development Authority (Consequential Provisions) Bill 1996? There being no objection, that course will be followed. I remind members that in debating order of the day No. 4 they may also address their remarks to order of the day No. 5.

MR WOOD (5.01): Mr Speaker, the Opposition will be supporting this Bill, but we will be proposing some amendments along the way. I believe all members have had the opportunity to see those. This Bill is just another step in a very long process to deliver a first-class town centre to the people of Gungahlin, in particular, and to all of Canberra. I would indicate that, if it turns out the way it looks as though it will, it will get my custom from all the way down in Tuggeranong, indeed. Let me tell you some of the history of this development. In the first instance, it was a totally new way of proceeding. Governments and agencies of government tend to put out discussion papers or an issues paper when there is a new project on the drawing board. They put ideas up first. That is the traditional way of proceeding. In this case, as we needed to develop this proposal, the Government went to the community with a blank sheet of paper. We said, "We have no preconceptions about this. It is up to you, the community, to tell us what you want". I remember the first session - I attended a number of the sessions - where we first included a discussion also of what we did not like about existing town centres. This was a new process. I think it has been a very successful one. In this case, I believe it has produced a result that people want.

My views at the time - I was the Minister, but I did not want to have a determining role in what the community wanted - were that we wanted something different; we did not want a replication of existing town centres. For example, you could stand in Woden Plaza and not know whether you were in Woden Plaza, Civic Centre, Belconnen, or the Hyperdome, on a smaller scale. I did not want a replication; I did not want to see - I remember the Greens talking about it the other day - the same stores everywhere I go. There is no variation. I hope that this model that has now been developed will see that we do not get a replication of existing centres. I did not want a monolithic enterprise, where the design and the control were under one regime, whether it was Lend Lease, Westfield or somebody else. I did not want that. I wanted something environmentally friendly, where you have a real street to be in and access to air-conditioned heat at times of the year like this. In particular, I did not want any one ownership. We wanted to avoid the problems that constantly come to the attention of members of this Assembly from the small traders in those town centres and sometimes the group centres. In particular, I did not want it to be isolated from the community. If you look at Woden, in particular, it is surrounded by major roads; it is remote from the community.

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