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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (3 December) . . Page.. 4311 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

It did come as some surprise that those opposite think it is a joke. Mr Wood, who usually is one of the more sensible members of those opposite, was playing the prophet of doom on this issue. The same Opposition member, Mr Wood, berates this Government, Mr Speaker, for not doing enough to generate investment and jobs in Canberra and not spending enough on capital works. Do you remember? Not enough on capital works; not enough jobs; all the rest of it. Mind you, all those opposite did. In fact, Andrew - what is his name? - Whitecross sort of said that sort of thing too, but it shows that they really do not mean it.

Here we have a project, Mr Speaker, that carries the promise of major investments and jobs, and what did Mr Wood say? He said we should not even be attempting the Kingston foreshore redevelopment. I think he said something about putting it in mothballs or something. I do not know how you would do that, but I think that is what he wanted to do. He said that he wanted to leave the site derelict, as it has been for decades, and as it was under the previous Government. He said that no-one will invest in it; nobody will come to the shops or the markets or to the cultural or tourist attractions. He said it was all too hard and we should just sit on our hands until miraculously, Mr Speaker, the economy recovers. One day we will wake up and the economy will have recovered after everyone has sat on their hands.

Mr Speaker, that is not the way this Government will be operating. In effect, he says to investors willing to spend money here, "Look, go away. Go away with your money because until the economy improves we do not want investment in this place. We do not want the jobs that you are likely to produce". Mr Wood, as we found out, was not even aware that P&O is a major employer in Canberra and has had a presence here, as we know, for 20 years, until the question that Mr De Domenico answered. I am sure that it would not come as any surprise that Mr Wood also did not understand the connection between new investment opportunities and economic recovery. Economic recovery does not just happen, Mr Speaker. You actually have to get it moving.

Mr Speaker, to answer the specific question asked by Mr Kaine, yes, the current economic climate is being taken into account in plans for the Kingston foreshore development. In fact, the current economic climate is a major reason for getting this project off the ground. The Interim Kingston Foreshore Development Authority - that entity with people like David Lamont, Rod Driver and all of those sorts of people on it - actually engaged Jones Lang Wootton to undertake a market feasibility study for the project, taking into account Canberra's population base, planning policies and economic outlook.

It was a very pragmatic exercise and it concluded that in the short to medium term - that is, in the next one to six years - there were a range of opportunities that were feasible, including expansion of the existing markets, recreational uses, trade fairs, innovation centres, restaurants, cafes, leisure centres and residential development, all of which, fascinatingly, are consistent with the community vision outlined in the recent consultation exercise. Here we have an exciting situation, Mr Speaker, where the community who were consulted for the community brief, Jones Lang Wootton and the Government - everybody except the Opposition - actually agree. The Opposition want us to do nothing.

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