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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4726 ..


MS HORODNY (4.27): Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Assembly calls on the Government to:

(1) immediately withdraw its call for expressions of interest for the development of block 4 section 41 Griffith (the Manuka carpark);

(2) undertake a study, with full public consultation, of options for the future of the Manuka carpark that best meets the needs and concerns of Manuka traders, the users of Manuka shops, local residents, and traders in surrounding shopping centres, and taking into account the evaluation checksheet for major retail development applications included in the Government's Retail Policy; and

(3) if redevelopment of the site is identified as the preferred option, seek Assembly approval of the preferred option through a variation to the Territory Plan regarding the carpark site, before any sale of the site is contemplated.

The Greens have put forward this motion because we feel quite betrayed by this Government's approach to the retail market in Canberra. As members are well aware, the decline in Canberra's local shopping centres has been a major topic for debate in this Assembly. The Government released its retail policy for Canberra in May of this year and quite courageously legislated to restrict the trading hours of supermarkets in the town centres as a way of giving some opportunity for local shops to recover lost business, as well as introducing other initiatives such as the helpShop program and a local shop ideas competition. Unlike some members in this Assembly, the Greens have consistently supported small business in Canberra. We thought that the Government deserved the opportunity of implementing its retail policy as a way of helping small retailers and keeping local shops alive, even though we had a number of concerns that the policy did not go far enough.

All this changed in October when Mr Humphries announced his call for expressions of interest in the development of the Manuka car park into a 12,500-square-metre shopping mall containing a 4,000-square-metre supermarket and a car park for 500 to 600 cars. In one stroke the Government had announced its intention to destroy the unique character of one of the most pleasant shopping centres in Canberra and to destroy the future of other local shopping centres in South Canberra. And for what reason?

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