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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3486 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

Second, it gave some background to variation No. 64. This is the variation which was passed by the Assembly last year and which extends the range of uses permitted in local shopping centres so as to make them more viable. These uses, in some circumstances, can include residential. The Government has developed guidelines in relation to assessing the viability of local centres. These require a developer to consult the local community before he or she lodges a formal redevelopment proposal. In the case of Latham and Aranda, this process gave rise to a great deal of confusion and uncertainty. Third, our statement advised the parliament that the Urban Services Committee had resolved to monitor the way that the variation was implemented.

The statement I make today, Mr Speaker, updates these developments. The committee held a very useful public hearing on 13 November this year. On that day both government officials and members of the public addressed the committee. I would like to thank the Minister for Urban Services for his agreement to make officials available.

The government officials told the committee that no formal redevelopment application for Latham and Aranda is before PALM. However, PALM has received records from the consultants acting for the lessees of the shopping centres and these reports deal with the consultation process. PALM is analysing these reports and it is also meeting with the lessees, the consultants and the architect of the proposed redevelopment. Finally, PALM has prepared a local centres redevelopment consultation kit for use in future local centre redevelopment proposals. The Minister subsequently made a full copy of the consultation kit available to members of the committee. He also asked for the committee's advice about the adequacy of the kit.

Members of the public told the committee at the public hearing that they were concerned about the guidelines used to assess the viability of local centres, that they were concerned about the consultation process, and that they had not previously seen the local centres redevelopment consultation kit. As members would expect, my committee promptly asked officials to make the kit available to the public.

We now have received formal advice from one community group, the Latham Residents Association, about how the consultation kit might be improved. Our quick reading of this advice leads us to think that the suggestions made by the Latham Residents Association deserve careful attention by the Government. We therefore decided, at our meeting today, to refer them to the Government for its attention over the forthcoming Christmas quiet time. The committee looks forward to receiving the Government's response.

We also would like this response to address another important issue raised by the Latham Residents Association, namely, whether the consultation kit fully conforms to the Government's consultation protocol. It is the view of the Latham association that the consultation kit does not conform to the protocol. The committee would be seriously concerned if this was the case. I have written to the Minister for Urban Services to advise him of this matter.

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