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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4311 ..

MR CORBELL (Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Minister for Planning and Minister for Industrial Relations) (8.29): Mr Speaker, I am very pleased to have this motion from Mr Hargreaves today. I share with him the very important concern that we must have orderly planning and development of our city if we are to maintain a sustainable framework into the future. The points Mr Hargreaves raised in his motion come to the heart of the issue, which is that addressing the role of the airport versus the role of Civic versus the role of Barton versus the role of the town centres can only be done in a cooperative way between the respective planning jurisdictions, primarily the Commonwealth and ACT governments.

Mr Speaker, the government wants to put very clearly on the record that the development of Canberra Airport by the Capital Airport Group and Canberra International Airport Pty Ltd has seen a major revamp of what was a very poor quality facility and we welcome the investment that has delivered a high-quality airport which is now starting to be the sort of airport you would expect when you arrived in the national capital of Australia.

There is also a very important role for associated employment activity at the airport relevant to its role as an airport and the controls that are currently in place under the National Capital Plan provide for such requirements. The National Capital Plan outlines clearly that associated office development and commercial space at the airport must be consistent with related employment activity for the airport. I should add that the quality of the estate is, no doubt, of the highest standard. The nature of the building and the urban design outcomes that have been achieved at the airport are exemplary. I would argue that many other office developers in Canberra need to look to the airport and the quality of the estate that is being developed.

Mr Speaker, what is of concern to the ACT government is that the NCA is proposing to lift the floor space restriction on commercial space at the airport. We believe that such a proposal is pre-emptive. It is pre-emptive because the territory has embarked upon a major process of reviewing the spatial planning context for the city overall. The Canberra spatial plan is meant to focus very clearly on where employment activity should be located, the relationship between those different nodes of employment, the relationship to other services and facilities, primarily public transport, and the associated sustainability outcomes that other members have mentioned in their comments this evening.

The government would share the concern of Mr Hargreaves that the NCA not pre-empt the outcome of a major strategic planning exercise by lifting the floor space controls for commercial office space at the Canberra Airport at this time. Let us have a clear understanding and an agreed approach on how employment location will be managed into the future through the spatial planning process across jurisdictions before we embark on such pre-emptive action.

The alternative, of course, is simply to establish a race between respective employment locations in the city. If the floor space controls are lifted at Canberra International Airport, similar floor space controls at other commercial locations around the city, notably Fern Hill Park in Bruce, will have to be considered because, quite frankly, we will have entered into an unfair and inequitable planning control arrangement. Let us prevent that from occurring. I think that Mr Hargreaves' motion addresses that very well.

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