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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 285 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

After careful consideration of the committee's report and all other relevant background information, the government decided on an alternative course of action and directed the ACT Planning Authority to further revise draft variation 174. The specified revision retains the proposed residential land use policy but includes a new area specific policy to require that a minimum of 50 per cent of the residential units on the site be used for adaptable housing suitable for people with disabilities and to meet the needs of Canberra's ageing population. PALM subsequently revised the variation in accordance with the executive's direction, and the approved variation, as revised, was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on 12 December 2002.

In arriving at its decision on this matter, the government considered a number of issues. Although the existence of a club on the site is currently reflected in the Territory Plan, it is unlikely that such a use would be agreed to in today's circumstances. The Territory Plan justifiably restricts the location of licensed clubs. This is because of their potential to adversely impact on the amenity of nearby uses, particularly residential uses.

The Territory Plan does not permit licensed clubs in a residential land use policy areas, nor does it allow them in local shopping centres. The Territory Plan generally restricts clubs to locations where the impact of their activities can be more readily accommodated-for example, in group or town centres, or in areas that are buffered from surrounding residential development.

The Territory Plan also requires mandatory preliminary assessment for all proposals within 150 metres of a residential land use policy area. In addition, PALM's community and recreation facilities location guidelines seek to separate licensed clubs from residential areas and schools on amenity and social grounds.

The Hungarian Australian Club's location, in the middle of the suburb and surrounded by residential uses and the local primary school, cannot be regarded as the most desirable planning arrangement. Its location also appears to be one of the factors affecting its ability to compete with some of the larger clubs in more visible locations. The more successful licensed clubs are generally located within commercial areas or along nature corridors where they can benefit from greater visibility and they have less noise and traffic impact on surrounding uses. Successful clubs are often bigger and offer longer trading hours. However, such club operations, if located in a residential area, are likely to cause disturbance to residents and generate complaints.

The Hungarian Australian Club site constitutes the major portion of the land that is the subject of draft variation 174. Historically, smaller clubs like the Hungarian Club have provided for specific social groups and played an important role in the development of Canberra's community. However, as the role of clubs has changed over time, smaller clubs have found it increasingly difficult to compete with the greater range of services and longer opening hours of the larger clubs.

The Hungarian Australian Club's experience is not atypical of a number of other smaller clubs in Canberra that have experienced similar viability problems. This appears to be due to a number of reasons, in particular the ageing and declining number of their member base and the trend for younger generations to frequent alternative venues.

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