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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4676 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

and others are to be encouraged as ways of constantly highlighting areas that become a little drab with time and the opening of shops elsewhere.

Hobart Place is being revamped, while Civic Square is turning into a dead end of a place, used mainly for protests. Why is Civic Square being neglected?

MR STANHOPE: I do not believe Civic Square is being neglected at all. There are a whole range of issues in relation to the development and enlivening of Civic. Some of the policies Mr Corbell has announced in relation to our need to ensure far greater densities of residential accommodation and population around each of our major centres are fundamental to our capacity to lift the life of all of our major centres.

There are two issues, Mrs Cross. One is about the appearance, the amenity and the work that has been done for the beautification of different areas of Civic or the different parts of town. The other is about the life that exists within our town centres. Civic certainly faces significant challenges in relation to its description as the major place for shopping and of cultural and community activity. It is an issue for us all.

Fundamentally, we need to ensure that we have much denser levels of residential accommodation in Civic. We also need to maintain a higher level of office space and workplaces in Civic if we are to make it a more vital heart of the city. The City Heart group is working hard to ensure that Civic maintains good aspect and amenity and that we continue to enhance life here.

Many exciting things are beginning to happen: the NICTA development; the City West master planning that has been undertaken, with the potential that it has; and the QIC development of section 56, which is now under way. Some quite exciting developments are occurring all around Civic. As we continue to grow and develop these facilities, the city will meet its real potential.

MRS CROSS: I have a supplementary question. Minister, what specific initiatives has your government put together to encourage better use of Civic Square over the next few months so that this end of Civic can also become a lively and exciting place to be?

MR STANHOPE: Mrs Cross, I can go through each sector of the city in relation to that. We all know that Civic Square by itself has always represented significant problems because no-one lives there and very few people work there. If one was to be particularly cruel, one would refer to the fact that it is where we work and are located and we are not exactly a magnet. More is the pity.

I am not quite sure why one would pick out this square as the square one should devote our energies and resources to. All parts of the city are important. In relation to the life of the city, it is all about critical mass, it is about the number of people that work there and it is about the reasons for visiting. I do not know whether we would look to a policy to artificially create a focus of attention on a particular square just because at the moment it is a little dull.

There is a whole range of issues. You can go to the architecture of the place, you can go to the amenity of the place, you can go to whether or not public transport drops in the place, you can go to whether there is access to the place or you can go to whether or not

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