Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5124 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
The government respects and encourages community management as a means of ensuring that broad community expectations are met. Community facilities exist solely to support community group and individual client activities and service delivery. Integral to that is the fact that the facilities, which are managed effectively, remain aligned with agreed objectives. Meeting the needs of all existing community organisations in the new centre is a difficult, complex and continuing process. The department will continue to consult with all interested parties to ensure that the new centre is managed effectively and that it is used to deliver those agreed objectives. The objectives, which will be negotiated by the board and the department in consultation with the tenants, will be reflected in the lease agreement.
It is not always easy to accommodate change. Many organisations are used to being where they are. They are comfortable with the familiar. However, the changes that are imminent for tenants in the Griffin Centre present them with many opportunities to examine the way in which they deliver their services. These changes also present members of the board with many opportunities to examine the way in which they manage the additional available space.
The government has made a commitment that current tenants of the Griffin Centre will be offered accommodation in the new centre. The government will not permit the operation of key funded organisations or programs to be jeopardised. The department will continue to work through this issue with the Griffin Centre board to undertake the planning and changes that are necessary to move into and effectively manage the new centre. This motion is unnecessary.
MS DUNDAS (4.47): The shortage of well-located community space is an issue that has been raised regularly in the Assembly. The redevelopment of section 56, specifically the Griffin Centre site, has highlighted this issue. The ACT Council of Cultural and Community Organisations Incorporated, which currently manages the Griffin Centre, raised concerns about the footprint of the new Griffin Centre building early on in the redevelopment process. It was rightly critical that the area of community facility land has been reduced under Territory Plan Variation 189 to enable that development.
The collection of services in the Griffin Centre is diverse, as is the population that is serviced. Not all services feel comfortable with the idea of sharing an access point and foyer area, especially when they are handling diverse issues and a diverse number of clients. Access to existing office space in the Griffin Centre is through external entrances along the verandas. That means that every office has responsibility for its own security. Although wheelchair access has always been poor at the Griffin Centre, ground floor space is generally better than above ground space, which can be accessed by lift.
The new building is to have far less ground floor space that is readily accessible to people with disabilities and far less office space with external entrances which are being utilised so well in the current Griffin Centre. I believe that the problems with the current design of new community space and section 56 stem from a failure to consult properly with the community sector about its needs. If the process had involved community stakeholders from the first design process we would have achieved a far better outcome. Existing organisations would have been accommodated in a way that enabled them to continue managing their services and there would have been some scope for future growth.