Page 1330 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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You cannot just slavishly follow all the lines of Peter Costello—a man who is not given to logic and reason in his dealings. He has been described, quite aptly, as a bully. If you want to back him in his bullying tactics—those tactics that could cost the citizens of the ACT funding available to them up to $50 million a year—you really have to take a good look at who put you here in the first place and whom you are elected to represent. I think it is the people of the ACT. If not, be honest and say so.

Civic Square—redevelopment

DR FOSKEY: My question is directed to the minister responsible for the construction of the new library and relates to ACT government plans for Civic Square. The Chief Minister in a 24 January media release commented:

The project will enliven the Civic Square cultural precinct, significantly increase community usage of the square …

The architectural model of the new civic library and link building design on display in the foyer of the Canberra Museum and Gallery does not show any change to the layout of the square, apart from the entrance to the library. Civic Square is an important space that has the ability not only to draw traffic but also to be a place for community resting, reflection, celebration, protest and demonstration.

How does the redevelopment of Civic Square figure in plans for the new $14 million Civic library and link building and is it being considered within the Griffin legacy plan for Civic?

MR STANHOPE: I am aware, of course, as all members would be, of some commentary of recent times about the architectural appropriateness and consistency with some of the initial planning ideals of those who planned the city, particularly in relation to the major axis of Ainslie Avenue and the impact of constructions within Civic Square—indeed, views about the extent to which the construction of the library in Civic Square might impinge on its identity as a major community space. All of these issues were taken into account in the very long gestation of the civic library. This is a project that has now been in planning for well over four years. It is a project initiated by the previous government and inherited by my government. It has been consulted on exhaustively over that period by successive ACT governments. Much of that consultation involved the NCA, because of the national capital implications.

In relation to the issue at the heart of the question around its consistency with planning principles, and particularly those that relate to the role of Ainslie Avenue as a major axis within the plan, the ultimate design of the library was approved. In fact, it was modified and then approved by the NCA to ensure that it did not impact or impinge on those values. It needs to be remembered that, in the context of issues that are now being raised around the potential impact of the library on those national capital aspects, the design was changed, amended, to reflect the views of the NCA on that specific issue. The design that was finally approved and that the ACT government committed to was, essentially, an NCA approved plan.

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