Page 1736 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 4 May 2005

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(1) notes the importance of the revitalisation of the City Hill and the Canberra City Centre;

(2) recognises the contribution of the National Capital Authority through the “Griffin Legacy”;

(3) notes the importance of giving the Canberra community adequate opportunity to contribute to debate on the issue; and calls on the Minister for Planning to consider all options with a view to the best outcomes being delivered for the City Hill/Canberra City area.

This motion addresses the debate that has emerged over the last month—one that has, in fact, being going on for a long time—in relation to a vision for our city, the completion of its heart and the way forward for an area which is widely accepted as badly in need of renovation and revitalisation.

The Canberra Times, during it is recent focus on the city heart, ably demonstrated many of the problems that exist with the city in it is present state. The points made by the Canberra Times include the general condition and appearance of shops along Northbourne Avenue; the overall condition of city centre footpaths, which are in a state of disrepair, are mismatched and haphazard, and are presenting a poor image to interstate and overseas visitors; and planning delays and red tape which have removed the incentives for business to invest in the ACT. In a recent press release, Keep Australia Beautiful drew attention to the state of the city, saying, “Canberra is a city scarred by graffiti, left untidy by litter.” There is an obvious need for us to focus our attention on Canberra.

Mr Speaker, citing the litany of problems could continue for the majority of this speech. I am sure that many members of this place could cite an endless number of matters that require attention. I think it is more pertinent, however, to address the importance of the city centre being revitalised—not just City Hill, but in regard to overall traffic flow, vehicle parking, pedestrian access and amenity provision. We need to think in terms of facilitating ongoing and growing success of business and making the city centre once again a desirable centre of activity for both locals and visitors. But we need to achieve these objectives through a process of community consultation and full consideration of all the options.

Needless to say, we also have to achieve these objectives by giving full consideration to the original objectives of the Griffin plan, whilst not blindly adhering to the vision of a city created almost 100 years ago and originally designed for just 70,000 residents. If we are serious about improving tourism, about bringing conferences and other functions to our community, about creating a city heart of which we can all be proud, the revitalisation of the city centre is of crucial importance.

There has been widespread acceptance from a number of stakeholders, the government, the business community, and the opposition in recent times that now is the time for this revitalisation to happen. In fact, we have had a number of business leaders and heads of industry groups make comment. I will read just a couple. Chris Peters said, “I am enthusiastic about the living city plan. It is a visionary plan.” John Miller, from the Canberra Business Council, said, “The time for talk is over, the time for action is now. If

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