Page 2853 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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a motion on which we are all very happily agreeing with each other, which is a pleasant shift from the previous debate.

I do not want to take up too much of the Assembly’s time, but I want to address one issue that seems to be arsing in the context of development debates, and that is some argument for no growth in Canberra. I think the Assembly ought to be concerned, and I think that any task force that works on it from here ought to be concerned, that we at least assess and measure and then communicate the degree of dependence that this territory has on the process of growth itself at this stage. We have not reached the break-even point; we have not reached the point where this city and this economy can sustain themselves without the process of growth.

Mr Seselja: You have changed your tune from estimates.

MR QUINLAN: No, I haven’t.

Mr Seselja: You said before that you didn’t care where the growth came from. If it came from the region or if it came from Canberra, it’s all the same to you.

MR QUINLAN: I am saying that the economy of this place does need growth. I am sure that, in the context of estimates, my answer will reconcile with this.

Mr Seselja: You had better check that one as well, Ted.

MR QUINLAN: You go right ahead. But there has been some debate and there has been a thesis put forward from some quarters that we ought to be looking at no growth, and that is simply not sustainable within the ACT economy. For those who might put that proposition forward, it is incumbent upon them to also put forward an assessment of how we would manage our affairs under those quite distinctly changed circumstances. It is, I think, important in the process of consultation that the decisions are not only informed by, as the motion indicates, various sectors; it is also important that those various sectors are also equally informed by the reality of the position of the city at this stage.

From my own perspective, I do believe that there is strong argument for some bold measures to be taken in the development of the ACT, and in the development of Civic in particular, but we still have to take the measures and we cannot just rush out, dig a big hole and expect that the demand somehow will materialise in relation to residential, commercial and retail property. That is envisaged in some of the plans that we see. Although they have a long development period, they still represent a quantum shift in the size of Civic and a quantum shift in the amount of space that is available within the territory. We need to evaluate what is the likely demand growth and what is the potential demand growth.

I believe that bold moves taken will, in some part, engender growth themselves and that if we are a city on the move we will attract investment and we will attract growth. Nevertheless, we have to make some assessment of that and do some sensitivity analysis to be sure that what we are aiming at is not the impossible dream. We need to examine the model.

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