Page 2919 - Week 09 - Thursday, 18 August 2005

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Melbourne and Sydney. The eight-month research program covered 121 cities in 11 countries; namely, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia and Japan. More than 2,000 individual business scenarios were examined. Canberra, with a cost index of 91.5, was rated third behind Adelaide and Brisbane. These are also compelling figures.

The key challenge for the government into the future is to make sure that young people stay in Canberra and to make sure that older Canberrans have the services, infrastructure and support they deserve as they age. The government’s planning and economic policies are well placed and are working to meet the following expectations: when it comes to planning, respecting the suburban quality of our streets; when it comes to transport planning, putting in place public transport infrastructure that helps support a competitive economy and a competitive and sustainable city; when it comes to creating attractive environments for younger people to live in, investing in creating more urban environments in our city centre, such as through the City West precinct; when it comes to economic policy, focusing on supporting businesses that are consistent with both our view and independent views that we are a knowledge-based economy and we get the biggest and best outcome for our city in supporting businesses that work in that environment.

We are tackling the skills shortages; we are focusing on giving the city the opportunity to expand, grow and develop into the future. The government’s Canberra plan outlines a comprehensive program of addressing these key challenges. It is a plan that I think will stand the test of time and focus our activities for a long way into the future.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (4.10): I feel somewhat misled by the title of Mr Seselja’s matter of public importance, which is “The outlook for Canberra’s social and commercial appeal to investors and residents”. I feel it is important to note that there is quite a difference between the interests of investors and residents. Sometimes they are the same people but, on the other hand, may have different aims for our cities. Investors can sometimes benefit Canberra, although that is not always the case.

Lately we have seen that investors, in reacting to market forces, have responded with certain kinds of buildings. We are now being warned that, in a few years, we may have too much office space. Although I do not have any data to prove it—I am waiting for experience to show us—I am of the opinion that we have too many medium density high-rise kinds of residences that are not responding so much to what residents want but to what investors think they want and where they believe the dollars are. Perhaps Mr Mulcahy will expand on that. I understand that Mr Seselja’s topic is huge and I doubt he got to say all he wanted to say.

Mr Seselja: Mr Mulcahy will cover other areas.

DR FOSKEY: That is good. This is a topic we talk about quite often in the Assembly in one way or another. We usually have the opposition saying, “This is wrong,” and then someone from the government saying, “No, this is right.” I am just not sure. I would like to see us go a little bit further and come together because, basically, we all want the same thing. We want Canberra to be a vital, energetic city; we want our own young people to stay here; and we want more young people to come here; we want a vital, growing economy; we want lots of arts events and sports events; basically we want everyone to be

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