Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 September 2005) . . Page.. 3480 ..
South Wales—after all, we are just a hole in the middle of it—and realise that we should think about this too: that some of the old ways of planning suburbs did work; that it is important that we have ways that people can come together, especially when we have a demographic trend which is going to see more and more people living on their own and becoming isolated, whether they like it or not.
I commend my motion. I am sorry that the government has seen fit to seek to amend it, because I believe that we should always be self-critical in these things, whether we are in government or not. This is a motion that I believe is not too difficult for the government to agree to.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning, and Acting Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Acting Minister for Women and Acting Minister for Industrial Relations) (3.53): I thank Dr Foskey for moving this motion today. She raises a number of very important issues around the provision of local shops, of small-scale retail activities in suburban areas. The government recognises that these are services, these are land uses, which help bind our communities together. They provide that opportunity for casual, local interaction, for recognition at a local level and help build a sense of community. And the government remains committed to ensuring that these facilities are provided.
The government, though, also recognises that the way services and local centres were provided and planned for in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s was in a very different context from the times that we face now. So the challenge for us, as a community, is to maintain local services, local retail activity, whilst also ensuring that that type of activity remains viable and an attractive option for people to invest in and to provide. Whilst we, as a whole, view our local shops as a community service, they are also a business; they are also a commercial proposition that has to stack up commercially if they are going to remain available to us to use and to get direct and indirect benefits from.
Dr Foskey makes one important mistake in her speech where she suggests that the provisions of variation 200 to the territory plan have enabled redevelopment to occur at these local centres. That is simply incorrect. The local centres are not governed by residential land use policies, which is what variation 200 deals with. Local centres, group centres and town centres are dealt with by different provisions of the territory plan that deal with local centres, group centres and town centres.
The local centre policy, which is in place now and permits residential alongside retail uses, is a provision of the territory plan that was agreed to way back in 1996 or 1997. It was a unanimous position of this Assembly. In fact, all members, including crossbench and independent members, agreed with that approach. What that approach said was that local centres should remain as areas that provide retail activity but that they should also have the capacity for some residential activity within that retail context. Essentially the proposal was a mixed-use development.
A mixed-use development can provide the best of both worlds. It can provide the retail activity. It can also provide some residential activity as well as retail activity that allow the owner or owners of the centre to get the capital they need to refurbish the retail activity. It also allows for greater levels of physical activity and activity from people throughout the week, including and especially at night. That was the policy objective that