Page 4852 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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early next year. The Civic Development Authority Bill proposes an authority with focus limited to development of City Hill. It is not an appropriate vehicle to engage in and resolve broader aspects that are important to the city’s ongoing revitalisation. The current Canberra central program not only influences the government’s decisions on releasing land—how much, where and when—but also addresses linking into public transport strategies, employment policies, community facilities, public realm improvements and management, and events and marketing for the city.

Vibrant cities are created by the successful layering and coordinating of all of the many cultural, economic and social issues. This bill would result in constant friction between the established planning and development arrangements, which include the substantial and important role of the National Capital Authority. It is, quite simply, a recipe for constant government intervention, controversy and disaster.

What is most telling about this bill is the lack of recognition of who actually has planning control in this area. Is it the ACT government that has planning control over City Hill? The answer to that is no, it is not. So how does Mr Seselja propose that the NCA relinquish its planning responsibilities through the passage of this bill? The NCA will do no such thing. The NCA have indicated very clearly that they wish to retain ultimate responsibility for land use control in relation to this part of the city. They consider it an important part of the overall legacy left by the city’s designer, Walter Burley Griffin, and they will not accept any relinquishing of that responsibility. That is a simple fact that Mr Seselja has ignored in this bill.

In contrast, the government is establishing new advisory arrangements to allow us to continue the partnership and team-based approach that has worked so successfully to date. We have successfully engaged with the National Capital Authority, respected their role and the important contribution they make, and we have worked together with respected leaders in private business, as well as relevant public sector officials, to drive forward the future vision for the city centre. Our new advisory arrangements will not have statutory powers, and we are not proposing a development authority or decision-making body to replace existing government agencies; rather, an advisory and coordinating body that complements and draws on existing government capabilities as well as private sector experience to ensure continuous, dedicated and focused attention to the development of the whole city centre.

That is the other weakness in this bill. This bill targets part of the city and neglects the rest. This bill focuses on one part of the city and neglects Canberra central as a whole. The city does not stop at London Circuit. The city is a central area. From Ainslie Avenue to University Avenue, across to West Basin and all the way over to Russell: that is the Canberra central area. That is the area that we must focus on in its entirety.

The government is determined to make sure that new planning changes are in place to permit development. Today, I have outlined a detailed response on the land use changes we will be requesting from the National Capital Authority to provide for development potential of up to 420,000 square metres of area in this part of the city centre. The government has also outlined what it believes is an appropriate development sequence, which is already emerging from the high level of investment which is already happening in our city and which will be built on ultimately with the completion of the City Hill precinct.

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