Page 4939 - Week 15 - Thursday, 15 December 2005

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be a planning authority or decision-making body and should not replicate the resources already in place. The government has decided to continue with the existing task force in the interim. We will establish a new permanent advisory forum of both private and public sector representatives, which will be announced earlier next year. This new permanent advisory body will differ from the task force recommendation, in that it will have a clear focus on the Canberra central area as a whole, not just on the City Hill precinct. In order to continue with the invaluable work the task force has already accomplished, the government will request it to oversee and monitor the current Canberra central program until the new permanent advisory mechanism is established, and to assume responsibility for the implementation of the Canberra central program.

Detailed investigations to further the principles and actions outlined in the task force report, which was made public on 14 December this year, will continue. These investigations will include rigorous assessment and analysis of the market, land economics, engineering feasibility studies, analysis of the public realm, city patterns and car park area. These investigations are crucial to underpin any indicative development scenario and sequential plan for the future development of our city centre. The government is looking forward to seeing the results of this work.

The government will also be investigating key development trigger projects that will help facilitate ongoing interest in the city centre, such as the investigation of the feasibility of a new convention centre and five-star hotel, a new mixed-use recreation facility on the site of the Civic swimming pool, a new government office block and potentially the first residential tower within the City Hill precinct—that is, inside London Circuit.

Based on the preliminary financial modelling, the task force report has reached a different conclusion from that of the living city proposal. There are a number of reasons for the differences with the living city proposal, including different land areas, different land pricing, displacement costs, car parking revenue, taxation assumptions and different assumptions around prevailing market conditions.

The task force took the view that selecting a single design would not deliver the outcomes necessary for government to progress the long-term planning and development of Civic and the City Hill precinct in particular. In doing so it has provided a comprehensive set of planning and design principles that will be interpreted into an indicative development plan that can be adopted by both the NCA and the ACT government to guide development in the area over the long term.

The government is pleased with the task force report. It provides a clear way forward for achieving our vision to create a dynamic heart for the city. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this major project to date—in particular, the members of the public who made submissions; the task force chair, Mr Jim Service, for his time and commitment; the independent members and the government members of the task force. Their commitment and contributions have been pivotal to the quality of the recommendations and the ongoing success of the government’s Canberra central strategy. I present the following paper:

Canberra Central Taskforce Report—Government response—Ministerial statement, 15 December 2005.

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