Page 502 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 21 February 2012

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MR SPEAKER: There is no further discussion in the sense that there is no standing order to continue this conversation, unless you want to move a substantive motion, Mr Hanson. I am afraid that is the only option open to you.

Mr Hanson: Thank you.

Planning—Hawker shops

MR COE: My question is to the Minister for Economic Development. Minister, regarding the Hawker shops proposal, which is now on hold for three years, how much money was spent by the ACT government on plans, reports, meetings, models, media and consultants? Is it true that around $1 million has been spent so far?

MR BARR: That is not my understanding. I think that that figure would be inflated. There would be some difficulty, obviously, in costing the exact number of hours and minutes that some staff within the Land and Development Agency and the Economic Development Directorate would have spent in relation to the proposal. Clearly community consultation on the proposal has led to inconclusive outcomes. The various drafts of the master plan and the various community input opportunities delivered a fairly split outcome in relation to approval or otherwise for the particular various iterations of the draft.

I am happy to provide some further information to the member. It is important to note that, as this issue will undoubtedly come up again in the next Assembly, the work that has been undertaken to date is not in any way wasted and in fact provides a useful base for further consideration. But it is clear from where the process had got to at the beginning of 2012 that there was not a community consensus. There was an important opportunity for a moment to pause and reflect upon the issues that have been raised and I had a decision to take in relation to the need to undertake work in other parts of the city.

I know Ms Le Couteur, amongst others, has been interested in wanting to see the Downer project get underway and to have that process developed further, and it is the same staff who are ultimately engaged. We have finite resources. It became clear to me that there was not going to be an outcome from Hawker at this time, that it was best to provide a cooling-off period, an opportunity for people to reflect upon the issues that have been raised, and from there it became important to focus on the variety of other town centres and local shopping centres and group centres that require attention.

As members opposite would be aware, when I was planning minister I undertook a master planning process, set in place a framework in relation to master planning exercises for each of the territory group centres and put in place a process that would facilitate the orderly master planning of all of the group centres in the territory. Consequential from that is a role for the Economic Development Directorate and the Land Development Agency where ACT government land is part of any master planning process and where any land sales or associated development may need to be facilitated.

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