Page 1184 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 20 March 2013

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Local shopping centres

MRS JONES (Molonglo) (6.11): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) that the state of local shopping centres across Canberra is deteriorating with regard to a range of issues including cleanliness, parking, access, lighting and safety; and

(b) that despite repeated assurances from the Government that issues at local shops are being addressed, the state of many local shops remains unsatisfactory; and

(2) calls on the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services to:

(a) explain to the Assembly why local shops have been neglected; and

(b) outline to the Assembly action he is taking to improve the maintenance of local shops.

I am very pleased today to be able to draw the Assembly’s attention to the state of local shopping centres, because well-maintained shops are a real asset to a local community while dilapidated shops are a burden. Well-maintained shops are places where people meet. They are places where people get to know each other. They are places where the local community can connect and create stronger networks. Dilapidated, dark, falling-down shops needing paint, needing lighting are not only a burden on local people but also they can become a hotbed of petty crime.

I understand that the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services has a program of upgrading local shopping centres and that some work has been done. But may I just draw everyone’s attention to the fact that 40 years ago, writing about town planning, the academic Hugh Stretton said of Canberra:

This city is built of units, neighbourhoods that can support a primary school and a walk in shopping centre. Three or four of them are grouped to share a larger shopping and service centre. Three or four or five of such groups make a district of 60-120,000 people with a major town centre.

Our whole city has been developed around the concept of a local shopping centre which backs us up, which gives us an opportunity to meet each other, which can be a hub of activity and a hive of networking. Hugh Stretton was reflecting on the Canberra that we know, and he was reflecting on what we all know—that local shops were meant to be within walking distance and were meant to serve as a local community hub.

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