Page 1427 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 April 2013

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People should read the article by Jenny Stewart in the Canberra Times on 6 April 2013. I think the last paragraph is also fine. She says:

In launching her plan, the Chief Minister managed to use the words “vibrant”, “dynamic” and “sustainable”—

I do not think we had come up with “transformational” at that stage—

all in the one sentence, which is pretty good going. But what Canberra City really needs in its 100th year is good, competent planning that is fiscally realistic and respects the open spaces and parklands around the lake. It would be a terrible irony if, in connecting the city to the lake, an important part of the lake itself were to be put out of reach of many Canberra residents.

That is not a bad summary. But let us face it: this government has form on the delivery of capital works and it has neglected the city centre for 12 years. Let us face it: great cities have great city centres. I remind members that much of this work has already been done. In 1998 we started a consultation process. It was called “Our city—a vital, accessible and sustainable Civic”. In 1999 we had “Creating our city, an implementation strategy”, and in 2001, “Building our city, the strategy to implement it”.

Of course, that work was neglected and forgotten by the government. We know that when Mr Corbell was our planning minister he did not actually have a plan for Civic. Mr Seselja, when he was the planning spokesman, actually tabled a bill to set up a Capital Hill planning authority because the government seemed incapable of doing it.

I understand that Terry Snow on his own put $100,000 in to promote debate about this in 2006-07. He came up with “Living city Canberra” with Colin Stewart. They did some fabulous work. But, again, that has lain dormant for almost seven years because this government does not deliver. It is great that we are actually having a discussion about the city. Great cities should have great city hearts.

One of the limiting factors, I think, on Canberra and the constant criticism about Canberra city is that there is not a location; there is not a heart of it. That is what we should be creating. It may come out of this process. But I suspect that given this government’s ability not to deliver, to consistently not deliver, whether it be on the prison, whether it be on the GDE, whether it be on secure mental health facilities, whether it be on Tharwa Bridge—never to deliver on time, on budget, on scope—one can only assume this is a PR exercise of enormous magnitude, because this government never follows through.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (12.20): I thank Ms Porter for moving the motion. It is always a pleasure to speak after Mr Smyth, particularly when he has just engaged in another classic exercise of walking both sides of the street. Of all the people to have quoted in relation to the Griffin legacy, the work of the NCA and then this project, he drew out Jenny Stewart.

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