Page 3513 - Week 11 - Thursday, 19 September 2013

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Rocks and feel that maritime influence, the water influence on Sydney—the combination of the old, the Rocks, the sandstone buildings and the new, whether it be Utzon’s Opera House or the Cafe Sydney that sits on top of the Customs House.

It is about getting it right. Mr Rattenbury, Mr Barr and myself were lucky enough to have dinner last evening with Larry Altman, the gentleman who is here to conduct the seminar on a new convention centre. He said that our problem is that there is this void at the centre of our city. There is this big hole in the middle. There is no sense of city because we have not achieved that yet. Maybe that is one of the achievements that we should be looking at for the second century of this centre, that we have a reasonable discussion about what happens inside London Circuit and the blocks between London Circuit and, depending on the side you are looking at, Coranderrk Street or Marcus Clarke Street. But where is the real heart of the city? How do we define ourselves?

Again, the charter of new urbanism says that urban places should be framed by architecture and landscape, significant buildings that define the public space. Seriously, one of those Civic buildings that we truly should be considering is a new convention centre, something that defines us as a meeting place, as neutral ground. Our name “Canberra” means meeting place. It should be a case of Canberra by name, Canberra by nature.

We should have a discussion about how we define ourselves. There is a real opportunity here. Canberra is a magnificent blank canvas. It is kind of like the Mona Lisa without Mona sitting there. It is that beautiful Tuscan background that so many of the renaissance painters used to paint. The way they did the background was quite unique. It mirrored the hills and the general vegetation of Tuscany. Then they would put in their characters and tell their story in the foreground. Canberra is a lot like that. We have protected the vegetation. We have kept off the hills and ridges. But the city is low in its visual impact when it comes to the majority of places around the city.

The question for us, as the ones who will set the path for the coming centuries, is: how do we protect Canberra’s urban environment from decay? How do we make a city heart so that it pumps strongly and the rest of the city functions properly? How do we survive economically? How do we pay for these protections that we want and the services that we need and deserve? How do we protect the things that we love so much, whether they be the open spaces, the bird calls in the mornings or the beautiful sunsets not being obscured by buildings?

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (4.09): The government has a long and proud history of protecting and enhancing our urban and natural environments, and across a wide range of policy areas from environmental and water management to sustainable transport to supporting the viability of upgrading of urban places like our local centres. Far from the decay Mr Smyth appears to believe the city is falling into, this government has set a strong foundation to support the long-term future of the city and the territory.

The only way for governments to deliver outcomes for the future is by ensuring we have the right planning and policy frameworks in place that build shared goals and

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