Page 3976 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013

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massive population transfer. The National Capital Development Commission, the NCDC, was more concerned with settling new arrivals in well-serviced satellite cities and developing these town centres as viable commercial and transport hubs.

There was a necessity and perhaps a natural tendency for the NCDC town planners to exercise their skills and talents in these new town centres and not mess too much with Civic. Civic, after all, was the creation of the Griffins and our early planners—and we heard in the speech of Ms Berry this morning about the Griffin legacy on which Civic has been built—and it could wait for a major makeover.

However, even back in 1965 an NCDC publication, The future Canberra, showed one vision for Civic which included sunken ring roads, diverting traffic around the city and a city hall atop City Hill. That would have been an interesting place for us to be in here today. As I say, the focus of planners for many years, however, was on the new town centres, at the expense of Civic.

In Belconnen, in my electorate of Ginninderra, we are reaping the benefits of the early planning of its town centre which has set us up for the new growth there, making it Canberra’s largest and most dynamic town centre. It shows what we can do on a grander scale in Civic, with the bold new city plan, capital metro and the city to the lake plan.

I spoke last week in an adjournment speech about how the Belconnen town centre is undergoing a transformation, with large investments in retail, business and residential developments, in addition to the government’s recent investments there in rapid bus transport, especially in the Lake Ginninderra foreshore, including the parks, the new wetlands and developments along Emu Bank. I said that at Emu Bank we have already brought the city to the lake. It is lined with eateries, outdoor tables and parks where people can enjoy the vista of Lake Ginninderra.

As the vision in the draft city plan for Civic shows, we can do much better in the heart of our city. The time has come in our second century to set up Civic for the future, a future that will benefit all Canberrans and, indeed, all Australians as a worthy metropolitan centre of our nation’s capital. It is truly time to think big about our city centre—not to think small, to think big about our city centre. And the plan sets out options for improved public spaces, a range of transport choices that include light rail and opportunities for future growth of the city centre.

It is an exciting time in the development of Canberra as a whole. With the maturing of our older town centres and the success of Gungahlin, the infrastructure of the old Y plan for Canberra is in place. We are now at the phase of filling it in. The newest town centre, Molonglo, is underway and developments such as the Quay at Tuggeranong are further strengthening the town centres.

The draft city plan gives focus to a trend already underway, with more and more people making Civic their home. The plan will help to accelerate the increase in the residential population of the city centre. We want a dynamic, exciting city centre, not just with more people in it. We want the advanced day and night economy and lifestyle that will support and attract others to the pulsing heart of a great Australian city.

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