Page 4020 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013
very well for the reasons that have been identified. Putting the Australia forum alongside City Hill will mean it will be much more integrated with the city and allow people to easily walk to the forum and any of the shops, cafes and restaurants in the area and make it much more part of that whole city to the lake project which seeks to create a greater level of connectivity and bring more life to the city.
Certainly, the current round of consultation on the city plan and any resulting planning processes need to ensure they work around the needs of the Australia forum. That is going to be critical. In particular, a hotel must be within the immediate vicinity of the forum and must be entrenched in the city plan. Issues around security and parking will also need to be addressed. This means translating requirements for the Australia forum into the city master plan or precinct plan and, thus, ultimately into the territory plan.
Another requirement is that the Australia forum be an iconic building, noting both its local and national importance and role, and that vistas to and from the building are maintained and, again, enshrined into our plans. Another thing Larry Oltmanns was clear on in my discussions with him and in the seminars he gave is the need to create a multi-functional space—one that can be used for many different purposes and rearranged easily so the venue can host many different kinds of events concurrently. Anyone who has been to the Melbourne exhibition centre would understand how this works. That is was one of Mr Oltmanns’s designs, and I think people would agree that it really meets the goals of being well integrated into the city. It draws people to it. It is easily accessible by public transport and is only a five-minute walk to the CBD. It has also boosted the use of the area around Southbank, and the accommodation and hospitality sectors have a great base to rely on accordingly. That is something we can always benefit from in Canberra.
The Melbourne exhibition centre was the first convention centre in the world to meet a six-star green-star rating, and I am sure the Australia forum could easily do this and also improve, in many ways, on the Melbourne example, given its proposed positioning of prominence adjacent to City Hill in the context of the symmetry of the Griffin plans.
With those few remarks, I indicate I will support Mr Barr’s amendment. The specific locking in of the trust idea is one I do not understand the detail of; no detail has been set out. Given the letter we have just received from the Convention Bureau, which sets out a clear pathway for moving this to being investment ready, I think we have a road map that is a good one. It may warrant some further discussion; I only received it in the last day or two so I have not had a chance to go through it in a super detailed way, but it has been prepared by Ernst &Young and it certainly does not identify the specific need for a trust. So I would be reluctant to support that specific mechanism at this point. Mr Barr’s amendment sets out steps from here, and I think that gives us a good pathway forward.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.24): It gives me great pleasure to rise here today to talk about the convention centre and what seems to be the tripartisan view about the idea for a convention centre and the very real need to make sure that it does not just remain an idea but does at some stage in the future