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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 February 2015) . . Page.. 120 ..

planning. At the time the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope, said, “We don’t need it.” The Belconnen Community Council, for as long as I have been an elected member, has been calling out for comprehensive master planning for Belconnen so that there is not a hodgepodge.

Yes, we have tables by the lake, but it has been a long, hard process. I will be critical of previous Liberal governments because we sold off land bit by bit without thought and we ended up with a whole lot of fast food outlets with drive-throughs right on the lake. It was a spectacular piece of bad planning because we never comprehensively master planned. We had a master plan for the foreshore, but we have not had a master planning process until quite recently for the entirety of Belconnen. Without that, we do not have the capacity to actively grow.

There is an issue in relation to business in Belconnen that I will touch on briefly—that is parking and the lack of listening this government does in relation to parking needs in the Belconnen area. The coffee shops and carpet stores and bicycle stores and those shops opposite the old Belconnen police station have begged this government to at least free up the few parking spaces that were part of the block of the Belconnen police station so there could be a few more parking spaces—10 or a dozen, maybe 20 parking spaces. They begged this government over and over again. What have they done? They put up a construction fence and have now constructed a more permanent fence to cut off that parking. They have been specifically begged by local businesses to free up some more parking in that area, but they would not do it. It was a matter of moving a fence a few metres and they would not do it.

There are things we need to do in Belconnen. We need to have master planning in Belconnen, and I am glad there is now a master planning process. We need to be listening to people and actually doing something. Doorknocking is all very well, but if you are not actually advocating and doing something about the parking in Belconnen, it does not matter a tinker’s.

We need to stand up to this federal government, as we should have stood up to previous governments, and say, “Do not mess with our economy by shifting people around.” First and foremost we must ensure that we as an Assembly send a very loud and clear message that we believe that, as the seat of government, government agencies belong here in the ACT. I commend my amendments.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (10.31): I am pleased to speak to this motion today and thank Dr Bourke for bringing it forward. As a long-term elected Labor member for Ginninderra, it always gives me great pleasure to be able to talk about Ginninderra and Belconnen in particular. It is a beautiful part of the ACT, as I think many people in this chamber would agree. I am very proud to represent it and feel very privileged to be able to represent it.

Madam Assistant Speaker, as you know, Belconnen will be celebrating its 50th birthday next year. In a few short years the population of this region, according to the 2011 census, surpassed 92,444. With such a large and fast-growing population, the Belconnen town centre has grown to serve as a major commercial centre, with car dealers, repairers, service stations, hardware stores, restaurants, cafes, specialty retailers, and large and small clothing boutiques.

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