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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 February 2015) . . Page.. 123 ..

No-one in the federal Liberal government seems to have a clue as to how these types of poor decisions impact on local communities, schools, local businesses, transport, and most of all on individuals and their families. How many services such as cafes, restaurants and retail stores will be affected? How many people employed by those businesses and those who service these businesses will lose their jobs? This could have a devastating knock-on effect.

The uncertainty caused by this pending decision is already undermining business and investment confidence in Belconnen because of the fact that 4,000 public servants may leave the Belconnen area. Dr Bourke has clearly outlined the effect that this will have on parents who commute every morning and have chosen their workplace and the place where their children go to school, or who have chosen their childcare arrangements. How will this affect these children and parents? Think of the stress that these parents and children are going through as we speak, as they contemplate what arrangements they are going to need to make.

Indeed, it will affect our roads, with possibly another couple of thousand cars on Belconnen Way. We heard from Dr Bourke how people’s transport arrangements will be thrown into confusion. And the reasons we have been given for considering such a move are not convincing at best. The Liberals need to understand how communities develop and thrive, and stop doing their best to destroy them.

That is why I am supporting this motion, which calls on the Speaker to convey the Assembly’s strong request to the federal government to keep the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Belconnen.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.40): I will be supporting this motion today. I recognise the need for the Assembly, through the Speaker, to communicate our concerns for the future of the Belconnen town centre, and the implications of possible federal government actions on the city as a whole.

The department that we are discussing today has a very significant presence in the Belconnen town centre, as members have touched on today. It sits right at the heart of the town centre, with four buildings holding the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. They are right at the heart of that busy, vibrant commercial and transport hub.

The move under consideration could see approximately 4,000 employees moved to some other part of the city, presumably Civic or possibly other parts. The final relocation space has not been decided upon, so it is not exactly clear. But the possibility of losing 4,000 workers from the Belconnen town centre is very disturbing and would have a very detrimental impact on local business, local house prices and undoubtedly on plans for new development in the area.

Just a few weeks ago I met a small business owner from the town centre and had a particular discussion with him. Basically, he talked to me about the number of staff that he employs and the consequences of this decision. He left me in no uncertainty about how he felt about it. There were in fact a few expletives involved in the

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