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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 11 February 2015) . . Page.. 131 ..

Belconnen Community Council supports this initiative. I have already talked about Dr Leigh running a petition against this proposal. We have also seen, as Mr Hanson has said again today, his support for the retention of the department in Belconnen. We now see also the passionate advocacy from Senator Zed Seselja, just as he showed for Tuggeranong last year.

Given the scale of the prospect facing Belconnen is more than double the effect that it would have had in Tuggeranong—some 4,000 workers in the Immigration building alone—and also the effect that it would have on the broader community, it is clear that we need each person in this place and each person who represents Canberrans in the federal government to defend Belconnen, Immigration workers and the Belconnen community and keep that department in Belconnen. There will be a deep and lasting impact if this decision goes ahead. It is in the best interests of economic sustainability and fairness more broadly for the Belconnen community that we call on them to preserve this important part of the Belconnen workforce and the Belconnen community. I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (11.12): I rise today to support Dr Bourke’s motion. I will not be supporting the opposition’s first amendment, especially in regard to removing paragraph (1). I want to focus this morning particularly on paragraph (1) and, through my portfolio of planning, the work that has been done in the past and the work that has been done on future planning for Belconnen. So it is a different tack than we have heard this morning.

The ACT planning strategy calls for master plans to be undertaken, responding to place-specific needs for Canberra to be a city where everybody can take advantage of its network of centres, open spaces and modes of travel to enjoy a sense of wellbeing and participate in a vibrant civic and cultural life. In addition, I am pleased to advise that the master plan program, as it progresses, is responding to the emergent policy agenda of this government by seeking to implement the outcomes and recommendations of strategies and programs aimed at ensuring that investment in our urban areas, such as Belconnen and the town centre, meets the aspirations and needs of the community both now and into the future.

I want to reflect on Mrs Dunne’s comments earlier about calling for more comprehensive master plans. Contrary to her comments, the master planning process for Belconnen started quite a while ago. If we look at ACTPLA’s website, the urban planning and development history of the area shows that the town centre plans, the first planning and design concepts for Belconnen town centre, were prepared in 1968 as part of a master plan report. Some of the illustrations produced as part of that first town centre master plan—and do not forget it was the first town centre master plan—were reproduced in Tomorrow’s Canberra in 1970. It states:

The Belconnen Town Centre will provide a wide range of commercial, social, employment, and residential facilities for the district population 120,000.

The commercial area will consist of a two-level shopping core closely integrated with other commercial, cultural, social, and entertainment facilities as well as private and government office precincts.

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