Page 48 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 10 February 2015

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Canberra’s employment is now distributed across the town centres and this helps to reduce congestion and the personal costs of commuting. Urban renewal and more convenient public transport are important to help consolidate existing investment in our town centres. Just as we make sure that Canberrans have the chance to find jobs near their homes, we need to make sure that Canberrans have the chance to turn their ideas into new and innovative businesses.

Urban renewal, with new mixed use developments, will help new enterprises and particularly small and medium size businesses to find affordable commercial space. Urban renewal distributes commercial space and employment opportunities along our key transport routes, giving more Canberrans the choice to live closer to work and closer to more convenient and direct transport.

Our land release program is critical to the renewal of our suburbs. As well as new suburbs and communities on greenfield sites, the program includes sites in and around our town centres and others within the existing urban boundary. Of the 13½ thousand dwelling sites in the four-year program for 2014-15, 55 per cent are classified as infill. Canberra is a city that has been built on a grand scale, and urban renewal is crucial to be able to sensitively stitch our existing communities together with vibrant, new communities.

We need to ensure that that process of the new and the old is brought together effectively. I know anyone who has been to the Kingston foreshore recently will know just how much new projects can add to existing communities. We have a range of these projects underway around the city—in the Tuggeranong town centre at Greenway and at Campbell 5 along Constitution Avenue. They present exciting new opportunities for new investment, new jobs and new lifestyles for Canberrans.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, what is the government doing to encourage urban renewal in our suburbs and town centres?

MR BARR: The supply and release of land and new greenfield development is, of course, central to the government’s economic and social strategies to help support the needs of a growing population, a changing household composition and an expanding economy. But urban renewal is more than just new buildings. It is also about making sure that we keep our existing public spaces as vibrant community hubs and that we work with the community and the private sector to find new uses for existing buildings in our community. Finding new ways to use our existing buildings can bring new life and new business opportunities to areas of the city.

The Abode Hotel in Woden is just one example of what can be achieved through partnerships with the private sector. We can do this by making sure our planning and regulatory regime is open and responsive to new ideas. I am very proud to be leading a government that is delivering just that. As I am sure members know, a new hotel that sits in a building that was essentially unlettable because it was built to standards of a different time is now providing a vibrant new business opportunity in a green star

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