Page 625 - Week 02 - Thursday, 19 February 2015

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However, as I stated last week in this place, the progress we are seeing in Belconnen is now very uncertain due to the not well thought out proposal by the Liberal federal government to move the Department of Immigration and Border Protection from Belconnen. If this goes ahead, as you can imagine, it will be a concern not only for residents and the staff of the department but also for business owners, investors and those who shop, work, dine and recreate in Belconnen. It is my hope that common sense will prevail.

As we can see, urban renewal has improved Canberra’s livability and reputation by capitalising on our local community assets, inspiration and potential to ultimately create high quality public spaces and promote people’s health, happiness and wellbeing. This improvement has seen Canberra ranked number one on the list of most livable cities, both nationally, by the Property Council of Australia, in March 2014, and internationally, by the OECD, in October 2014.

There has also been a marked increase in the pride that residents have for Canberra as their city, as their home. The post-centenary survey shows that nine out of 10 respondents had positive feelings about the national capital and that they had discussed the city positively with family, friends, colleagues and people living elsewhere or overseas. Mr Assistant Speaker, I am sure that you have noticed that gone are the days when people continually referred to Canberra as being a boring place. Definitely that is behind us, I would suggest. There is a real sense that, through the many urban renewal projects, Canberrans are feeling more connected to their city and proud to call Canberra home.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (3.50): Urban renewal is critical to improving our city’s competitiveness, our productivity, the livability of Canberra and our economic liability in the long term. Urban renewal is about building communities and making places. It is also about delivering new jobs for our city. It is about shaping our built environment to reflect who we are: a confident, bold and ready city and one that has earned its position amongst the great places in the world to live. Urban renewal is about capitalising on our local community’s assets, inspiration and potential, to create high quality public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness and wellbeing. Urban renewal means shaping our environment to facilitate social interaction and to improve our community’s quality of life.

My government are dedicated to urban renewal—just as we are dedicated to maintaining the amenity of our suburbs and getting the most from our existing assets as our population grows. Making places and building our community through urban renewal is more than just new buildings and new construction dollars. The time to talk Canberra 2030 extensive consultation reached out to our entire community and helped all of us in this place to understand just what it is that the people of our city want as we grow.

The consultation found that what Canberrans want from their city has changed. Almost no-one wanted suburbs that sprawl further and further from the city centre.

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