Page 1244 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2015

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Members interjecting—


MR COE: The opposition are excited about the opportunities we have to invest in infrastructure across Canberra, including Gungahlin.

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, if you wish to raise a point of order, please stand, and note that it is a point of order. There is no point in interjecting from your chair that you have some issue. If you have a point of order, please stand.

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Women and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Social Inclusion and Equality) (4.10): As the Chief Minister has said, it is good to have the opposition belatedly engaging with our urban renewal agenda. We hold our breath for some genuine alternative policy—a genuine alternative policy like light rail that will create jobs for our community all across the ACT—but in the meantime we are always happy to have the conversation.

The fact is that the government’s broad urban renewal agenda brings benefits across numerous portfolio areas. Look at public housing. Both the Chief Minister and I have been speaking again during this sitting about the major renewal program underway in the housing portfolio. The choice is between ageing stock with high maintenance, less amenity and less accessibility or new stock—built for purpose, modern, efficient, better for tenants and better for the urban environment. We have chosen the second option. We are committed to replacing 1,288 dwellings under our public housing renewal program, and we have chosen to include our public housing tenants in a broader vision for Northbourne Avenue because we believe everyone can benefit through the program of urban renewal when you take your opportunity and you get your policy right: new homes, new job opportunities, new transport connections, new levels of activity and atmosphere. When you look at success stories of urban renewal from around the world, that is what they have achieved.

Of course, the government’s ambition spans across the territory. It carries through in numerous master planning processes, and the opportunities for town centres such as Belconnen are great. The Belconnen town centre provides a commercial hub for the residents of Belconnen—a centre for recreation, employment, health and retail. The centre’s setting by Lake Ginninderra and its relationship with many institutions offers advantages unmatched by any other urban areas in Australia.

The new master plan for the town centre will create exciting opportunities for renewal in physical, economic and social terms: improving pedestrian and cycle connections into and across the town centre, creating distinct destination precincts, fostering opportunities for small business through planning and design, looking for new opportunities to connect with surrounding precincts like the University of Canberra and the Australian Institute of Sport, and planning long term for future development needs.

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