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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 May 2015) . . Page.. 1335 ..

Today, in response to my questions on the status of the master plans for Calwell and Tharwa, Minister Gentleman said that the government would “consult with the community as soon as we possibly can”. I think it is safe to say that ministers’ ideas of consultation are often a far cry from what the community expects.

It is important to remember that the views of the community go far and beyond the opinions of any one individual and that all members of the Tharwa village and the surrounding areas need to be offered the same opportunity to voice their views on the future of this important historical township.

I do not believe it is all doom and gloom for our villages, and Tharwa in particular has much untapped potential, both as a thriving artisan community and a bustling tourist destination. I and my colleagues believe things can be done to return precincts such as Tharwa back to their former glory. It can be done with a bit of will and proper consultation and far less procrastination than is currently being shown by the ACT government.

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) (4.04): I thank Mr Wall for this matter of public importance on ACT rural villages. The ACT government recognises the importance of our rural villages and has a number of plans and strategies in place to retain the unique nature of these areas for future generations to enjoy.

In 2012 the ACT government released the ACT planning strategy. The planning strategy calls for preparedness to retain the function and identity of the ACT’s rural villages as distinct places rather than a continuation of Canberra’s urban area. While urban growth is focused on existing urban areas, the lifestyle opportunities afforded by these villages will be recognised and supported, providing Canberrans with choice about where they live, be that in an urban or suburban environment, in a rural village, in the bush or on a farm.

Within the ACT, there are many rural villages, as evidence of early pioneer life before the formation of the Federal Capital Territory. These rural villages are important in understanding the history and story of our place. The early villages include Tharwa, Hall and Oaks Estate. Each of these villages represents a different part of the region’s early story.

The village of Tharwa was proclaimed in 1861. The track crossing the Murrumbidgee River at Tharwa was the major route from Queanbeyan to Kiandra during the Kiandra gold rush of 1859 to 1861. The rush was intense, with over 10,000 people making their way to the goldfield in the first year. The track was also essential for the pastoral and farming activities to the west of the river, largely used to transport stock across the river. Camps were often made at Tharwa while this occurred.

When the commonwealth government resumed all rural properties in the southern part of the ACT from the late 1960s, many of the rural families left the district, which had a major impact on Tharwa. Many key elements of the Tharwa village are registered on

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