Page 1338 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 May 2015

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The village plan will aim to identify opportunities to enhance the existing open spaces and recreational areas, address infrastructure needs, improve tourism opportunities in the village, support the development of new businesses and community initiatives, and develop appropriate strategies to deliver the plan’s goals. The upcoming planning process recognises the important role that local communities and businesses play and will present numerous opportunities for the community to present their ideas for Tharwa’s future. The EPD will then develop a draft rural village plan for Tharwa, taking into consideration community and whole-of-government feedback.

In conclusion, the government recognises the importance of our rural villages.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.15): I thank Mr Wall for raising this MPI today and giving us the opportunity to talk about the ACT’s villages, particularly our rural villages.

The rural villages of the ACT were in place well before the birth of Canberra in 1913, and as such have a proud and interesting history that all Canberrans should celebrate and value.

The Hall Progress Association is over 110 years old, and its school opened in 1911. Descendants of the early families remain in the district, and many of the original buildings are still standing. While Canberra is such an urban and suburban jurisdiction, our rural villages of Hall, Tharwa, Pialligo, Stromlo, Pierces Creek and Uriarra, and, of course, Oaks Estate, bring a unique perspective on life in the territory, a perspective that at some level we all share and enjoy even if we do not live in those places. Many of us have various memories of going to a range of the villages for different things at different times—some quite recently, some longer ago. They remain very much part of our jurisdiction, part of the territory and part of greater Canberra.

Canberrans very much enjoy the experience of outings to the rural villages and supporting the local community through purchasing local food, produce and arts and crafts. However, the villages of the ACT have experienced enormous pressures over recent decades, including the bushfires of 2003, the drought, school closures, roadworks near Pialligo and the impact of changes to the ACT economy.

That is why, as part of the 2008 parliamentary agreement with the Labor Party, the Greens talked about the continuation of neighbourhood plans. We ultimately agreed with the then planning minister, Minister Barr, that we would like to propose that master plans for Hall and Tharwa be developed alongside the Pialligo master planning process. The reason we stated that at the time, in a letter in November 2009, was that these three villages have tourism and local business aspects of relevance to each other. Developing the plans could enable larger scale planning around village tourism opportunities in the ACT.

The Greens have taken a considerable interest. I know that when Meredith Hunter was the member for Ginninderra she had quite considerable contact with the Hall village residents association at the time. I have been out there on a number of occasions. Recently, in my capacity as the minister for sport, I went out for the launch of a new

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