Page 2375 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015

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(e) many people currently use the car park outside business hours to visit restaurants, bars and clubs in and around the Melbourne Building; and

(f) parking in other areas of the City is already stretched, making it likely that many people won’t be able to park their car conveniently in the City; and

(3) Calls on the ACT Government to rule out the closure of this car park.

The environmental impact statement, the EIS, prepared for capital metro shows that the ACT government is proposing to close the London Circuit north-west car park, commonly known as the Melbourne Building car park. According to the EIS, this car park will be closed for three to four years in order to facilitate the construction of light rail by providing a compound for construction workers to park their cars and also space to store some large machinery that is required for the project.

My motion today calls on the ACT government to not close this car park. Currently, this space contains 255 parking bays, of which there are four high demand disabled parks. During the day the car park is often at 100 per cent capacity, being primarily used by patients attending one of the many professional services on and near London Circuit. Solicitors, barristers and litigants also often use the car park to attend trials and to file documents in either the Supreme Court or Magistrates Court. Going into the evening, the car park is used by Canberrans heading to one of the many restaurants, bars, clubs and other hospitality facilities in the area.

The talk of closing down this car park came as a big surprise to many. This proposal had never been publicly canvassed before it was included in the EIS. Indeed there was no discussion of closing down any car park in the 158-page capital metro full business case—the document which was supposed to provide the government with all the information as to whether they should proceed with light rail or not. The Minister for Capital Metro also never made public comments about closing this car park prior to the publication of the EIS, or, indeed, any other car park, whether through the processes of the Assembly or through the media. Indeed, it would be very interesting to see whether the lost productivity which will arise as a result of losing this car park and the 255 parking spaces has been included in the BCR which has been generated for the government’s light rail project.

Unsurprisingly, many businesses in this area have strongly objected to the ACT government’s plan to close this car park. Of the 59 submissions received by the government regarding the EIS, many took objection to the plan to close down the car park.

Much of the criticism of this proposal has come from health and medical practitioners operating near the facility. These practices are concerned that their patients will find it harder to access their treatment rooms. In their submission to the Environment and Planning Directorate, one practice estimates that 40 per cent of their patients have injuries or suffer from health conditions which mean they cannot walk, they require a wheelchair or are limited in the distance that they can walk. Another submission said:

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