Page 2766 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015
Of course, I am not the only one to think this. In an article in the Chronicle on 25 September former Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said:
We have to make sure these places look good otherwise people will start shopping elsewhere.
Ms Gallagher was correct. The poor state of local shops is an embarrassment and in some cases it is driving people away.
The government simply do not seem to care about the fact that people are choosing to avoid some local shopping centres due to their lack of investment. They are so obsessed with their light rail project that they are allowing shopping centres right across Canberra to become run down and uninviting. The government’s attitude about the state of local shops shows their contempt for Canberrans. It shows how little this government care about essential local services that should be core business for any local government.
In late September 2012 the former Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher, announced $11 million to upgrade 15 local shops. Ms Gallagher’s media release stated:
The works will commence in 2013 and be completed over the next four years.
We have an article in the Chronicle in September 2012 about the Evatt shops. Ms Berry is on the front page of the Chronicle along with Ms Porter and the Chief Minister proudly saying that work at the Evatt shops would start the next year if Labor was re-elected and that upgrades to 14 other local shops across Canberra would be finished over the next four years. Alex, the owner of the IGA, is still waiting. Here we are still waiting.
This government simply do not prioritise the concerns of these business people. These people put their houses on the line, they make tremendous sacrifices, they worry about payroll, they worry about rates, they worry about land tax, they worry about all the issues that come with running a business. When they were told by government, when they were told by Ms Berry and others, “Don’t worry, we will upgrade your local shops, we will give you a return on your rates and the fees and charges you pay and we will do it next year,” they believed them.
I am sure Alex at the IGA walked away after that photo shoot in September 2012 thinking, “Isn’t it good, next year my local shops, the place that I have invested in, is going to be upgraded.” Unfortunately he has been let down. He has been let down as has Ano Birkesh from the Evatt newsagency and all the others who operate out of the Evatt shops.
But of course Evatt shops are not the only ones to not be upgraded despite the promise of Ms Berry, Ms Gallagher and Ms Porter back in 2012. The government promised seven major upgrades and eight minor upgrades would be completed over four years. Let me remind members which ones the government promised. They promised Evatt, Florey, Fisher, Gwydir Square, Hughes, Glasson Street in Spence, Macquarie,