Page 2772 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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This is the constant story across this place. The government raises expectations unreasonably, and cannot come up with the funds. It has spread itself far too thinly. What we have is a whole range of unhappy shopkeepers and unhappy users of the shops. People are less likely to use the shops because they are dangerous at night and dangerous on other occasions. People do not get an opportunity to see the government put taxpayer funds to work and improve the public amenity at these shops.

I had a briefing in relation to the Evatt shops. Again the official said to me on a number of occasions when I asked specific questions, “Madam Speaker, I cannot answer that question. I am not familiar with the site.” I asked the minister, “Why am I sent someone to brief me on a subject when they do not know very much about the local shops—certainly much less than I do?” As a result of this, we have seen a high level of disappointment, a high level of dissatisfaction, amongst the traders at the shopping centres and amongst the users.

I commend Mr Coe for his persistence in bringing these matters to the attention of the Assembly. I condemn the government for its failure to fully address the issues raised by traders and raised by users about the need for proper upgrades and for their penny-pinching approach to upgrading. People are seeing their rates rise hand over fist, 40 per cent over the last few years and more, but they do not see it in services provided, in amenity and public safety at shopping centres.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (5.31): I will speak quite briefly. We have seen that shopping centres in Fadden, Wanniassa, Carlton Street Kambah, Mannheim Street Kambah, Castley Circuit Kambah and Marconi Crescent Kambah were promised upgrades prior to the 2012 election. Currently the Mannheim Street Kambah upgrade is underway, I believe. That is good to see, but it means the remaining ones have not yet been done, and that makes me wonder when they are going to be done. Marconi Crescent Kambah at Kambah village has been described to me as the worst shops in Canberra.. The people that go there are quite disturbed by the state of the shops at Kambah village.

One that has been done is Theodore shops. Theodore shops were not on the list of election upgrades for shopping centres. Perhaps it is thanks to Mr Gentleman’s lobbying for Theodore residents that Theodore shops got done, but as we have discussed a few times in this place, including at estimates hearings, what was put in at Theodore was not quite what residents expected and not quite what they indicated they wanted when they had the consultation about the shops, with the brick sign for Theodore shops being the best example of that.

I urge the government to take seriously their program of shopping centre improvements, especially the ones they promised during the 2012 election campaign. People take pride in their local shopping centres. They want to support local shops where they can, and we owe it to the traders of Marconi Street at Kambah village as well. Helen Tan, for example has contacted me several times about the general state of the shops at Kambah village, so the traders would also like to see a bit more work done.

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