Page 2773 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.34): I welcome the fact that Mr Coe has brought this motion on today as it gives me the opportunity to speak about the government’s commitment to the ongoing sustainability of local shopping centres. The motion provides a good opportunity to reflect on the improvements that have been made over the last few years and also to discuss future plans.

As minister for TAMS, my directorate is responsible for the management of public open space in 87 local and district shopping centres across Canberra. City Services within TAMS looks after the upgrade of public space in local shopping centres, and the upgrade works aim to encourage the use and enjoyment of public places by all members of the community. One of the features of the recent upgrades has been about making the shops more accessible for people with a disability. A key feature has been some of those access points that have been identified as problematic for people who are mobility impaired.

It is important to note that many of the local shopping centres and buildings are not owned by the ACT government but are primarily leasehold with private parties, and I will come back to that point later. As such, TAMS works closely with the building owners to deliver ongoing management of and upgrades to the public space surrounding these local centres.

As part of the shopping centre upgrade consultation process, members of the local community are encouraged to provide input on concept plans to ensure upgrades address priority needs and reflect the local community’s identity. I have attended a number of these when I have been able to at a range of shopping centres around Canberra. I have discussed in this place before the way the process works in that there are a couple of stages. The first is to go out and ask what people want. The next stage is to come back with a draft design and seek further confirmation.

Going to comments Ms Lawder just made, it is important to note that consultation does not mean that if you ask people they get everything they want. In asking a very open question you will get a great number of ideas, but that does not mean they are practical, possible or affordable. It is not fair or accurate to say that the consultation process is not an open one. It is simply that in asking the open question one gets more ideas than one is able to implement. Certainly at places like Hughes shops and Chapman shops I have watched and been involved in the community consultation, and I think it has been a very positive experience.

The shopping centre upgrade program is about trying to tackle the problems with ageing infrastructure in the local centres, updating or replacing specific assets and infrastructure and giving them a refresh. It can be a range of things: it can be lighting; it can be the planting of new garden beds, as I spoke about earlier; it can be access issues such as ramps for both prams and for people with a disability; or it can be changing the configuration of the parking area to improve the way it flows, which has been the case in a number of shopping centres. It depends on the nature of the local centre.

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