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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 August 2015) . . Page.. 2774 ..

Local shops provide convenient access for daily shopping needs as well as to a variety of local community services and businesses, which, in turn, creates local jobs. Each shopping centre is unique, and often each shop within the shopping centre can be a focal point. It is important that we keep local shopping centres alive because they provide a really important service to people who perhaps do not want to or cannot travel far for some of their shopping needs.

They also play an important role in strengthening connections within the local community where people run into their neighbours at the shops, they get to know people at their local shops and they get to know the shopkeepers. I know each member in this place could give examples of the strong relationships and connections that exist in a local shopping centre they know. That, again, underlines the importance of local shops.

Similarly, one of the advantages of local shops is the possibility for people to walk or cycle to them rather than needing to take the car. They are often only several hundred metres, a kilometre or a couple of kilometres away, and these are distances that are achievable from an active travel point of view. Not everyone is going to be able to commute from their home to their workplace, but visiting their local shops through a bit of active travel, getting some exercise and saving some greenhouse emissions are a very positive opportunity.

The ACT government introduced a local shopping centre upgrade program in recognition of the importance of local shops, for all the reasons I have just spoken about and the necessity of making sure that they remain vibrant and vital and sustainable. In 2012, as has been highlighted today, the government committed to improving paving, seating, parking, lighting and safety at a range of local shops across Canberra. As the program continues to be developed and delivered, the level of financial commitment to providing these basic infrastructure upgrades continues to increase.

It is worth noting that the range of 2012 commitments came on top of a range of 2008 commitments that had been rolled out. The government proposed in 2012 to upgrade 15 local shops, and Mr Coe has outlined those in his motion so I will not repeat them. The government has had a continuing program of local shop upgrades since 2008, as I mentioned. Since 2012 it has upgraded Waramanga, Farrer, Red Hill, Scullin, Lyons, Ainslie, Garran, Charnwood, Griffith, Theodore and Chapman. No-one can doubt that this program is going on. The government is clearly committed to it and will continue to roll it out.

In that sense, upgrades for Cook, Rivett shops and Mannheim Street Kambah are underway and will be finalised during this financial year. Minor upgrades will be undertaken at Torrens, Evatt, Florey and Hughes shops in this financial year as well. For Mr Coe’s benefit, because he was particularly interested in Evatt shops, I assure him the financing has been committed for the work to take place in this financial year.

The government shopping centre upgrades are being delivered in accordance with the government’s promises that were assessed and prioritised for upgrade in 2012 and

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