Page 3547 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 September 2015

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event at the end of private members’ day seemed to have been very successful. It gave our guests an opportunity to see the Assembly in action and also to meet a number of members, perhaps more than would otherwise be possible at other times.

The feedback I get from visitors to the Assembly for these occasions is excellent. Many say that they have never visited the Assembly before and are surprised by its facilities, its interesting artworks and its pleasant amenity. They especially enjoy the opportunity to talk with members in an informal setting. I intend to host such receptions in future and will look to do so on evenings of private members’ day in sitting periods. I will encourage members to put these in their diaries as standard engagements, and I will continue to communicate with members about upcoming events where we host members of the community in the Legislative Assembly. I encourage members to take the opportunity to meet informally with their constituents in a very pleasant environment.

Gungahlin—town centre

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (4.30): I rise to give the Assembly an update on progress so far with my survey on Hibberson Street in the Gungahlin town centre. One month ago I launched a survey to see what people think of Hibberson Street, and whether it should be closed to traffic or changed in some way. Hibberson Street is the heart of Gungahlin village. It is the centre for shopping events and a place to meet friends, grab a coffee and have something to eat. Gungahlin will continue to grow by thousands of people each year and we need to ensure that the town centre remains vibrant and welcoming.

So far more than 600 people have filled in the survey to have their say on the future of Hibberson Street and what the ACT government can do to make the Gungahlin town centre more vibrant. So far 75 per cent of respondents believe Hibberson Street should be permanently closed to traffic, or at least be a place that puts pedestrians first. Half of the respondents said they would be more likely to head into Gungahlin town centre if Hibberson Street was closed to traffic. When given a choice about what should happen on Hibberson Street more specifically, 50 per cent of people said the best solution would be to permanently close it to traffic. Turning the street into a shared zone similar to that in Bunda Street in Civic was the second-most popular option. Three-quarters of people do not believe there will be any adverse impact on local shops if the road is closed to cars.

I was also pleased to read some of the comments from respondents. For example, Jake from Forde said, “This is a great idea. It would be great for business because it might actually be nice to sit in the cafes without having to breathe car exhaust.” Pat from Bonner pointed out that one issue might be that cars can provide passive surveillance, making the centre feel safer, particularly at night. There were many views in between.

Respondents also expressed a number of issues to take into account, and I will certainly continue to talk with the community and with local business about the future of Hibberson Street. The feedback has been great and shows that we have a very engaged community who love to have their say on local issues. It also highlights to me that Gungahlin residents want a main street which is vibrant and a reason for people to travel into the town centre.

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