Page 1021 - Week 03 - Thursday, 23 March 2017

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Woden used to be the place that you would hang out as teenagers. You would catch the bus and hang around that horrible, dirty, dark bus interchange that it used to be. It was really, really bad. It was dark; it was dingy. Talking about the sun never getting in, the sun never got into Woden bus Interchange.

I note now that with the new Woden interchange it has been opened right up. The stairs are quite lovely. There is a lift to help people that may not be able to get upstairs get up to the Woden town square. It is lighter; the sun gets in. It is much more enjoyable now to get the bus into Woden, be able to wander around and to sit, as I have heard Mrs Jones mention today, in the Woden town square.

I would also like to reflect on Ms Le Couteur’s comments about Woden valley hospital, as it was known many years ago. My sister was born there. It was a lovely little friendly hospital. My father used to own a courier business. We used to deliver products to the Woden valley hospital. I still remember that revolting hill that you had to drive up to get to the emergency department.

Now we have an amazing, wonderful, state of the art Canberra Hospital. It is where my children were born. It is a wonderful facility, and it is located in Woden. It is located in Canberra’s geographic heart. I agree, Ms Le Couteur: there are some further health facilities that probably do need to be built in Woden. I understand that we have already started on those things. We have the women’s and children’s hospital that is part of Woden. We have done some major investment in the Woden hospital, which is also very good.

But I go back to the town centre and the town square. I too used to work at the Department of Health in Woden. I worked there for not very long—eight years; long enough. I too worked in the Alexandra and Albermarle buildings. They were very old then. They were very much in need of being vacated. But we do have to reflect on the number of public service jobs that have been taken out of Woden. That is something that we have heard today and we have heard in the past, but it is something that we really must reflect on.

Woden has been ripped of public servants for years. As we have all mentioned, we have buildings standing vacant. Public servants were housed in those buildings for many, many years. The ACT government is starting to rejuvenate Woden. It is trying to inject public servants back into the Woden town centre. Over a thousand have already moved in. We have the new Access Canberra. That is a wonderful, wonderful place. We heard Minister Ramsay today mention the wonderful things that have happened in the Access Canberra space.

Not only do I have brilliant memories of Woden town centre when I was growing up; I also have some bitter ones of late, some of which we have raised already, some of which we still need to talk about. We need to remember that some people say ideology does not exist in Australian politics today. I would say that what we do in situations like Woden is an example that proves them wrong.

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