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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 March 2017) . . Page.. 1229 ..

transport must remain a fundamental planning objective as they provide the opportunity to live close to work, increase the number of people taking up more active travel—that is, walking and cycling—and combine work and shopping.

The ACT government is working to boost the employment base in the Woden town centre with the movement of approximately 1,100 staff to the Access Canberra shopfront in the Cosmopolitan Building and ACT Health staff into the office accommodation in Bowes Street. In addition, the opening of Winyu House in the Gungahlin town centre in 2015 provided accommodation for more than 650 ACT public servants, providing an added boost to local businesses.

A key aim of the Belconnen town centre master plan was to diversify its employment base and reduce the reliance on the Australian government to provide jobs by strengthening Belconnen’s existing advantages. The proximity of the centre to the University of Canberra, Calvary hospital and the AIS, along with the new University of Canberra public hospital, provides Belconnen with strong potential for employment growth.

It is important for the ACT government to focus on the future of our town centres. The government is keen to ensure that the centres realise their full potential, and to bring to the centres a mix of residents, employment, retail, community facilities and open space that is working in other centres. The actions of the commonwealth government will and do have an impact and they can either work for us to ensure a fair go or they can continue to disregard the Canberra community. (Time expired.)

MS CHEYNE: Minister, what planning actions is the government taking to support the renewal and sustainability of Canberra’s town centres?

MR GENTLEMAN: The government’s master plan program, delivered through the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, also delivers long-term planning guidance for our town centres, our group centres and our transport corridors. The studies address key actions and strategies identified in the ACT planning strategy of 2012 for a more compact and efficient city by focusing urban intensification in these areas. That was reiterated through the statement of planning intent workshops last year.

The ACT planning strategy of 2012 calls for master plans to be done, responding to place specific needs for Canberra to be a city where everybody can take advantage of its network of centres, open spaces and modes of travel to enjoy a sense of wellbeing and participate in a vibrant civic and cultural life. Each master plan sets out a vision, planning principles and strategies to support growth and development over time.

Master plans also provide the opportunity to address important issues such as urban renewal for our major areas to create vibrant, connected town and group centres that support active, healthy lifestyles and stimulate economic activity for livable, sustainable and prosperous places.

MS CODY: Minister, can you further outline how the planning changes for the Woden town centre, currently out for community consultation, will support local businesses by encouraging new residential, retail and commercial uses?

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