Page 2730 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 15 August 2017
lake project that the CRA is to develop is looking less and less like the one Canberrans were consulted on. In June last year the government downgraded the 50-metre pool to a smaller leisure pool and city beach at the lakeside, and in February we shelved the convention centre but then later backflipped on the promise of a new stadium.
We can see that in 2017 the city to the lake project, which was once such a grand plan, has now become apartment blocks and a boardwalk. That is not to say there is anything wrong with the change of plans. Plans do change, sometimes positively. But it just shows the difference between what was consulted on and what the community ends up getting. The government should not be using a 2013 consultation on the grand design as an okay to implement a boardwalk and apartment blocks.
I believe the Haig Park master plan from five years ago—the draft—provides a good opportunity for the government to show how seriously the City Renewal Authority takes consultation, and Mr Coe has already spoken about that. I do hope the government will listen, reflect and take on board the submissions and opinions of the Canberra community and create a Haig Park that is reflective of a vibrant, inclusive Canberra.
I will move on to talk briefly about In the City Canberra and the city centre marketing and improvement levy. In the City Canberra was formed and received appropriations from the ACT government for the first time in 2007-08. That appropriation is raised through the city centre marketing and improvement levy. In the City Canberra was formed because it was felt by some traders that the government was not adequately completing the basic services local businesses expected. We have had much debate about, for example, bins in the newly reinvigorated Braddon precinct.
In April this year the government announced a review of the city centre marketing and improvement levy, and shortly afterwards In the City Canberra were blindsided by this budget and the fact that after 10 years the government is instead allocating those funds to the City Renewal Authority. To add insult to injury, during the estimates hearings, when asked if they would use the city centre marking and improvement levy to continue the work In the City Canberra has been undertaking, the government refused to commit to it, leaving us to wonder how the levy will be spent.
The people of Canberra want a government that communicates with them, a government that will listen to them and a government that will speak to the average person on the street, not just their friends in the unions and the property industry. The government for too long has talked the talk but has not walked the walk of consultation.
The implementation of the City Renewal Authority is an opportunity for the government to take a step forward to communicate effectively. It is an opportunity the government must grasp with both hands. Good governance is only possible when politicians and policymakers listen to those on the ground. The integrity issues that plagued the LDA must be addressed so that they cannot be repeated in the new agency. We will be listening to those on the ground, we will be talking with people and we will be keeping a close eye on the City Renewal Authority as it rolls out.