Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 2017) . . Page.. 3926 ..
expect to grow their businesses. Currently many of our industrial and commercial precincts are neglected and are not the sorts of places that people would like to often visit.
My motion today calls on the government to address this neglect, work with the traders as to what they need and what their expectations are and, in turn, ensure that they are kept up to date with government decision-making that affects their business and the area in which their business is conducted. It is a simple request that has been overlooked thus far. Constructing a light rail stop at Mitchell, and in the meantime investigating options to compensate traders for impacts that they may be experiencing, is a fair call. The creation of additional parking to meet the amenity of the area is something that should be addressed. Again, they are simple requests that, with consideration, will support one of the territory’s main economic drivers—local business.
I urge the government to support my motion. Their support would indicate some goodwill towards local businesses in the Mitchell precinct and businesses across the territory that are being unfairly impacted due to their continually poor decision-making.
MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (10.17): I thank Mr Wall for bringing this motion to the Assembly because it allows me and the government to outline the approach that we are taking in the construction of light rail to the provision of city services in the Mitchell precinct. It also allows me to correct some of the facts. I would seriously caution Mr Wall on saying in this place facts which have not been verified. I will return to that at the end of my speech.
It is important to note that the potential for a light rail stop at Mitchell was considered in the early planning stages in 2014. The ACT government facilitated an extensive consultation program, which ran from 30 June to 10 August 2014. It recorded over 16,500 interactions with the local community and stakeholders. Again, I would caution Mr Wall from coming into this place and saying that not once were Mitchell traders contacted about this. Those were his words, Madam Speaker: “not once”. That is not correct. There are multiple publicly available records that go to that point. Mr Wall’s comments on this matter in this place and in the media are littered with factual inaccuracies.
Through this consultation, feedback was requested from the public in a variety of ways, including through an online survey, direct mail to homes and businesses along the light rail corridor, social media, public information sessions held in various locations around Canberra and through a temporary information centre in the city centre, open for the duration of the consultation period. Through this process the community provided strong feedback on the proposed options for stop locations along the route.