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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 February 2018) . . Page.. 119 ..

would look very different. I would build something that looks more like Burley Griffin’s plan. But lamenting the past is not what we are here to do. We should not be spending our time endlessly making condolence speeches for a Canberra that never was. Sure, there are votes to be had in nostalgia, but we should never pander to it. Promising to return Woden town centre to the way it was not in 1975 is the sort of lie we should never allow to be put out in the community.

What we all need to be doing now is talking up the exciting potential of the Woden centre. Yes, we can put forward different ideas, but the message to the community and investors should be positive. With light rail coming to the area, the largest single infrastructure project undertaken in the ACT, now is the time for private companies to invest. We are already seeing exciting and well-designed new developments slated that boast of being on the light rail route.

Our focus should be on the future of these town centres. We cannot fix the damage done in planning before self-government or by the withdrawal of activity under the Howard and Abbott Liberal governments. Ours is only to focus on the future. We need to make sure we are developing Woden town centre in context. In that imagined past, Woden was the only town centre on the south side. There are also Weston Creek, Tuggeranong and Lanyon, and I think it is correct to ensure services and facilities are appropriately spread between all instead of concentrated on one.

Too often we hear support for renewal in theory but opposition to every proposal in practice. I know that Mr Gentleman and this government have a comprehensive renewal program underway, and when I consider the impediments and risks to that renewal I can only list a few. Firstly there are the Senate shenanigans of Mr Seselja. From what I saw in the Canberra Times his strategy may be to delay and wreck light rail stage 2. If he is allowed to succeed, Woden and Canberra more broadly will be the losers. Secondly, there are those loud nimby voices who scream for renewal but scream louder in opposition to everything we do. There is always the risk that such voices can put off the developers and businesspeople whose investment we need to deliver on renewal. While I have complete confidence in the wisdom of the Senate ignoring the Seselja shenanigans, the damage done by naysayers is far harder to prevent.

Descriptions of Woden as unattractive, lacking in facilities and without cafes, restaurants and bars are chasing away the customers and the businesses. We know that that just is not true. There are so many great businesses operating now and there is so much more potential across the centre. The hardworking businesspeople of Woden deserve better than to have their efforts belittled. The government understands the problems faced by Woden and other town centres. It has a plan, a process and the commitment to deliver on urban renewal. This process includes ample consultation through which everyone in our community gets a chance to have their say. That is the best process for improving our town centres, not scaring away new investment and chasing the customers away.

I am proud of this government’s commitment to renewal not only in Woden but also across other Canberra town centres. I look forward to our continuing on this path and

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