Page 2065 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 6 June 2018
of community feedback—to improve the pedestrian experience on that section of Hibberson Street.
These investments will make Gungahlin the ACT’s most accessible town centre, and will encourage more people to work, live and socialise in Canberra’s fastest growing region. As a local, I understand this welcome investment has caused disruption to the local businesses and community, as I have mentioned and remarked upon many times in the past, but it will provide significant community and business benefits when completed.
I too have spent time with local businesses, employers, employees and community members in the town centre to hear their concerns. I know that they are excited and impatient to see the completion of these works very soon. The hoardings were removed outside Gungahlin Village just in the past week. The tree plantings and landscaping works progressed considerably in the last 48 hours. These will be very warmly welcomed, particularly by adjacent local businesses.
Local residents of Canberra’s fastest growing region have also seen significant expansion of new businesses right across the Gungahlin region at the same time that construction really got underway in the town centre. Again these investments have been welcomed and called upon by the community for many years. This has seen the development of a range of different services provided in Franklin, Amaroo and Casey.
They are not town centres, but particularly Amaroo and Casey are major centres. They provide additional services like restaurants, bars, professional services in some instances, and of course major supermarkets. This has significantly increased competition for retailers in the town centre—at the same time these construction works are being delivered—as well as significant private investment in the Gungahlin town centre.
The government certainly recognises these impacts and has offered wide ranging support to businesses, principally in the Gungahlin town centre and also along the light rail corridor. This support has been provided by Transport Canberra and the Canberra Business Chamber through the light rail business link program funded by the ACT government and through the government’s contract requirements for the Canberra Metro stakeholder engagement program.
The three agencies have worked in collaboration to provide information and seek feedback from local businesses, particularly those impacted by construction works, as well as identify issues and any practical assistance that can be provided.
A key strategy of the ACT government’s support to businesses in relation to light rail has been through funding of the Canberra Business Chamber’s light rail business link program. This program is funded to build business resilience and capacity during construction and be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that will be generated by light rail.
The program has delivered six quarterly forums with 530 businesses attending to be informed about topics such as light rail development, business opportunities and best