Page 2208 - Week 07 - Thursday, 27 August 2020

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In conclusion, while this act includes intrusive powers, I fear that these powers are necessary to break the cycle that has seen much of the Sydney and Melbourne buildings fall into decline. Breaking that cycle of decline and neglect will be welcomed by the community. It will, of course, also be of benefit—and, I believe, of net financial benefit—to the city’s business community and landowners. The Greens support the bill.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (11.21), in reply: I thank members for their support of the legislation. It provides the territory with a rare opportunity to return some of Canberra’s most recognisable and valued heritage assets back to a condition that the community expects. The buildings are a vital part of the physical and social fabric of the city. The instantly recognisable colonnades, which were designed to provide shelter in winter and shade in summer to the first businesses, workers and patrons in the city, still stand today as a strong link to the early commercial origins of the city.

As members have alluded to, there is a very strong level of interest and support from the community in seeing action to improve the appearance of the buildings. Responses to community engagement were overwhelmingly in favour of taking action to ensure that the buildings were improved. A high level of care and attention has gone into the preparation of this legislation, and the City Renewal Authority has undertaken extensive consultation with the owners of the buildings—one-on-one meetings, phone discussions and correspondence—to listen to the views of owners and work with them to commence the drafting of a revitalisation plan to renew and restore the leased public areas of the buildings.

The leased public areas are those defined in the bill as the facades and other external parts of the buildings that are accessible or visible to the public. It is these areas that the bill is restricted to. It allows us to achieve the desired revitalisation to the highly visible building elements without involving areas such as interiors or the rear section of the properties. Cities are partly defined by their heritage assets and how they care and support them. So, in summary, this bill provides a framework to see the revitalisation of these landmark buildings so that they return to a state that the community supports and expects. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Public Interest Disclosure Amendment Bill 2020

Debate resumed from 20 February 2020, on motion by Mr Barr:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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