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Wednesday, 25 June 2003
Page: 17526


Mr TUCKEY (Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government) (5:05 PM) —I move:

That, in accordance with section 5 of the Parliament Act 1974, the House approves the following proposal for work in the Parliamentary Zone which was presented to the House on 23 June 2003, namely: Commonwealth Place forecourt works.

Section 5(1) of the Parliament Act 1974 provides:

No building or other work is to be erected on land within the Parliamentary zone unless ... the Minister has ... caused a proposal for the erection of the building or work to be laid before each House of the Parliament and the proposal has been approved by resolution of each House.

Commonwealth Place, an initiative identified in the outcomes report of the Parliamentary Zone Review in March 2000, was constructed on the land axis near the southern edge of Lake Burley Griffin within the parliamentary zone. Three separate approvals under section 5(1) of the Parliament Act 1974 were granted for the construction of Commonwealth Place between 2000 and 2002. The Commonwealth Place project, as completed, included new pavement works up to the edge of the existing Parkes Place roadway but did not include any works to the forecourt area between the building and the lake edge. The ageing forecourt now requires a significant upgrade in order to complement Commonwealth Place and provide suitable public amenity and an appropriate setting for the Lake Burley Griffin promenade.

The design proposed by the National Capital Authority incorporates the forecourt and the Parkes Place road adjacent to the lake's edge. The forecourt of approximately 6,800 square metres will become a pedestrian zone into which vehicles are permitted in a controlled manner. The road to either side of the forecourt will be reconfigured to calm and control traffic. Realignment of the lake edge and new terraced steps in front of Commonwealth Place will create an interplay between land and water. The terraced steps will allow pedestrians to touch the water and lake users to enter the forecourt from small vessels. New jetties integrated into the land projections will replace the ageing jetties further along the southern shore and allow ferries to dock at the forecourt.

The amenity of the precinct will be enhanced through the provision of shade trees, street furniture, concession pavilions containing food outlets and public toilets. The food outlets and public toilets will be subject to a separate submission for works approval following the identification of funding. The forecourt will be paved in materials matching those used in Commonwealth Place, including charcoal-tinted concrete with feature bands of bluestone paving. Detailing of architectural features will complement those used in Commonwealth Place.

As the parliament house vista is located on the Register of the National Estate, the Australian Heritage Commission has been consulted regarding the proposal. On 8 April 2003 the commission advised that it supports the design intent to improve the amenity of the Commonwealth Place forecourt. The Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories has also been briefed about the proposed works.

The approval of both Houses is sought pursuant to section 5 of the Parliament Act 1974 for the design of the Commonwealth Place forecourt, section 56, Parkes, ACT.

The National Capital Authority has advised that it is prepared to grant works approval pursuant to section 12(1)(b) of the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988.

Question agreed to.