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Thursday, 9 May 1985
Page: 1678

Senator REID —On behalf of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory, I present a report on Proposals for Variations of the Plan of Layout of the City of Canberra and its Environs-Eighty-third Series, Item 4 and Eighty-fourth series. I also table extracts from the Committee's Minutes of Proceedings. I seek leave to make a short statement relating to the report.

Leave granted.

Senator REID —There are a number of items included in this report and I shall shortly seek leave to have the statement incorporated. I refer specifically to that item which related in part to a variation of the site known as the White Industries development. That is a particularly important development to Canberra because of its impact now on car parking during construction, for the spaces that it has taken, for the availability of car parking once it is completed and for the use of the hotel and convention centre.

The other particular matter that the Committee paid attention to was the development of the convention centre, when it would be available and whether or not conventions are already being booked for 1988 when the convention centre ought to be available. It is a particularly important development for the Australian Capital Territory but it will only be of real significance if it is actually used and attracts large numbers of people to Canberra. For that reason, the Committee was pleased to have the additional briefing from the National Capital Development Commission and from the Department of Territories and Local Government and to receive the answers which we have received in relation to these important matters. I seek leave to have incorporated in Hansard the balance of the tabling statement.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows-

The committee recommends approval of variation 4 of the 83rd series and the variations contained in the 84th series, except variation 6. The Minister for Territories, Mr Gordon Scholes, advised the committee that it was no longer his intention to proceed with the Weston Park road additions and deletions proposed in variation 6.

The committee, in considering these variations, took evidence from several organisations including community groups as well as two members of the ACT House of Assembly. The cost involved in the proposals dealt with in this report is $16.9m.

I wish to comment on only six of the variations.

The first is variation 8, which concerns the White Industries Project. The Committee is concerned about a continuing reduction in car parking areas in Civic Centre and would like to place on record its support for public access to the carparks to be located under the office building. This would help alleviate some of the problems presently being experienced by shoppers and the work force employed in Civic.

A further concern of the Committee is the realisation of the full potential of the convention centre. The lag time from booking conferences and conventions to assembly of delegates and participants may be 3-4 years. It is therefore necessary for arrangements to achieve initial full utilisation to be set in train immediately. Advice has been received from the Department of Territories that some preliminary promotional work has commenced, but it is essential that firm bookings be taken now so that the centre will not stand idle during its first year of operation, which is targetted in 1988.

Variation 10 provides for the development of Isabella Plains North. The area includes about 500 residential sites, a shopping centre, high schools and playing fields. In view of the size of Monash, which has a lower population than adjoining suburbs, the Committee supports the submission of the South Tuggeranong Progress Association to include the area within the suburb of Monash. This would assist in unifying the area and providing a greater cohesion of services.

The Committee approves the variation subject to the incorporation of the area into the suburb of Monash.

Variation 11 provides access to a site within the Erindale Group Centre. The new plans for Erindale as a group centre allow for a total of 4,000m2 of retail space plus 2,100m2 for a hardware store, a garden centre and catering and drinking establishments and will provide much needed retail services for the area before construction of the Tuggeranong Town Centre.

With regard to variation 13, which provides for a major realignment of the extension of Drakeford Drive, the Committee approves works associated with construction of the proposed road from Isabella Drive to Johnson Drive. However approval is deferred on the section from Johnson Drive to Tharwa Drive pending further information concerning the intersection of Tharwa Drive and proposed land development in South Tuggeranong.

Variation 14, which provides access roads in north-western Theodore to new residential blocks, is approved on the proviso that initial purchasers are informed of the lack of bus services and other facilities in the area.

Variation 16 proposes to delete some roads from the city plan in order to set aside a portion of the proposed residential area as public open space which contains Aboriginal axe grinding grooves and artefacts regarded as having high archaeological and general heritage significance.

The Committee approves variation 16 and stresses the necessity for the development of adequate protective safeguards of the Aboriginal artefact site from acts of vandalism and desecration.