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Wednesday, 19 November 1986
Page: 2522

Senator REID —On behalf of the Joint Standing Committee on the Australian Capital Territory I present a report on the proposals for variations of the plan of layout of the city of Canberra and its environs, 88th series, together with minutes of proceedings. I seek leave to make a statement on the report.

Leave granted.

Senator REID —The report I have tabled deals with 14 items to vary the city plan, and the Committee recommends approval of all but one of these variations. In its consideration of items in this series the Committee took evidence from 10 witnesses appearing as individuals and representing various organisations. The cost involved in the proposal dealt with in this report is approximately $7.5m, with another $45m estimated for completion of all stages of the Eastern Parkway. I wish to comment on just two of these variations.

Variation four provides for the deletion of part of the road reservation in Kaye Place, Yarralumla, to allow the area to be included in the lease for the Hotel Canberra and the construction of a rear entrance for the hotel. This forms part of the construction program for the hotel, which should be completed by 1987. An objection to the variation was received from the proprietor of the nearby service station, who claimed that the increased traffic generated by the hotel entrance would jeopardise his business and make access to his service station difficult. I point out that this service station proprietor has for some time had difficulties because of the changes to the roads in the vicinity, including access to Coronation Drive, and also through lack of commitment, I believe, by the National Capital Development Commission and the Department of Territories to resolve the problems thereby created.

At the public hearing, when questioned about his intentions regarding the continued operation of the service station, the proprietor assured the Committee that he would like to carry on as a service station operator. In response to a question regarding the state of negotiations and potential purchase of the service station site by the Hyatt hotel group, the Committee was told that although some discussions had taken place no conclusion had been reached and all negotiations had ceased. Just 11 days after that public hearing the Committee was informed that the service station site had been sold to the hotel group. The Committee is not satisfied that it was made fully aware of all aspects of dealings concerning the future of the service station in Kaye Place. However, as the objection to the variation was then withdrawn, the Committee does not see any reason to withhold approval of the variation.

The one item deferred by the Committee relates to construction of the preliminary stages of the Eastern Parkway, which will provide a parkway access system to Tuggeranong comparable to that existing on the western side of Canberra. The Eastern Parkway will also have benefits in relation to traffic between Queanbeyan and Canberra and for regional traffic travelling between the Monaro Highway and locations to the north. The estimated cost for the construction was $50m at present prices, with that work being carried out in stages over a number of years. While the Committee was provided with some details regarding the shape and construction of the road system, it is not satisfied that it was briefed adequately on the costing component or estimates of traffic flows on particular sections of the road. The Committee has further doubts about the extent to which this road is a priority in the present economic climate, and therefore recommends that this item be deferred pending a full briefing and overview of the proposal at a later date by the National Capital Development Commission.