Tag Archives: community concerns

Planning and Development (Project Facilitation) Amendment Bill withdrawn

This morning, the Chief Minister announced that this controversial Bill would be withdrawn.  The Standing Committee on Planning, Environment and TAMS issued two reports following its inquiry into the Bill.  The Chair’s report recommended ten changes to the Bill while an alternative report recommended that the Bill be rejected and a thorough inquiry be conducted into the planning system.  For more information, see http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/acts-fasttrack-planning-laws-withdrawn-20140509-zr7b0.html.

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Competition – simply a popularity contest?

On 26 June, representatives from FoHV attended a meeting with the ACCC to express concerns about the likely loss of product and service variety and choice should Woolworths proposed purchase of the Hawker IGA go ahead.   Contrary to expectation, they were advised that closure of small businesses at Hawker would not be a competition issue as new businesses might open up and operate more successfully;  loss of a single store would not, by itself, affect local suppliers and the ACCC does not have the authority to monitor and consider the overall impact of successive closures;  possible construction of a larger supermarket on the car park was not a consideration as the issues would be the same as for the current store;  creeping acquisition by Woolworths of independent supermarkets at Kippax, Charnwood and now, possibly, Hawker is only significant in that there are already four Woolworths stores in Belconnen, with a fifth to be built in Giralang.   The ACCC is waiting on analysis of the survey results to ascertain whether the product and service choice provided by Supa IGA is valued by a sufficient percentage of the population to warrant preserving it.

The Chief Minister and the master plan

A major result was achieved on 23 November 2010 when representatives of FoHV met with the then Chief Minister, Jon  Stanhope.  He was accompanied by David Dawes, head of the Land Development Agency (which is responsible for selling ACT-owned land).  FoHV expressed a concern that the infill process at Hawker appeared rather ad hoc and that a master plan for the suburb might bring some cohesion to the process and assuage community concerns.  The  Chief Minister assented to this idea and proposed that the master planning be advised by a Project Reference Group comprising relevant parties, including FoHV (see Chief Minister’s Press Release 2 Dec 2010 and the Hawker video).  FoHV were encouraged by this concession as it provided the opportunity for community concerns to be discussed and considered in the context of the Government’s infill policy.  The only disappointment was that the master plan would cover just the Hawker Centre and not the whole suburb.