Introduction to ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12

The ACT Strategic Regional Plan 2011-12 was formally launched in mid-September 2011 by the ACT Chief Minister. The Government is providing $4.3 billion of funding to local regions through the Regional Development Australia Fund. The role of Regional Development Australia (ACT) is to support local development. The ACT was unsuccessful in attracting funding for Round 1 of the initial $1 billion fund. The ACT Government and community groups can apply for local project funding, which can range from a minimum $500,000 to maximum $25 per project. The document can be downloaded from www.rdaact.org.au/publications.

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Giralang shops redevelopment announcement and wider implications for local shops

On 17 August 2011 the ACT Planning Minister used his call-in powers to approve the contentious redevelopment of the Giralang local shopping centre. The spokeman for the 40 or so independent supermarket operators comprising the Independent Retailers Group has issued a veiled threat to take the decision to the Supreme Court (reported in The Canberra Times 29 August 2011). Criteria 33 in the current Territory Plan requires a development application to take regard of significant impacts on other commercially viable local centres.

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Civic, airport mooted as stations in fast-train plan

Canberra Airport and Civic have been short listed for the terminus of a high-speed rail network. The cost for an access corridor and station is estimated to be $3.4 million compared to $1.7 million at Canberra Airport. The airline proportion of Canberra-Sydney travel is currently only 8% and is estimated to drop to 4% if a high-speed rail link between the two centres was provided. So why is the Australian Rail Association recommending a airport terminus rather than a Civic terminus. Where is the triple bottom line take into account social and environment costs (tearing up Majura Valley)? This decision

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Shoppers tipped to win as retail heavyweights face off at Majura

The final touches for big retail planning at Canberra Airport has finally been revealed with the addition of a 13500sqm Masters brand home improvement store stocking 35,000 products. This Woolworths-Lowe’s joint venture company will compete head to head with the new Costco venture at Canberra Airport. The ACT Chamber of Commerce says that the store wars will increase competition throughout the ACT. Shoppers will be delighted. The impacts on smaller home businesses operations haven’t been assessed because the airport is beyond the jurisdiction of the ACT government

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Green light for pedestrians

The Canberra Pedestrian Forum has successfully campaigned for improvements to traffic light sequencing on the intersection of Northbourne, Macarthur and Wakefield Avenues.

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Call for referendum to break ACT deadlock

Should the NCCC lend support for a referendum to break the ACT deadlock in regard to ongoing electoral boundary contentions and adequate political representation? The ACT Electoral Commissioner has told the territory’s politicians that if they cannot reach agreement on the right size and composition of the Legislative Assembly, the choice should be put to the people.

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City study for QIC ‘offensive, outrageous’

Is the Queensland Investment Corporation’s Cooyong Street development another final nail in the coffin for existing small businesses in older Civic? The Council of Small Business (ACT) says yes it is. The ACT Chamber of Commerce and QIC say it isn’t. QIC have commissioned a small business impact statement, one of the statutory processes required by the ACT Planning and Land Authority as part of the development application. Those interested can download the impact statement and all of the other documents associated with development application 201129272 on the ACTPLA website.

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Supermarket Planning Policy

Recent articles just published in The Canberra Times reveal the extent to which the flawed ACT Goverment supermarket policy apparently led to a review of the ACT public service and its outcome: the present directorate structure. As reported earlier, developments at the Canberra International Airport with the advent of Costco and Woolworths have exposed the impotence of the ACT Government in attempting to promote supermarket competition. The ACT Government ignored previous Productivity Commission and Australian Competition and Consumer Commision studies in the construction of the policy and managed to earn the flack of the ACTPLA chief executive.

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Questions remain over disused grounds

There are currently 19 neighbourhood ovals and three district playing fields sitting idle at the same time as experts rue the lack of safe and affordable sportsgrounds to assist in helping maintain healthy communities. The ACT Government intends to review the status of these potential sportsgrounds on a year-by-year basis. At current rates some communities could be waiting up to 6 or more years before their ovals and fields are given a red or green light for rejuvenation. Two of these (Lyneham and Watson) are in north Canberra. Can we really afford to have ovals sitting idle in areas with

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Canberra Airport supermarkets

The ACT supermarket policy has just hit a roadblock with the announcement that Woolworths will join Costco in a major wholesale supermarket shakeup, after Canberra Airport was forced to look for a new tenant because of the continuing demise of Brand Depot. The only possible benefit to other supermarkets in the ACT from this development is that Costco might become an alternative wholesale supplier for smaller IGA’s and Supabarn in addition to Metcash, as well as Costco being a competitor to Woolworths in wholesale goods. A wide-ranging newspaper dialogue on this topic has just taken place.

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Lifeline calls to be free from mobiles

Mobile phone calls to Lifeline are to become free from anywhere in Australia. The Federal Government says mobile phone companies have agreed not to charge people calling the helpline number. Mental Health Minister Mark Butler says the phone companies will be compensated by the Government. He says nearly one third of all calls to Lifeline are from mobile phones.

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Ainslie Play Space Renewal

The ACT Government has announce the renewal of the play space, Corroboree Park Ainslie as part of the 2011-12 Playground Safety Program. Have a say about what happens in your community! Read more »…

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