JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Tuggeranong mall, a private enterprise


Peter Jean

Cabinet Papers: 1984-1985

The Hyperdome shopping mall, which Labor decided would be privately built.

The Hyperdome shopping mall, which Labor decided would be privately built. Photo: The Canberra Times


A larger Erindale centre had been considered as an alternative, but in 1985 the Hawke government decided to push ahead with the development of the Tuggeranong town centre.

Free from past socialist approaches, the Labor cabinet decided the new Tuggeranong shopping mall would be privately constructed.

Cabinet also decided to proceed with the privatisation of the Belconnen Mall, which had been first planned by the Fraser government.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the National Capital Development Commission had considered an alternative to the Tuggeranong Centre: an 18,000-square-metre retail and commercial centre able to serve a population of 50,000.

But in 1985, Tuggeranong had a population of 45,000, which was increasing by 10 per cent each year. It was expected to reach 90,000 by 1994.

''… the rapid turnaround in growth in the last three years, and the need to quickly resume large-scale land development in Tuggeranong, made it imperative that the original town centre proposal should go ahead,'' a cabinet memo said.

Former territories minister Tom Uren had planned for the government-owned Canberra Commercial Development Authority to develop the new Tuggeranong shopping centre. But in May 1985, with the development under the stewardship of new territories minister Gordon Scholes, cabinet agreed to the private development of the Tuggeranong town centre.

The NCDC would spend $19.3 million on infrastructure development for the proposed town centre but this should be offset by the sale of serviced sites for the mall, service station, secondary retail activities and an office building.

Criticism of the plan was expected from the commercial development authority, unions and some sections of the Labor Party. A paper from the Finance Department explained the background to the establishment of the CCDA and public ownership of Belconnen Mall.

''The reason for the government ever becoming involved in a shopping mall was largely a concern [back in about 1972] that the private sector was incapable for providing on a competitive basis an appropriate range of retail services in Belconnen. This situation would no longer exist.

''A further selling point was that the CCDA would generate substantial funds to provide community facilities for Belconnen residents. Thirteen years on, these facilities have not materialised.''

Belconnen Mall was sold in 1986 to the Superannuation Fund Investment Trust and Westfield Property Trust for $87 million.

Related Coverage

Insider's view to founding of self-rule

Cutting costs rather than granting democracy was the principal motive for establishing self-government in the ACT, according to the territory's first Labor senator, Susan Ryan.

We could have had a 'Lord Mayor of Canberra'

The ceremonial title ‘‘Lord Mayor of Canberra’’ was once formally considered for the Chief Minister as the Hawke Government considered how to grant self-government to the ACT.

MPs nearly forced into cheap seats

Cost overruns and other problems threatened to delay the opening of the New Parliament House beyond the Bicentennial year and to force MPs to accept cheaper than previously planned furniture, the 1984 and 1985 cabinet papers show.

Ministers braced for anger over closures

In April 1985 federal ministers considered closing Watson High School and three primary schools, along with increasing class sizes and reducing ancillary staff in ACT government schools.

Ministers told of union domination in construction

When federal cabinet considered building Questacon, ministers were told the ACT construction industry was already strong and unions were using that for their advantage.

Creating a giant trap for pollution

A beautiful man-made resource for fishing and boating or a giant bacteria and rubbish trap?

Dilemma of more parking or buses

The Hawke Government wanted more Canberrans to catch the bus to work - but not too many.

Affordable housing still a problem

Housing affordability and economic dependence on the public sector were identified as serious concerns for the ACT in 1984.

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

Follow Us

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo