Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (15:43:20) — I will sadly only get to speak briefly on this very important motion that has been put forward by Dr Ratnam, yet again another revocation motion. I did want to speak at length on this issue because this is something I think is important. Unfortunately we heard Mr Dalidakis speak in a limited way but many times over, so we heard a 3-minute contribution repeated 20 times.
I love Federation Square, and I have always loved Federation Square. From the beginning, when I saw that design, I have been one of the ones that thought it was cool. I was a fan of the Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome, and it reminded me of that utopian science fiction that I sometimes long for even though I do love the 19th century Victorian chamber that we are in as well. I visit Federation Square whenever I can, and I am a great fan of it. I have been particularly impressed with the way that we have developed along the river as well, and up until now we have missed that opportunity to open Federation Square up to the river. I think a very important part of this proposal is opening up the river, enabling us to have that greater public space and to wander from Federation Square down there.
I like the commercial aspects of Federation Square as well. I enjoy going to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). I attend many events at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). I am a regular at the various restaurants down at Federation Square and also along Birrarung Marr. I really enjoy the space and the area. I join thousands quite often at the big events when we are watching on the big screen, whether it is at a sad event like remembering the Florida nightclub shooting a couple of years ago or whether it is celebrating things like the Australian Open.
I actually do not have a problem with it being commercialised, and I think that involving Apple in a venture in Federation Square is not a bad thing. I do think the process could have been better, and I also said previously, this morning, that I do not think we have brought the community with us as much as we could have. When I speak to people who are not necessarily engaged with this place, they love the idea of having an Apple space. When I have been looking at the various flagships — I have certainly been to their New York store — I think the one that relates most closely to Federation Square is their Chicago store, and that is on the river and has opened up the space down to the river quite beautifully.
Having just been part of Pause Fest, which is a tech conference that was held at Federation Square two weeks ago, and speaking to people from Pixar and various other people, a relationship between Apple and Pixar, a relationship between Apple, Pixar and ACMI or even a relationship between Apple, Pixar and the Koorie Heritage Trust, the NGV or the various other cultural spaces at Federation Square I think could be very positive. I think the modern 21st century style of square is about embracing technology, and I do not think that we as a Parliament could do that effectively. I think working with a company like Apple is a good idea, and I support that idea.
In part of looking at the process, a semirendered, half-considered design being published out there did cause great concern. People saw that building and thought, ‘That is ugly. That is not going to work for Federation Square. That is not going to create the space that we want’, but that is not the final design and there is a lot more work to be done in creating that space and making sure that that space works for us, that we see the extra open space there, that we see the ability for us to interact with the technology and that that space becomes activated in that way. Personally I think it is exciting, and many of the people I speak to, particularly those with children, also think that this is exciting.
I understand the criticisms here and I appreciate the concerns of some of the people who have written to me, but all in all I do not support this motion. I do support us entering into arrangements like this. I think the process could have been more transparent. Yet again I would say: let us not let the perfect get in the way of the good. I look forward to seeing how this space will take us into this next century and the opportunities that redeveloping that space to take us down to the river provides. I do not support the motion.