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Research Guides

Government Records about the Australian Capital Territory

Canberra Commercial Development Authority

In April 1973, Cabinet approved a proposal to establish a statutory authority to develop and manage the future Belconnen Mall. Cabinet noted that there were two major shopping centres in Canberra, Monaro Mall and Woden Town Centre, and the time had arrived to build a similar centre in Belconnen. Rather than allowing private industry to manage the mall, it was recognised that a number of commercial leases in Canberra had been acquired by one company and Cabinet was keen to prevent a monopoly situation developing.127

There were delays in finalising the legislation to establish the authority, so Belconnen continued to grow without having a shopping centre commensurate with its size. Public criticism followed, but it was not until October 1974 that the Canberra Commercial Development Authority was finally established. Construction of the mall began in December 1976; it opened in February 1978.128

The Commonwealth's ownership of Belconnen Mall was short lived. Following the Review of Commonwealth Functions conducted by Minister for Industry and Commerce Phillip Lynch, and popularly known as the 'Razor Gang', Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser told Parliament that the authority would be abolished and the mall sold.

The sale did not take place as quickly as planned because the government was not satisfied with the offers it received. Indeed, in 1983, there was a suggestion that the authority's activities might be widened to include a new shopping centre at Erindale.129 In 1985, however, the Hawke government approved the mall's sale and sought expressions of interest for its purchase. In December 1985, Cabinet approved a joint offer by the Superannuation Fund and Investment Trust and PT Limited (Trustee of the Westfield Trust) for a sum of $87 million.130

Belconnen Mall was sold in March 1986. The Canberra Commercial Development Authority was abolished in the same year.

Binder of press clippings and press releases, 1974–79 A6630
Volumes of board minutes, 1974–86 A6618
Construction plans of Belconnen Mall shopping complex, 1975–78 A6639
Belconnen Mall Manager's general correspondence files, 1978–86 A6621
Executive Director's correspondence files, 1976–78 A6622
Photographs and negatives of Belconnen Town Centre retail mall site development, 1976–78 A6641
Photographic progress studies of the building of the Belconnen Mall, 1977–78 A6642
Records relating to the development of Erindale and Tuggeranong shopping centres, 1983–85 A6623
National Archives
Canberra Commercial Development Authority, sale of Belconnen Mall, 1985–86 A432, 1985/6225
National Library
Correspondence regarding the Canberra Commercial Development Authority, 1975 (Tom Uren) MS 5816, series 7, box 78
Canberra Commercial Development Authority, 1978–83 (Tom Uren) MS 6055, series 12, folder 8, box 91


Chapter notes | All notes

127 NAA: A5915, 184, March 1973.

128 'Ministerial Statement: Review of Commonwealth Functions', 30 April 1981, Parliamentary Papers, 1981, volume 8, paper 96.

129 The Canberra Times, 20 October 1983, p. 1.

130 NAA: A14039, 3478, 29 November 1985.


Chapter 6
Changes in the wind, 1972–89