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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 3 Hansard (10 March) . .

Page.. 947..


Motion (by Mr Gentleman) agreed to:

That the Members so nominated be appointed as members of the Select Committee on Estimates 2016-2017.

Planning and Development Act 2007—variation No 334 to the territory plan

Motion to reject

MR COE (Ginninderra) (12.04): I move:

That this Assembly, in accordance with subsection 80(2) of the Planning and Development Act 2007, rejects Variation No 334 to the Territory Plan—ACT Public Housing Redevelopments—Red Hill section 25 block 1, section 26 block 1, section 29 blocks 26 to 34, section 31 blocks 1 to 15 and block 49 and section 32 blocks 51 to 55 Red Hill Housing Precinct.

The Canberra Liberals have serious concerns about draft variation 334 and the way the government has conducted the variation process. We are concerned that the government has not listened to the community and has refused to allow scrutiny of this decision. What the government has proposed is not the best planning outcome for Red Hill or, indeed, for Canberra more generally. The people of Canberra are sick of the gamesmanship and disingenuous way in which the government communicates with the community. Right across Canberra we see the government supposedly consult when, in actual fact, the outcome is a done deal. We also repeatedly see situations where the government seemingly deliberately inflates development sizes and densities only to slightly wind them back later on and in doing so expects people to be grateful. This is not the way a government should conduct business with its citizens.

I commend the Red Hill residents who have navigated the seemingly impenetrable territory plan to get to the bottom of what this variation actually means in reality. Stuart Rogers, Melissa Bennet and numerous others have done a very good job in tracking and keeping people informed about this issue. The original draft variation 334 allowed development of up to six storeys as well as a basement car park. However, the current buildings on the site are a maximum of three storeys in height. So, under the original variation, the height of the buildings could double. It is, of course, no surprise that residents were shocked that the government would even consider buildings of this height.

Another concerning aspect of the variation is the fact that there is no height limit in metres included. Although development is limited when it comes to the number of storeys that can be built, the total height of the buildings is not set. The community is concerned because it is not clear how high the buildings will end up being. A height limit that does not limit the height in metres is not really a limit at all. I have spoken often about the importance of certainty in the planning space, and this is yet another example of the government legislating for uncertainty. A height limit in metres would make it clear to residents what they could expect to have built in their suburb. Why is it not possible for the government to include this information in the variation? What are they trying to hide?


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