Page 160 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 9 February 2022

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western edge are looking at this very question. We will take environmental, infrastructure, transport and planning considerations into account. I look forward to seeing what experts have to say about the location of our newest communities.

Planning—western edge

MS CLAY: My question is to the Minister for Planning and Land Management. Minister, the ACT Greens have asked a lot of questions about future development on the western edge. The whole area contains significant ecological values and really precious spots, like Bluetts Block, that contain many threatened species. There is a block abutting Bluetts that likely has the same ecological values and threatened species as Bluetts, and I was shocked to hear recently from the community that that block was sold off and an application made for an exemption from the environmental impact statement. We have been repeatedly told here that western edge investigations are ongoing and that environmental assessments are being done very carefully, so I am now confused. Can you tell me exactly which blocks form part of the total western edge investigation area, and can you publicly release a map clearly identifying the blocks that are in the western edge investigation?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Clay for her interest in future development for the city. To provide greater certainty about where future greenfield development may occur once Gungahlin and the Molonglo Valley are developed, the ACT planning strategy 2018 identifies the need to investigate the land to the west of Canberra’s metropolitan area—that is, the western edge. It is approximately 9,800 hectares in area and includes land generally bordered by the Murrumbidgee River and the existing urban areas of Belconnen, Molonglo Valley, Western Creek and Kambah. The investigation area includes Mount Stromlo.

We already know that the western edge contains significant environmental values and, as such, only parts of the western edge would be suitable for any development. Over the last couple of years the government has completed a range of preliminary background investigations that are necessary to provide a complete and informed picture of the environmental issues associated with the area. That mapped area of the western edge is on the EPSDD site. I will get the link for Ms Clay.

MS CLAY: Minister, how many blocks in or abutting the western edge investigation area are currently up for sale and how many have been sold off in the last five years for development?

MR GENTLEMAN: I am not aware of any that are currently up for sale. When it is a private enterprise, they could be.

MR DAVIS: Minister, what will you do to ensure that the environmental values on this piece of land and all blocks on the western edge are carefully examined during the planning process?

MR GENTLEMAN: That is a very important question. This is the work that is ongoing with our environmental experts in planning and EPSDD to ensure that all of

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