Page 427 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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When there are discussions about the additional release of greenfield sites, let us be really clear on what we are talking about. As already outlined, the SLA have a steady program of land release in Molonglo and Gungahlin. In partnership, they are working to deliver Ginninderry. With the development of these new areas there is a need for transport facilities, schools and community infrastructure, to name just a few of the additional things that need to be delivered. These require significant resources and planning.

Once these divisions are released, there are actually very few areas that do not come at significant environmental cost. Right now there are preliminary investigations regarding land on the western edge. We already know, thanks to significant citizen science, that there are significant environmental values contained on some of this land, and we need to properly assess what we need to protect and what might be suitable to develop.

The Conservator of Flora and Fauna stated, as quoted in yesterday’s Canberra Times:

… Bluetts Block contained important woodlands and birds, according to evidence from the community.

“It contains very significant endangered box-gum woodlands and also some orchids … some antechinus and some common dunnarts, which are, despite the name, not that common across the ACT …”

As a government, we have ruled out both land west of the Murrumbidgee, due to its environmental values, and Kowen Forest.

In relation to some of the discussion about inland development, I think it is important for a nuanced discussion about what the community wants in relation to the evolution of our city. The ACT Greens, for many years, have supported the idea of a more compact city, one that promotes more sustainable living at an individual, a household and a community level. Good planning, design and strong quality drivers should deliver better housing options and deliver homes that are more liveable and comfortable, particularly in the context of climate change—and they will save residents time and money.

I see much discussion on the types of options that are available for people as they move through their life cycle. While young families may be looking for detached homes, families with older kids or those looking to downsize are often looking for other options such as townhouses, a part of the market that is more scarce than detached homes. Many people are interested in the lifestyle benefits delivered by living in apartments.

We need significant discussion about the choices, about what types of homes we wish to build, the size and the design of our homes, how we promote intergenerational living, how homes relate to the landscape on which they are located and support living infrastructure, and what liveability and amenity factors should be standard. These are all really important discussions that are currently underway as we progress through the planning review.

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