Page 3202 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 October 2022

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Planning—ACT Planning System Review and Reform Project

MS ORR: My question is for the Minister for Planning and Land Management. Minister, can you please provide the Assembly with an update on the planning system review and reform project.

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Orr for her question and her ongoing interest in sensible planning for our growing city. With more people living and working in Canberra than ever before we need a planning system that can facilitate growth without compromising the characteristics of the city that we value. So we are reforming the planning system to deliver better outcomes for communities, the environment and Canberrans. We recognise the current system does not always deliver the best possible outcomes for the community. The new system moves away from rules to a more outcomes focused planning system. This is a big change that will benefit the Canberra community.

There are three key elements to the change; a new planning act, new Territory plan, and district strategies. As members would be aware, last month I tabled the new Planning Bill 2022 in this Assembly. Following the introduction of the bill, the government is now working towards presenting the draft of the new Territory plan and the draft district strategies. Community feedback on these documents is important and will help shape the final versions of both. We have staggered the release of these three elements to allow community members and stakeholders to read through and interact with the material. There is a large amount of content in each of these documents, and all of these documents shape the new planning system for our future. I want to thank EPSDD staff who have put a huge amount of work into preparing these documents for community consideration and for the benefit of our community. I look forward to continuing to update the Assembly on this work as it progresses.

MS ORR: Minister, what are the district strategies and how will they work in the new planning system.

MR GENTLEMAN: The district strategies are a new level of strategic planning document and an important new feature in the new planning system. District strategies will capture and protect the value, character and attributes of each of Canberra’s nine main districts. They will be specific and targeted directions for each of the districts. The districts are Tuggeranong, Woden, Weston Creek, Inner South, Inner North, City, Gungahlin, Belconnen and east Canberra.

The district strategies are designed to sit between the high level policy in the ACT planning strategy and the detailed requirements of the new Territory Plan. They balance growth in the districts with the need to preserve character. There are several aspects that are represented across all districts, of course. The district strategies were developed following community feedback and reflect what people said they wanted for the new planning in their area. We know that Canberrans love our bush capital but we also know they are particularly attracted to their districts. I personally think our open spaces and Brindabella views down south are pretty hard to beat Madam Speaker, and I am sure you would agree.

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