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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 August 2010) . . Page.. 3362 ..

The next section of our recommendations goes to the natural environment. Particularly in a site like Lawson South—clearly, it is next to Lawson North, which has a substantial grassland component—the natural environment is very important. We have asked for ACTPLA to provide details in the precinct code as to how a biodiversity offset approach will be implemented in Lawson South. We have recommended that the native grasslands under the electricity substation should be maintained as native grasslands, that there should be more threatened species surveys prior to finalising the planning and that a state plan should be developed in order to make sure that we have sufficient data to properly plan so that threatened species are not more threatened by Lawson South. We have also recommended that the open space in Lawson South should be connected to other adjacent open space so that we have connectivity for wildlife.

Recommendations 12 and 13 deal with and note the usefulness of containment areas. Finally, I would like to talk about the Lawson commercial zone, about which we did not make any recommendations. I was somewhat surprised about the uncertainty there still seems to be in the ACT government about commercial zones and, in particular, what is possible and not possible in local areas. Given the work that the government did last year through the Martin report, I am surprised that we have not managed to come to a better conclusion and that we have a situation where there is still a lack of clarity as to the retail hierarchy in the ACT.

The last recommendation, recommendation 15, is about consultation. Creating a whole new suburb is a major thing for any planning authority to do, so we felt that it would be useful if there were signs up for some time saying, “Proposed new suburb here.” Currently, small signs are erected for a couple of weeks: “Redevelopment application.” A whole suburb is a vastly bigger thing than that, so the committee felt it was appropriate to have some signage alerting passers-by that the environment around them is going to change substantially.

In summary, I will say that Lawson South does seem an appropriate place for further urban development, and I commend the committee’s recommendation and comments to the planning minister.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (12.15): I, too, would like to pass on my thanks to the committee secretariat for their good and professional work, as it always is. I also would like to add to the sentiments expressed by Ms Le Couteur and Ms Porter that Lawson is a good location for a suburb. It is a good place to live, and I think it will be a highly sought after place to live, given its proximity to the town centre, arterial roads, the University of Canberra and other sites in Belconnen.

Rather than recapping what has just been said, I will note in particular where I have some concerns. I did not support recommendation 5—that is, that the provision of space for community gardens should be a requirement of the development of Lawson South. Whilst I am not going to get into the merits of or the case against community gardens, I do not necessarily think that we should be mandating such things. There is a good opportunity here for individual developers to consider the provision of such services. Indeed, if they are attractive and are something that people would like, I

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