Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 8 December 2011) . . Page.. 5951 ..
our own planning legislation, our management arrangements, and the establishment of evaluation, reporting and monitoring mechanisms.
The NES plan was part of a rigorous strategic environmental assessment by both the ACT and federal governments and reflects the government’s Molonglo and north Weston structure plan of the territory plan for urban development in Molonglo. The endorsement by the commonwealth minister and his approval under the EPBC legislation now means that we can proceed to development in the Molonglo valley with certainty, provide for future land release to meet a growing population, help address issues around housing affordability and provide land for homes for thousands of Canberrans. The endorsement means that planning for a population of up to 55,000 people in the Molonglo valley can now proceed with certainty and in a timely manner.
In addition to the NES plan endorsement, subsequent approval by the federal environment minister is also required. This approval relates to the action or class of actions pertaining to the development activities in the NES plan. The ACT government sought this approval concurrently with the submission of the NES plan. The approval which is being sought is for all actions associated with urban development, including infrastructure items in the Molonglo valley, provided that such action takes place wholly within the strategic assessment area in east Molonglo. The government is expecting this approval shortly.
The Molonglo valley strategic environmental assessment is only the third to be endorsed by the Australian government under national environmental law. This approach aligns with the federal government’s sustainable Australia—sustainable communities strategy, which aims to ensure that future population change supports the economic, environmental and the social wellbeing of the nation. This approval relates to Molonglo valley stage 2, south of the Molonglo River, and stage 3, north of the Molonglo River to William Hovell Drive.
In addition the NES plan includes west Molonglo and, as such, the commitment has been made to protecting the EPBC-listed box-gum woodland in this area. This is a very important endorsement which allows for future development in Molonglo to occur and reaffirms this government’s commitment to the protection of endangered and threatened ecological communities and species. It is a great outcome for the territory in ensuring that development in the Molonglo valley can proceed in a timely manner.
MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Mr Hargreaves.
MR HARGREAVES: I thank the minister for the response. Minister, what does this decision mean in terms of the ACT government’s planning for Molonglo valley as a model of sustainable development and helping achieve the ACT’s carbon emission targets?
MR CORBELL: The NES plan underwent a rigorous strategic environmental assessment by both governments and it reflects the area of the ACT government’s Molonglo and north Weston structure plan in the territory plan for urban development in east Molonglo. The structure plan outlines the principles and policies that apply to