Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2021) . . Page.. 375 ..
government are, sadly, continuing their program of decentralising the APS. So, relying on these departments is not a viable strategy for gaining business employment opportunities in the area.
As Gungahlin’s quick expansion and development begins to slow, it is clear to me that there is still a lot of work to be done in the town centre to ensure that Gungahlin becomes the bustling community hub that was promised. Business investment will improve opportunities for employment closer to home, but to attract this investment we need to get our planning right. Once we build apartment blocks on all of the available land in the town centre, it is too late. This is an important issue for Gungahlin residents, and I am very grateful that my colleague Ms Orr has brought it to the attention of the Assembly.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Manager of Government Business, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Industrial Relations and Workplace Safety, Minister for Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.51): I thank Ms Orr for raising this important matter regarding the Gungahlin town centre and noting the ambition and opportunity of this relatively young district.
Gungahlin is still very much growing and evolving. The Gungahlin district population is estimated to reach approximately 82,500 this year, an increase of over 6,000 residents from 2017. Several of its suburbs are still under development and one further suburb, Kenny, is to be developed in the coming years. The town centre has also continued to grow and evolve. Envisaged as a lower scale urban village when development commenced in the 1990s, the centre has grown rapidly, attracting new residents, businesses, and investment. It has also been transformed with the development of light rail.
Planning for Gungahlin and Canberra is an ongoing process. We are continually looking at lessons and innovations from within Canberra and other cities to apply to get positive development outcomes in our city. Several initiatives introduced by this government, including the planning review and reform project, the National Capital Design Review Panel and a strategic approach to community facilities, go directly to the issues raised in Ms Orr’s motion.
Gungahlin has experienced high demand for and growth of residential development within the town centre, compared to office development. We want Gungahlin, like other parts of Canberra, to represent best practice planning and design and to provide for growth into the future, with the ability to adapt to changes in the market, technology design, and community. With approximately one-third of the town centre yet to be developed, we are taking opportunities where we can review and refresh planning frameworks to facilitate and support appropriate development for the centre, and responding to government policy of the day, while reflecting community expectations.
Canberrans are seeking housing choices in locations that provide good access to existing employment, services, and social and urban infrastructure. The Planning Strategy identifies the importance town centres play in accommodating an increased urban population, which in turn creates opportunities for great mixed-use