Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1046 ..
I would like to endorse many of the comments by my fellow Ginninderra MLA Ms Clay on listening to the community, because I think that MLAs in this room need to remember why we are here. We are here to serve our community. We are here to listen to what their needs and interests are. As elected officials, it is our responsibility to take those interests and concerns seriously and to see how we can make each of our electorates and this great city the place that they want to live in and enjoy with their families, going forward into the future.
In my opinion, the territory’s planning system is not working. We do not have the balance right. I recognise that there is a need to meet the huge growth in demand for housing and retain the essence of what it means to live in Australia’s bush capital. It is worth reminding this Assembly that this city is the capital of one of the greatest countries in the world, in my opinion, if not the greatest. It is worthy of being promoted as a centre for industry, and smart industries in particular, a centre for smart planning, a centre for livability and for community, and a place where people come first. The bush capital is something we are known for internationally, and I think we should be advancing that with our planning decisions.
Green space should be preserved for many reasons, including the importance of plant life as a relatively cheap and effective way of addressing climate change. It is also nice to go down to the oval with your family, to play a game and walk the dog. We should not easily lose these community open spaces.
What are some of the issues or improvements that I would like to see in residential planning? Regarding medium density, we need a sensible approach to low rise and medium density in existing RZ2 zones. It is very disappointing to see RZ1 zones, by stealth, being converted into RZ2 zones with attractive tags like “demonstration housing”. It is simply a sham way of extending RZ2 zones into existing RZ1.
We need to move away from the trend towards high-density towers which create massive heat banks and parking issues. We need a long-term strategy to deliver good, workable transport and active travel networks. I have been told that a goal of having a medium to large block, with more room for a yard, is very 1950s. But according to the Winton report, the vast majority of Canberrans prefer to live in a standalone home with a bit of yard for their children or their own activities. This is achievable.
With respect to streetscapes, we need to avoid the narrow streets in a lot of the newer areas. They are dangerous and cramped. Just drive through them, if you do not believe my words. Drive through Lawson, in my electorate of Ginninderra, and other newer areas of Canberra. The inadequate parking provisions mean that cars parked on both sides of the street barely leave an avenue for normal traffic, let alone, in some areas, emergency vehicles.
Building quality comes up time and again as I talk to my constituents. This is something I will be working on with my colleague Mark Parton, the shadow minister for sustainable building and construction.
We need better connected transport networks. Good transport networks are an integral part of planning for the future of Canberra that we are currently lacking, especially