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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1244 ..

Planning and Land Management and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.17): I am pleased to present the ‘planning for the Gungahlin town centre’ ministerial statement. This statement reinforces the Assembly’s interest in the Gungahlin town centre and the Assembly’s agreed resolution on the town centre from February this year. It also outlines the current planning and activities being undertaken in the town centre.

As I stated in February this year, the town centre is continuing to grow and evolve. Envisaging 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 through the commencement of light rail. We want Gungahlin, like other parts of Canberra, to represent best practice planning and design and to provide for the future with an ability to adapt to changes in the market, in technology, in design and in the community.

Planning for Gungahlin and Canberra is an ongoing process, and we continually look at lessons and innovations from within Canberra and other cities to apply to get positive development outcomes for our city. Planning, land release and development is a long process. Developments that are approved today may take a number of years to be constructed. Planning has many challenges along its way that need to be worked through incrementally and systematically. This needs to be worked through by our planners with other areas in government and, of course, with the community.

Planning controls themselves take a number of years to change and are subject to robust statutory processes and community engagement. We need to keep checking whether our planning system is delivering good results. With approximately one-third of the town centre still to be developed, we take opportunities to review planning frameworks to facilitate appropriate development for the centre, while reflecting and balancing the expectations of the community.

This is why, in 2017, we started the Gungahlin town centre planning refresh, which led to the public release of the snapshot document in 2018 and the draft variation to the Territory Plan No 364 in 2019. Nine submissions on the draft variation were received. On 31 March this year, DV364 was formally referred to the Standing Committee on Planning, Transport and City Services for consideration. The committee, on 8 April 2021, agreed to conduct an inquiry into DV364 and is currently inviting submissions. This is a great opportunity for the community to tell us what they want to see in the Gungahlin town centre, and I look forward to receiving the committee’s report in due course as well as to the government formally responding.

On 10 February this year, the Assembly, with my support, passed a resolution calling for additional employment and better mixed-use developments in the Gungahlin town centre. While the resolution does not require a formal report back to the Assembly, the government intends to respond to the resolution. The directorate has already commenced considering the resolution in its work, including in relation to the ACT planning system review and reform project. I look forward to providing the Assembly with a response to the resolution before the last sitting day of this year.

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