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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 November 2021) . . Page.. 3208 ..


As of 1 September 2021, there is approximately 13.5 hectares of land in the town centre yet to be released by the government for future development. Most of this land is located to the east of Kate Crace Street and is where most of the planning control changes are proposed through draft variation No 364. The town centre already has these levers in place for further employment and new commercial office developments. Land is available and infrastructure is in place. There is essential and established retail, services and facilities in the town centre; and light rail is operating.

Another lever available to government is the planning system. Planning is an ongoing process, of course. It is a review process. The government continually looks at lessons and innovations from within Canberra, other cities in Australia and around the world to apply to get positive development outcomes. We need a planning system that is right for today. All our town centres are currently seeing the benefit of our commitment to greater urban infill. Bringing residents to our town centres has opened up opportunities in the night-time economy. Our town centres are no longer ghost towns at the end of the public service day. We have seen new pubs and restaurants open up in our town centres, which is great for our people and great for the city.

Best practice development will come from a best practice planning system. I am firmly of the view that our planning system needs to be more outcomes focused. I said this back in 2015 through my statement of planning intent and I continue to hold this view. This is a major pillar of our current ACT planning system review and reform project work—to move the planning system from being rather prescriptive to much more outcomes and performance focused.

Canberra also needs a planning system that can facilitate growth without compromising the unique characteristics of our city. I do not want to see development that threatens our surrounding natural landscape, with endless urban sprawl and congestion. In this context, the ACT planning system review and reform project is currently underway. Its objective is to improve built form, place design, and public realm outcomes across the territory. This will include incorporating character, context and design as key elements of the system to substantially lift the quality of the design of new developments, while maintaining Canberra’s valued character.

A new level of strategic planning is proposed to be introduced for the territory’s districts. District strategies will establish more detailed planning guidance and desired outcomes for development in districts and for areas of growth and change, such as the Gungahlin town centre, in line with the strategic directions of the ACT planning strategy. Until this work is completed and a new Territory Plan is introduced, we can only use our existing tools and levers. More generally, the planning system can facilitate outcomes but cannot dictate outcomes. There is a need for the development industry and the market to take up opportunities.

In relation to the two resolutions that contain 18 matters, the government’s response proposes that seven matters are agreed, nine matters are agreed in principle and two items are noted. I am pleased to be able to confirm that the government will undertake precinct planning for the blocks along Flemington Road east of Kate Crace Street. These blocks are a crucial part of the Gungahlin town centre. Precinct planning will


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