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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3218 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

increase money for social housing through the renegotiation of the Commonwealth-State/Territory Housing Agreement. At the last meeting I attended, Senator Vanstone was indicating less funding. I hope she is talking to her Prime Minister. I look forward to her comments when I meet with her and other state and territory housing ministers on 25 October at the next meeting of housing ministers.

Land supply

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to Mr Corbell in his capacity as Minister for Planning. Minister, you were quoted in the Canberra Times of 4 September as saying:

Land supply in southern Canberra was all but exhausted, leaving Gungahlin as almost the sole site of future land releases.

There is a real and increasingly immediate prospect now that this land supply will be exhausted within the next five to 10 years if current population growth lifts even modestly above its current 1 per cent, or if further land is removed from the residential land-release program due to ecological concerns.

Is it correct that present projections indicate that there is enough land in Gungahlin for another 100,000 people and that with a sensible in-fill program you could support another 30,000, meaning that Canberra's population would need to reach 450,000 people before we ran out of land. Given the current growth rate of 1 per cent, is it accurate to say that the ACT will not run out of land before 2042, and if we maintain a population growth of 2 per cent we will run out of land by 2022? What did you base your rather panic-stricken predictions in the Canberra Times of 4 September and your speech of 4 September to the planning forum on?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, the figures Mr Stefaniak quotes are accurate in that they are the published projections and assumptions which all territory governments have worked on to date. The government does not dispute that that is the accepted and conventional assessment of the territory's land supply.

But the advice I have received most recently from the land area of the Department of Urban Services, which is responsible for assessing future land supply in conjunction with Planning and Land Management, is that we could face serious land shortages sooner than we originally anticipated if our population growth rises above its existing level, or if we have to withdraw future possible residential land releases because of ecological concerns.

It is a fairly logical argument. There is all this land set aside for residential use. If you cannot build on it because of ecological concerns, that means you have less land. That is the issue I raised. I raised it in the context that north Gungahlin, which is the main development front for the city, is an area which has a very significant representation of yellow box/red gum grassy woodland community. In fact, that ecological community occurs in very large areas of north Gungahlin.

That assessment has been identified previously but, as we have seen, changing community expectations about release of land and the value of ecological communities, can impact on the total amount of land available. It was in that context that I was making the point. I think the basis on which I made that point is fairly clear.

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