Page 241 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

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In deciding the application I have also given careful consideration to the demand for car parking, the potential impacts of the proposed additional uses and gross floor area on the surrounding area and the opportunity to achieve the goals of the City West master plan in regard to enlivening the City West area. I also made this decision on the basis that the development will complement the Canberra central program and work of the Griffin legacy project. Further, it supports the logical sequence of development that I have provided in the government’s response to the Canberra central task force report. The proposal is also consistent with the requirements of the National Capital Plan and the territory plan.

I have used my call-in powers in this instance because I consider the proposal has a substantial effect on the achievement of the objectives of the territory plan to maintain and promote the city centre as the main commercial centre for Canberra and the region, providing a centre for Canberra that is vibrant, interesting and lively and encouraging a mix of land uses, including residential, which contribute to our diverse and active character. A clear benefit to the Canberra community arises from the contribution the development will make to a stronger and more vibrant city centre by providing for cultural facilities and commercial accommodation and increasing the housing choice for people wishing to live close to places of work, education, community services and cultural activities.

The other call-in I am outlining today relates to the new ACT prison, the Alexander Maconochie Centre. On 14 December last year I directed the Planning and Land Authority to refer this development application to me. On 27 January I advised the authority I had decided to consider the application, and on 27 January I further approved the application. The application sought approval for the construction of a 374-bed correctional facility and associated works.

In deciding the application I gave careful consideration to the requirements of the territory plan, the National Capital Authority’s development control plan, the 2004 ACT prison preliminary assessment evaluation, advice from the ACT Planning and Land Council, the Canberra spatial plan and the Canberra social plan. I also gave consideration to the 76 written submissions and the six late comments received by the Planning and Land Authority during the public notification period of the development application in November last year. I have imposed a range of conditions requiring additional details on landscaping, stock-proof fencing, a water retention pond and associated land management and the effectiveness of raptor deterrent devices.

The land act provides for specific criteria in relation to the exercise of the call-in power. I have used my call-in powers in this instance because I consider that the proposal responds to a major policy issue and provides a substantial and far-reaching public and social benefit to the ACT by providing opportunities to rehabilitate ACT prisoners closer to their families and in their local community rather than being transferred interstate where the ACT community has little or no influence over their management and rehabilitation. The desirability of the maintenance of prisoner, family and community relationships was especially recognised by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

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