Page 2871 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 13 August 2013
approval of the Gungahlin strategic assessment. Can you explain to the Assembly what a strategic assessment is and why it is a better approach to planning new suburbs.
MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. A strategic assessment is a large-scale environmental assessment undertaken in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, the commonwealth’s EPBC legislation. The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that there are landscape-wide assessments of the impact of development projects rather than a project-by-project assessment.
We saw the Gungahlin strategic assessment approved by the federal environment minister, Mr Butler, on 17 July this year. The Gungahlin plan was prepared by ACT government directorates for assessment in accordance with the national environmental law. It allows us to complete planned residential development in a very important part of our city while at the same time protecting important ecosystems and habitats. It has parcelled together all the remaining areas of Gungahlin identified for development and assessed them in a single strategic assessment process.
The strategic assessment was required because studies undertaken by the government have identified several matters of national environmental significance which are protected actions under the commonwealth’s EPBC legislation. This includes the habitats and species of the superb parrot, the striped legless lizard, the golden sun moth and the threatened ecological communities of box gum woodland and natural temperate grassland.
I am pleased to say that the federal environment minister, in approving the assessment, has congratulated the government for delivering a plan which satisfies both development and environment protection objectives. Approval of this plan means that all actions associated with development within the Gungahlin district no longer require any separate referral, assessment or approval under the EPBC legislation.
Importantly, the approval remains in effect until January 2043. This provides great certainty for land release and certainty for future development and housing supply but also certainty on the protection and maintenance of significant areas of endangered or vulnerable ecosystems and species. This will allow us, we anticipate, to see the release of between 10,000 and 13,000 new dwellings over the remaining period of Gungahlin’s development.
This is an important approval, an approval that gives certainty for housing release, certainty when it comes to the government’s housing affordability strategies and certainty for the protection of important areas of the territory’s natural environment.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.
MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, what are the direct impacts of this for development in the Gungahlin area?
MR CORBELL: As I have indicated in my previous answer, first and foremost it means that the development of the remaining suburbs in Gungahlin can be