Page 3413 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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This is important in the context of the view I hold that, while many people in Canberra want to retain single-family dwellings as their preferred place to live and their preferred neighbourhood, a location such as the site on Cooyong Street is a place where high density redevelopment is highly appropriate. So I disagree with the notion that Mr Coe has put in his motion that any implementation of draft variation 308 should be deferred. It is quite clear that this is an appropriate site for that higher level of development.

One thing I agree with Mr Coe on in his motion is the need to review the territory plan. This policy was included in the 2012 Labor-Greens parliamentary agreement to ensure that the plan is consistent with the 40 per cent greenhouse gas reduction target, and the government is committed to doing this as part of action plan 2. I think this will be a very beneficial outcome because, again, it will tie together a number of the strategic strands put in place both by the previous government and the current government to put Canberra on a pathway to a more sustainable future. The review of the territory plan will simply reinforce that.

Let me simply conclude by saying I think there are still improvements to be made in our planning system. Anybody who suggests it is perfect is really kidding themselves. One of the things I am particularly keen to see is the completion of the program to develop master plans for all the town centres and, ultimately, for these master plans to be reflected in precinct codes in the territory plan to provide certainty about what kind of development will be allowed in these areas.

The process is yet to begin for Belconnen and Woden town centres, and I know the communities in these areas are keen to be engaged in a conversation about how their town centres develop and to talk through issues such as building heights and for these issues to be resolved. Of course, we are in the middle of the process of developing a master plan for the city centre—the city plan and city to lake—which will provide further direction for the heart of the city. The Greens have argued for more levers to improve sustainability in the outcomes of planning decisions, such as remissions on the lease variation charge to provide incentives to drive more sustainable developments. Financial incentives are an important lever in the planning tool kit to give support to proponents who want to retrofit, re-purpose or build more energy-efficient buildings, for example.

Overall, I believe we are moving forward on the path to sustainability and better neighbourhoods. Sadly, too many of Canberra’s existing suburbs were built without consideration of modern design principles, making it harder to build energy efficient homes and to provide public transport. The Canberra of the future has to be designed in a smart and sustainable way with an awareness of the challenges we are facing from our changing environment.

At 6 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

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