Page 1126 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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A consistent message received from all of the groups was the need for a performance and outcome-based planning system that fosters and rewards design excellence and innovation. Most attendees also agreed that collaboration between government industry, research organisations and the community would help to achieve better planning and design outcomes for our city. The ACT government is always trying to do its best to improve community communication and consultation. These workshops have proven to be an excellent way to increase the level of community consultation, which already influences government policy and decisions.

On 13 March I met with older people recently to find out their age-specific perspectives on planning priorities. Thirteen people attended this meeting, and a key theme was the importance of planning for an age-friendly city and, of course, ageing in place. A prominent message which came out of the workshop was the need for a city which facilitates the social inclusion of older people. This included discussion regarding the need for age-friendly accommodation in relatively close proximity to facilities such as shops, libraries and other community spaces such as seniors centres. The proximity of this type of senior-friendly accommodation to public transport was also discussed. Enthusiasm was shown for the city to Gungahlin light rail project and the way it will positively impact on the lives of seniors. (Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, could you tell us more about how the workshops were structured?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Dr Bourke for his question. The workshops involved a roundtable setting of between nine and 10 participants. The participants were asked questions or given prompting to give insight to me and other attendees about the things that they saw being positives or negatives in the ACT planning process. Participants in the workshops, and indeed in the wider community, have been asked to consider the following questions. How do we achieve a more compact city that is inclusive, vibrant, connected, prosperous and environmentally responsible while maintaining the attributes of making Canberra a great place to live, work and play? How can we encourage innovation and flexibility in the planning system and within industry and maintain certainty related to planning and design outcomes on the ground? And we asked, “What do you think should be the top focus for planning in the ACT and surrounding region in the next three to five years?” I found that this fluid and conversational style of consultation allows for innovative and creative ideas to come to the fore more easily, which is certainly what we saw through these workshops.

Grouping various demographic groups together, such as seniors and young people, for example, provides more specific insight into the needs and aspirations of various sections of the community. The group of older people who attended the seniors workshop expressed desires that were concerned with issues specifically affecting people within their demographic, such as accessibility and service proximity, amongst others which affect everyone, like urban amenity and sustainability. I hope to achieve the same results with the group of young people who will be attending the session on

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