Page 1591 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 12 May 2015

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towards a population of 500,000 over the next 20 years, it is becoming increasingly important for us to address the challenges presented by creating livable, resilient and connected communities that are inclusive for all Canberrans.

The places we live, work and play are important influences on how we move around our city, our social connections and our sense of belonging in the community. People are connected in cities socially, economically, culturally and physically. Social connection needs to be considered in planning for our city at every level—from the overall shape of the city and the region to the level of neighbourhoods, streets and communications within and between individual buildings and their occupants. The changing demographics of the ACT will require significant shifts in planning policies to enable a choice of housing and to allow people to age in place in the neighbourhoods where they are socially connected and familiar with local facilities and services.

We need not only to ensure that our city is people friendly but also to specifically consider child and age-friendly planning policies. As Minister for Planning I am keen to ensure there is housing choice for our mature city and a range of housing options are able to be delivered. In this regard, the Environment and Planning Directorate are continuing to work to review policies and to ensure the territory plan and its codes can facilitate housing affordability, urban consolidation and ultimately sustainability.

Planning has a defining role in helping to shape Canberra as a healthy and safe city, as part of a connected city. Good urban planning can shape our neighbourhoods to create high quality public realm and spaces and encourage active travel for everyone by walking, cycling and public transport. This in turn has benefits for quality of life, including physical and mental health. A number of planning projects are currently in progress which focus on building inclusive communities. The consultation I announced in February on the statement of planning intent has already provided me with opportunities to engage with the Canberra community and key stakeholders to find out about their aspirations for the planning of our city.

I am asking Canberrans to help me determine the planning priorities the government should focus on over the next three to five years. It is very important to me that this statement reflects the community’s options as Canberra continues to mature and grow as a major city. That is why I have held a number of stakeholder workshops with peak industry, community groups, research bodies and government agencies to listen to community ideas. The statement of planning intent will be an important document for Canberra. It will build on current ACT government policies and strategies and recognise the main contemporary challenges for our city. The statement will be taken into account by the Environment and Planning Directorate in performing its planning duties.

In preparing the new statement there is an opportunity to underscore what has been achieved to date and to highlight planning priorities to maintain momentum and shared commitment to a vibrant and socially inclusive city. The new suburb of Crace in Gungahlin demonstrates successfully the role of planning in building an active, healthy and inclusive community. A neighbourhood design with active streets, well-connected paths, open spaces and community facilities has been at the forefront of planning.

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