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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 4 June 2015) . . Page.. 2054 ..

in areas such as solar access, energy efficiency, renewable energy, innovation in the use of materials and construction technologies, quality of construction, water sensitive urban design and transport options.

We have often heard commitments to sustainability at the outset of projects in the past only to see by the time the project is actually completed that the sustainability elements have been “value managed” out of a project. The government needs to work with the university to ensure that the ideals currently being expressed are followed through to the final product.

I have optimism in this space. Again, in discussions with the university, they have indicated they intend to use the development taking place on campus as part of their curriculum. That is one of the very positive elements of this proposed approach and the vision the vice-chancellor has spelled out around this, but we need to make sure that is followed through. Since I last had a discussion with the university about this, I believe further progress has been made, and I am very encouraged by that. I believe they are starting to build a range of these sustainability criteria into the contracts that they will enter into with development partners. I welcome that. I thank them for that development and I look forward to further insight as to how that is going. There is a real opportunity for the university to excel in areas of architecture, urban planning and natural resource management by ensuring their developments are of a standard that the university sector and its members would expect.

I also hope a component of affordable housing will be included in the development, again mindful of the need to both accommodate students and to play a community role from the university. Planning and timing of developments within the university should also be determined within the context of the wider Belconnen town centre precinct. We need to ensure there is orderly sequencing that does not undermine nearby developments. This is something Mr Coe spoke to. Again, in the statement of intent, there is an undertaking from the university, a clearly stated intent, that they will limit the development to around 200 properties a year over the course of 15 years so it is coming out in an orderly manner.

The five-year review point provides the Assembly with an important opportunity to monitor that. If the university does not follow that intention—I have no doubt they will—the Assembly is provided with that opportunity to ensure we do not see the sort of distortion we have seen from the Canberra Airport when it comes to the ACT’s property market.

When I reflect on that, what has happened at the airport has very much influenced my thinking on how we approach this University of Canberra model. There is an opportunity there, but we need to make sure that it does not sit completely outside the ACT’s planning framework in a way that perhaps the airport has. The review process will be very important, and the Assembly will need to focus on that very clearly at the time it comes forward.

As I have said, I support the general direction of the bill, and I appreciate the vision Vice-Chancellor Parker is working towards. But that vision must be a shared vision with the rest of the community, and the Assembly needs and will have clear opportunities to scrutinise and test that vision.

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