Page 2800 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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grants in previous rounds have included grants to community and landcare groups for the control of invasive weeds and planting of native species in integrated areas along the Murrumbidgee River corridor, for the housing and rehabilitation of injured native wildlife, and for the annual frog watch volunteer survey data.

A new addition to this year’s grants process is a community gardens scheme, which closed recently. The grant program was open to individuals, community groups and not-for-profit organisations, and will help to promote locally grown, sustainable food choices within the Canberra region. Although the ACT is a small jurisdiction, the challenges that we are facing are no less significant than in other places.

This budget puts in place measures to preserve our delicate and fragile ecosystems for future generations and confronts the impacts of climate change on our city and our region directly. We are now recognised globally as a leader in developing innovative solutions which not only deliver real, positive outcomes but also are generating economic activity and prosperity for our city. We have continued to show that we can rise to this challenge. The work we will be able to do as a result of this year’s budget will have long-reaching benefits for us all.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (8.53): The Environment and Planning Directorate is responsible for a wide range of activities that provide the broad, strategic, city-wide planning policies for the ACT. These responsibilities include the ongoing implementation of the ACT planning strategy; delivering master plans that incorporate extensive community engagement; preparing planning and design studies; conducting social infrastructure planning; identifying strategic initiatives for urban renewal; providing input to the land supply strategy, major projects and capital works; providing advice about quality urban design outcomes and the public realm; and conducting urban research and monitoring.

Land planning activities include urban structure planning and investigation and feasibility assessments for new metropolitan areas. Activities are based on the government’s indicative land release program, which sets out the sequencing and programming of land releases in the ACT. A coordinated approach ensures an adequate supply of land across the territory. While work focuses primarily on residential land, it also supports the release of commercial and industrial land and planning work for redevelopment areas and broadacre areas.

The directorate also has responsibility for transport policy, planning and design, with a key focus being contributing to building an integrated transport network which sees land use and planning used strategically to connect Canberrans with their schools, university, workplace and sporting activities and interests—a key strategic priority for the directorate. The work of the directorate is significant, as is the breadth of their contribution to our community. As minister I am extremely proud of the professionalism and dedication demonstrated by the directorate.

In 2014-15 the ACT government assessed 1,169 merit track development applications. The directorate’s reporting targets for approval of DAs were 75 per cent in the merit

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