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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 27 October 2015) . . Page.. 3576 ..

The committee received 70 submissions and held three public hearings to hear from 26 witnesses. The committee was unable to reach agreement to recommend that the draft variation be approved. However, collectively we agreed to four recommendations. Dr Bourke and I recommended the draft variation be approved as well as two further additional recommendations: one to amend the draft variation and another to consider future amalgamation of blocks. I will discuss these in more detail shortly.

The minister stated that DV 343 was entirely consistent with the ACT planning strategy, the territory plan statement of strategic directions, and the RZ1 residential suburban zone objectives. When the scheme was announced in October 2014 the ACT government advised that it would seek to make planning changes as part of a range of policy measures that would enable the ACT government to minimise the cost of the scheme to the ACT community. The final impact of the Mr Fluffy buyback scheme on the ACT budget will be up to $400 million. We have not had sufficient assistance from the federal government to minimise these costs. Therefore, it is up to the ACT government to look for opportunities to recover some of the cost to ACT taxpayers from the cost of the scheme.

I make this point: the ACT government does not stand to make money from this scheme. We will never make money from this scheme, and this is an important point. But we should try to do everything we can to limit the costs of the scheme to the community, and the committee acknowledged that the cost of conclusively dealing with the issue of loose-fill asbestos in the community will limit budget options for future governments and impact upon ratepayers for years to come.

The committee received 70 submissions and held three public hearings to hear from 26 witnesses. A majority were opposed to DV 343, but many of the issues they raised were either outside the scope of the draft variation or showed a misunderstanding of its effect. One such misunderstanding concerned the possibility of two-storey residences being built in backyards, and many were against any dual occupancy in RZ1, opposing current policy that allows for dual occupancy over 800 square metres.

At the same time the committee heard evidence that there was considerable demand for dual occupancy and medium-density housing within Canberra’s established suburbs. For example, the Weston Creek Community Council noted that a lot of older people want to downsize in their community but that there are few options available to do so. The committee heard a submission from a 69-year-old former Mr Fluffy home owner who described the draft variation as “crucial”. She said the change would allow two unit title dwellings to be built on her block and for one to be sold as a means to finance the other. The result would be a new home suitable for her needs and in the location she had known and enjoyed for nearly 20 years.

The Housing Industry Association noted that there was a huge push at the moment for people in suburbs they have lived in for most of their lives to downsize and continue to enjoy their community and the amenity associated with that. A lot of younger people, potential first homebuyers and renters, also find it incredibly difficult to buy or rent a house in established suburbs due to the lack of diversity in housing stock.

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