Page 3578 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015

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The legacy of Mr Fluffy means our suburbs will change. That much is certain. How we make the most of that change is something this inquiry sought to address. I regret the committee was unable to reach agreement to recommend that draft variation 343 be approved. However, Dr Bourke and I were of the belief that it should be approved by the minister.

Dr Bourke and I also agreed that DV 343 should be amended to allow a maximum plot ratio of 50 per cent for all dual occupancies on surrendered blocks to ensure the best possible design outcomes whilst keeping in line with single dwelling plot ratios. If a dual occupancy development is more accessible and offers a better design outcome at a slightly higher plot ratio, that should be considered rather than settle for a poorer design that benefits no-one, for the sake of a smaller plot ratio.

For me, this inquiry marks the start of a conversation we need to have as a community about how we plan for the future of our city and the way we live. We need to provide a wider range of affordable and sustainable housing choices that meet changing household and community needs. It is clear from this inquiry that our current policy settings are not sufficient to facilitate the kind of medium-density housing development that Canberra needs. I was disappointed this inquiry did not achieve an outcome that would enable us to test the option of changing these policy settings. This was a missed opportunity.

While it is reasonable to assume that many former Mr Fluffy owners have made plans already based on the assumption DV 343 would proceed, with some choosing to buy elsewhere based on an expected increase in the likely cost of repurchasing their block, I am sympathetic to the trauma this has caused those Mr Fluffy home owners who do not see this as a viable option. But the reality is that not everyone can or wants to live in a single dwelling home. Many people live very comfortably, raise families and grow old in dual occupancies, smaller homes, apartments, townhouses and units. Our city needs more of these types of housing options. I look forward to further debate on this issue and hope our community can find a way forward that will address these needs in the years to come.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (10.17): Madam Speaker, I too rise to speak on the report into variation 343. Firstly, I would like to thank the committee members and the secretary, Mr Hamish Finlay. I would also like to thank the other people in the committee office, the attendants and the Hansard department who helped facilitate the inquiry. I also want to extend my sincere thanks to the witnesses who came before the committee. For some of these people it was an extremely emotional event where once again they aired a very sad chapter in their lives.

The Canberra Liberals are very concerned with this variation. It is a variation which does not have a sound planning basis. It is simply an ad hoc cash grab by the government that will do a disservice to our community. Repeatedly I asked the planning minister what the planning rationale for the variation was. I asked:

How does it stack up to have two blocks next to each other with separate rules, even if they have the same attributes?

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