Page 3636 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015

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I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank members for granting leave. Today I would like to table a variation which introduces a structure plan and concept plan to the territory plan, together with zone changes to facilitate future development.

As members of this Assembly will be aware, west Belconnen is located to the west of the existing suburbs of Holt and Macgregor and will serve as an extension of and support to Belconnen.

This area was clearly identified in the 2012 ACT planning strategy as a future urban investigation area. The ACT planning strategy provides the long-term planning policy and goals to promote orderly and sustainable development, consistent with the social, environmental and economic aspirations of ACT residents.

To this extent, over the past few years, the proponent on behalf of the government has undertaken a significant number of investigations to demonstrate that the west Belconnen area is suitable for future residential development and to provide the documented evidence to support the draft variation.

Ultimately, these investigations and their thoroughness have also informed my decision on the variation for this important development for Canberra that will provide approximately 6,500 dwellings over the long term.

West Belconnen is part of a unique cross-border development opportunity that, subject to future approvals by the New South Wales government and Yass Valley Council, could provide a further 5,000 dwellings for our region.

The ACT government has an urban renewal strategy to create a more compact, efficient and sustainable city by focusing on urban revitalisation and intensification in town centres, around group centres and along major public transport routes. It is still important to provide greenfield land for development. This is to provide for housing choice, location choice and also affordable housing.

As the Assembly is aware, for urban development to be realised in west Belconnen, an amendment to the national capital plan and a variation to the territory plan are required.

Variation 351 rezones the land for urban development including for residential, commercial and community uses. The variation also adjusts the Murrumbidgee River corridor boundary to reflect recent environmental surveys to protect pink-tailed worm-lizard habitat and box gum woodland and introduces a nature reserve overlay within the Murrumbidgee corridor.

The draft variation and draft amendment to the national capital plan No 85 were concurrently released for public consultation over a six-week period between May and July this year.

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