Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 May 2017) . . Page.. 1439 ..
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (12.12): Madam Speaker, the Greens’ vision for Canberra is that it will be a sustainable city in which urban design, construction, land management and development will be guided by long-term sustainability principles which include environmental, social and financial. Socially this implies good community consultation, affordable housing and good governance of the territory.
The Greens welcome the ACT government’s decision to split the Land Development Agency, the LDA, into the City Renewal Authority, the CRA, and the Suburban Land Agency, the SLA, through this bill. The Greens hope that this legislation will enable each authority to focus on the very different role of suburban development, compared to infill development in the city and the light rail corridor. It does, however, leave open the question as to where other urban renewal precincts, such as the Kingston arts precinct, fit within these two structures—or somewhere else—so I echo some of the concerns of Mr Coe about this structural lack of clarity, at least.
Last year, as I doorknocked in Murrumbidgee, I found there was huge discontent about how Canberra was being developed and the role of the LDA in this. If someone said to me, “I don’t have any issues with this election,” I could just say to them, “What about developers?” or “What about the LDA?” Almost always they would open up about what they saw was an overreach of power and disrespect to the ACT community.
Despite these issues, the Greens strongly believe that government land organisations have a key role to play in urban development. They can address market failure by providing leading edge developments that showcase housing affordability, energy efficiency and design excellence.
In the past, in Canberra, they have done that. The planning and design of Kingston foreshore and Gungahlin town centre were innovative at the time they commenced, in the 1990s. They brought in, well ahead of most other parts of Australia, street-focused, walkable medium-rise development. But, since then, best practice has moved on. For example, across Europe, government developers are delivering high quality, attractive new developments that are profitable while being environmentally sustainable and innovative and delivering substantial supplies of affordable housing.
Unfortunately, the LDA has not kept up. The best projects that the community always talks about here in Canberra, New Acton and Crace, were not LDA led projects. There needs to be a step change in quality. With the right government development agencies in place, the right expertise and incentives, the Greens think that Canberra can and should lead the world in quality of development.
Looking at it more negatively, poor planning and development carry serious risks, as they can lock in decades of energy inefficiency through poorly designed buildings; they can expose us to avoidable health and environmental damage from streetscapes that have not been designed to accommodate extreme temperatures and that contribute to urban heat islands; they can aggravate the housing affordability crisis by increasing