Page 285 - Week 01 - Thursday, 15 February 2018

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MR RAMSAY: I will certainly do my best. The decision was rightly made by the event organiser, which is the Community Services Directorate.

Planning—housing choices

MR PARTON: My question is to the Minister for Planning and Land Management. Minister, in your discussion paper on housing choices, you said there has been an increased demand for alternative dwellings such as townhouses, units and apartments. In contrast, the Winton report said that only 4.6 per cent of Canberrans wanted apartment buildings of six storeys or more and 5.7 per cent supported apartments of between four and six storeys. As has been pointed out by former Chief Minister Mr Stanhope, more than 79 per cent of the survey wanted a lot fewer of these. Minister, why has your discussion paper failed to reflect what Canberrans really think about their residential structure preferences, as outlined in the Winton report?

MR GENTLEMAN: There are 410,000 people in the ACT, and we want them to have their say during consideration of the housing choices discussion paper—and it is a discussion paper that goes out to the community. We want to hear what they have to say. It is important that we give them some guidance on what we have heard in the past. As I said yesterday, during the statement of planning intent workshops all of the components of the workshops indicated they wanted to see denser living in the ACT. That is why we are doing the discussion paper, to actually hear what the people of the ACT have to say, not what a particular author has to say, or what a previous Chief Minister has to say. We want to hear what the community has to say, and that is why we are doing the discussion paper.

MR PARTON: Minister, why will you not reissue your discussion paper and give community stakeholders a balanced view, including what was clearly in that Winton report, of what Canberrans really want in the way of housing?

MR GENTLEMAN: It is not for us to provide a view to Canberrans. The housing choices paper discusses the opportunities for Canberra and what we have heard in the past and asks them to come to us with their ideas. That is the very point of it. We continue to go through that. We have a collaboration upcoming in Forde, and I will look forward to engaging with the Canberra community, as we did on Tuesday night. It was a fantastic experience at the Inner South Community Council listening to their views about how they would like to see housing choices in Canberra for the future.

MS LEE: Minister, what actions will you take to guarantee that your policies will not forcibly squeeze people into large, high-density residential developments against their preferences?

MR GENTLEMAN: We are hoping that the outcomes of the housing choices paper will indicate to the directorate and me the various opportunities and options for Canberrans. We do not want to force anybody into any sort of accommodation. There is plenty of choice out there at the moment. We want to increase choice for the Canberra community, and that is the particular reason we are going out with the

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