Eastern Broadacre planning project

The ACT Government has identified parts of the eastern side of the ACT, known as Eastern Broadacre, as a potential future employment, industrial and related uses corridor.

The Eastern Broadacre area extends from the Majura Valley to Hume and includes Symonston and the Jerrabomberra Valley.

The ACT Government is progressing plans to facilitate the release of land in Eastern Broadacre for employment generating development. These ‘employment lands’ are in line with the ACT Government priority of growing the economy.

A range of Commonwealth and ACT statutory processes will be required to rezone the land for employment and industrial uses.

The Eastern Broadacre Strategic Assessment is the next step in the process of identifying and releasing land while protecting the environment. Study area map

Background

The area was originally identified in The Canberra Spatial Plan (2004) as a future potential employment corridor, providing for the growth of industrial, broadacre commercial, tourism, recreation and transport related activities.

In 2010, the ACT Eastern Broadacre Economic and Strategic Planning Direction Study (also known as the Eastern Broadacre Planning Study) was completed. It informed a discussion paper and both documents were released for public consultation in the second half of 2010.

The ACT Planning Strategy (2012), which establishes how the Territory will develop into the future, maintains the Eastern Broadacre area for further investigations to determine its capability to provide industrial and other related uses in the future.

The study and discussion paper identified ten potential development areas for further investigations.

A number of studies informed the Eastern Broadacre Planning Study, including:

In response to the public comments and further consideration, the Pialligo and Mount Majura investigation areas were withdrawn and are not being progressed further under this study.

Current status

Environmental consulting company Umwelt (Australia) Pty Ltd has been appointed to prepare the strategic assessment documentation.

This documentation is currently being prepared.

What is a strategic assessment?

The Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) offers two pathways to achieve approvals under the EPBC Act. The first is known as a Project by Project (referral) assessment where each project is considered in isolation. The second pathway is the strategic assessment process that offers the opportunity to look at a series of proposals over a larger area, the benefits of which are explained below.

Ecology studies have identified that parts of Eastern Broadacre are home to both ACT and Commonwealth listed threatened species and habitats.  The EPBC Act lists these species as Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES). Actions that are likely to have a significant impact on MNES require approval under the EPBC Act.

Why strategic assessment?

A strategic assessment will allow the whole of the Eastern Broadacre area to be considered in one statutory process and through one document. The strategic assessment will assess the impacts of development on threatened species across the entire area, giving a more holistic picture. Where proposed development may impact on MNES, environmental offsets will be required; these can be addressed strategically across the whole region.  In other instances, development may avoid areas of MNES altogether.

How much will be developed?

The extent of the areas for development and conservation will be determined through this project.  Other uses and activities such as agriculture, rural tourism and recreation will also be considered in the preparation of the strategic assessment.

A further benefit of the strategic assessment approach is that it will contain information to address ACT statutory environmental requirements in the future.

What happens next?

There will be an opportunity for the public to comment on the draft strategic assessment in early 2018.

Following public consultation, a supplementary report will be prepared which will address any comments raised by the public.

It is expected that the strategic assessment will be finalised and submitted to the Australian Government Department of Environment and Energy for approval in late 2018.

Subsequent rezoning and amendments to the Territory plan may be required. These will go through a separate public consultation process at the appropriate time.

More information

If you are interested in this project, please email EPDEasternBroadacre@act.gov.au and we will send you further project updates.

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