- Will the Government be consulting further on the ACT Planning Strategy?
The ACT Planning Strategy 2018 is a 'refresh' of the 2012 Strategy, with many of the key policy directions remaining relevant and updated to take account of key trends and changes. In preparing the updated Strategy, a decision was made to take an innovative approach, with extensive community engagement activities shaping and informing the Strategy as it was developed, instead of occurring after preparation of the document. Consultation with the community greatly assisted in finalising the refreshed ACT Planning Strategy 2018 has now concluded.
- What does 'urban intensification' mean and where will this happen?
Urban intensification means concentrating development into particular areas of the city in order to provide urban lifestyles with close proximity to jobs and shops while effectively using current infrastructure and assets in that area. Urban intensification seeks to manage Canberra's growth and reduce the continued expansion of the city. Areas where urban intensification may occur include the city centre, town and group centres and major public transport corridors, being areas of high accessibility.
- Why isn't it sustainable for Canberra to keep growing in the way it has over recent decades?
Continued growth of the city puts pressure on the valued natural resources that surround the city such as our bushland and grasslands, landscape setting and ecosystems that support significant plants and animals. It creates demand for additional physical and social infrastructure such as roads, utilities and social services, increases our travel times and reduces our transport options.
If our current density continues unchanged, the 'urban footprint' or extent of the existing urban area would increase by about 48% by 2041. On the other hand, a compact and efficient city which makes the best use of existing land, infrastructure and assets provides for a more sustainable, accessible and liveable city.
- The Strategy outlines that up to 70 per cent of Canberra's future development will come from infill and only 30 per cent from greenfield development in the future – why is the Government moving away from the previous 50/50 target?
Since 2012, an average of 63% of all new housing has been achieved through infill development, telling us that the 50/50 infill/greenfield policy was effective and achievable. For example, over the past two years, infill development has accounted for over 70% of new houses in Canberra. Nevertheless, Canberra is still a low density city, and in order to manage growth, a higher rate of infill is necessary to reduce the extent of urban expansion in the future. A higher rate of infill also responds to new opportunities that have arisen such as the development of light rail, while helping to achieve the Government's climate change and transport objectives. Importantly, a higher rate of infill aligns with what the community told us was important - protecting the environment and landscape qualities of the city, and a preference for infill development over greenfield expansion, as long as it is done well.
- How will the Government continue to cater for a mix of housing choices including freestanding suburban homes, townhouses and apartments under this Strategy?
The Strategy is planning for increased housing choice across the city to meet the diverse needs of the community. Single dwellings will continue to be provided and will be an attractive choice for people, while townhouses and apartments in a variety of sizes will provide flexible homes for families, smaller households and downsizers.
- What steps are outlined in the Strategy to maintain and improve Canberra's 'bush capital' character?
The Strategy contains steps to maintain and improve Canberra's 'bush capital' character by supporting the implementation of a living infrastructure plan for the ACT. This plan will address green space, vegetation and waterbodies, and enhances our urban tree cover through future precinct, estate and district planning processes. The Strategy also includes measures to include consideration of natural habitat and conservation areas in urban planning and design.
- What does the ACT Planning Strategy Refresh mean for existing suburbs in RZ1 zones?
The ACT Planning Strategy 2018 recognises and values Canberra's existing suburban areas. The RZ1 zone comprises over 80% of all residential zoned areas in the ACT. A key strategic direction in the Strategy is planning for sustainable neighbourhoods in order to support the liveability qualities that Canberrans enjoy. Building on the Housing Choices project, the Strategy supports the importance of achieving balance in keeping the things we value while providing an increased housing diversity and more affordable housing options to support the changing needs of the community.
- Does this Strategy mean there will be a lot more development in [any specific existing suburb]?
The ACT Planning Strategy 2018 supports sustainable growth by working towards delivering up to 70% of new housing within our existing urban footprint. The existing urban footprint is the current extent of our city. The Strategy also proposes concentrating development in those areas located close to the city centre, town centres and group centres and along key public transport corridors. Development will need to be balanced against the need to protect the features of the city that people value – our bush capital setting, unique neighbourhoods, accessible green space and well-designed public areas.
- The Strategy says that because of our population growth Canberra will need 100,000 new homes by 2041 – how does the Government plan to deliver these?
The new homes will be delivered under the overall directions set by the ACT Planning Strategy 2018, and related strategies addressing transport, infrastructure, climate change and housing.
New housing will predominantly be provided through infill development (development within the existing urban footprint) and by continued greenfield development. This approach will provide Canberrans with variety of choice in where and how they live.
The Strategy requires a range of detailed planning, environmental, infrastructure and transport investigations and potential changes to the Territory Plan before any new areas are developed for housing. New housing may ultimately be delivered by either the ACT Government or the private sector.
- The Strategy identifies various transport corridors as urban intensification zones – what does this mean for future stages of Light Rail?
The ACT Planning Strategy 2018 continues a key direction of the 2012 Strategy to support urban intensification along major public transport routes, including rapid bus and light rail. Investigation of the opportunities for urban intensification along key public transport corridors will promote the sustainable growth of our city and improve the accessibility and viability of public transport. This may include future stages of the light rail network subject to further detailed investigation and planning.
- How is the Government continuing to plan for community facilities as the city grows?
The ACT Planning Strategy 2018 will support well-planned growth by making sure the necessary community facilities and open spaces are provided and are matched to the needs of the community. Continuous planning across Government to understand existing capacities and the impact of change and growth in areas of the city is occurring to make sure we can deliver the right community facilities in the right locations and respond to changing community needs.
- What is next?
Now that we have finalised the refresh of the ACT Planning Strategy it is set for implementation of its strategic directions and actions. The Strategy sets a strong foundation for the Territory Plan Review work to commence in 2019, for integration with other strategies across government and to provide a framework for future infrastructure planning. The Strategy's next review would need to be considered after five years, as set out in legislation.