How? The ACT Government commenced the ACT Planning System Review and Reform Project in March 2019. It issued a draft Planning Bill for public consultation between 15 March and 15 June 2022. Following this, the Planning Bill 2022 was presented to the Assembly on 21 September 2022. It was immediately referred to the Standing Committee on Planning, Transport and City Services which reported on 22 December 2022, making 49 recommendations for change. These are very interesting and can be found at https://www.parliament.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/2156792/PTCS-Report-12-Inquiry-into-Planning-Bill-2022-Final-Report-SIGNED.pdf. The Bill will replace the existing 2007 Act and be the first of three planning reforms to arise from the Review, along the introduction of District Strategies and a new Territory Plan.
What’s the problem? The RRA has major concerns about the draft Plan and proposed new system. These include the:
- replacement of rules and criteria with an ‘outcomes’ based regime where power is concentrated and appeal rights curtailed.
- redefining of parts of Reid as ‘city’ which carries with it reduced protection from development and noise. We fear this is a strategy not an error.
- proposed ‘future investigation areas’ which include all residential leaseholds between Amaroo and Booroondara Streets, and the Argyle Square and Monterey residential developments. What does this mean for the future of our green suburb?
- likely development of the Civic Pool complex because it is not listed as an amenity.
What can I do about it? The draft District Strategies and draft Territory Plan are open for consultation until 3 March 2023. The Government wants to hear from you, either in writing at https://Yoursayconversations.act.gov.au/act-planning-review or in person at one of their Pop-Up Consultations. These are being held on:
- Monday 6 February, 10 am–2 pm in Dickson (courtyard near Woolworths)
- Tuesday 7 February, 10 am–2 pm at Canberra House (40 Marcus Clarke Street)
- Friday 10 February, 10 am–4 pm Northside Listening Space, CMAG
- Saturday 11 February, 12 pm–4 pm Northside Listening Space, CMAG
- Saturday 18 February, 11 am–3 pm Canberra Centre.
Will my efforts make a difference? The RRA works to preserve the ‘Garden City’ planning design of Reid—for heritage reasons and because these design principles contribute to our quality of life. It’s often challenging. We hope that you get involved in this process because it has the potential to impact our suburb greatly. Bordering on the city, we need to be vigilant if we want to protect the heritage of our suburb and its values for modern Canberra. And your voice should be heard.