UPDATED 6/5/2021 – Letter to Minister Berry
UPDATED 8/5/2021 – Petition, Meetings with SLA and Minister for Housing and Urban Development
UPDATE 13/6/2021 – Statement from Minister Gentleman, Minister’s response
The GCC has written to the Minister for Planning, Minister for Housing and Urban Development and the CEO of the Suburban Land Agency (SLA) calling for the sale of further land within the Gungahlin Town Centre to be suspended until:
- all the recommendations of the Gungahlin Town Centre Planning Refresh Community Engagement Report are addressed,
- Draft Variation 364 has been reviewed by the Standing Committee on Planning, and
- the ACT assembly motion on the Gungahlin Town Centre has been actioned.
On 23 March 2021, the GCC invited the Minister for Planning to attend our 14 April public meeting to address a number of planning concerns. The Minister was unable to attend and was represented by senior staff from EPSDD including the Chief Planner, Ben Ponton, Leslie Cameron and Bruce Fitzgerald. Unfortunately, the meeting did not provide the answers we were seeking, and in fact raised more concerns about whether the current planning system will deliver a viable town centre for Gungahlin.
We are therefore asking the Suburban Land Agency and the Minister for Planning to suspend the proposed auction of four mixed use sites scheduled for 12 May 2021, and the sale/auction of any other sites in the town centre, until the open issues noted above are resolved.
On 4 May 2021 the GCC launched an ACT Assembly petition sponsored by Yerrabi MLA Andrew Braddock, to formalise the GCC’s call to action regarding the development of the town centre.
If you have lost confidence in the ACT Government planning system to deliver employment, retail, entertainment and community services for the Gungahlin Town Centre PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION.
Members of the GCC executive met with John Dietz, CEO SLA and other SLA executives on 5 May 2021 to share, on behalf of Gungahlin residents, our frustrations regarding the development of the Gungahlin Town Centre. Importantly, John indicated that our concerns had been heard. He and his team provided useful background and insights regarding the development of the town centre, and the role the SLA might play in improving the processes that are within their control that impact town centre development.
The GCC received a written response from John Dietz the next day (6 May 2021) in which he stated:
- the SLA remains committed to the sale of these sites inaccordance with the ILRP [Indicative Land Use Release Program]
- I offer the opportunity to work with the GCC on the place making of future land releases in the GTC [Gungahlin Town Centre]. This would include engagement on how the sale of these blocks are brought to the market, the provision of open space and interface with the linear park and future public realm.
A further meeting was help with the Minister for Urban Planning (Yvette Berry) and John Dietz on Friday 7 May 2021 where we were able to brief the minister directly on some of the history that has led to the GCC taking the action we have. Most of the issues raised relate to issues with the Minister for Planning’s portfolio and the Environment Palnning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD), but the GCC was keen to stress we are seeking a whole-of-government change of approach – as the current systems and processes were not meeting the expectations of Gungahlin residents. The Minister reaffirmed the government’s intention to proceed with the sales of the 4 blocks scheduled for 12 May 2021.
On 11 May the Minister for Planning, Mick Gentleman, delivered a Ministerial Statement on Planning in the Gungahlin Town Centre. The GCC was looking for a new approach from the government to address the issues we’ve raise but this response (if it is a response) indicates the Minister for Planning believes everything is fine. Even the chief planner acknowledges the planning system is broken … and it’s being demonstrated in the Gungahlin town centre. The statement makes numerous assertions that are untrue (it was the GCC that initiated the town centre planning refresh – not the government) and is completely underwhelming in it’s committment to actioning Suzanne Orr’s motion (response “before the lasr sitting day of this year – 2 December).
The GCC received a response from the Minister for Planning to our letters of 23 March and 27 April on 6 June. The letter states that the Standing Committee’s review into DV364 may take 6 months. There was no acknowledgement of the community concerns or a sense of urgency to address them.