Minister’s Response: Gungahlin Bus Services and Public Transport:

On 22 August, 2017 the GCC wrote (via email) to the Minister for Transport highlighting our long-held concerns about the lag in the provision of bus services to new suburbs, particularly Jacka stage 1 and Moncrieff.

The GCC received a response to this email on 3 January 2018 (included below). Consistent with what Transport Canberra reported at the GCC meeting in November, 2017 this issue is not going to be addressed until the rollout of the new bus network introduction with the changes associated with Light Rail’s introduction. The response includes quote a bit of additional detail, including a summary of major road projects.

If you have any feedback on this update, please let us know.



Meegan Fitzharris MLA

Member for Yerrabi

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Minister for Transport and City Services Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research

Mr Andrew Braddock

Secretary, GCC


Dear Mr Braddock

Thank you for your email of 22 August 2017 regarding the provision of public transport to newly established suburbs in the Gungahlin area. Due to the complexity of the issues you have raised it took longer than anticipated to provide you with a response, please accept my sincere apologies for the delay,

Following the release of land and development of new suburbs, the ACT Government aims to introduce a public transport offering at the earliest possible time to provide public transport into these areas. The Government ensures that public transport infrastructure including an appropriate road network, bus stops and supporting infrastructure including footpaths, lighting and seating are included in the design and commissioning of new suburbs/regions.

In regards to introducing a service to a new area service planners must consider how resources are prioritised to meet demand across the city. This also means ensuring current services are not degraded (e.g. lengthened to increase travel times or reduced service frequency), in a way that makes them less attractive for current users.

Social inclusion and access is also very important and to help provide access to public transport services for vulnerable users the ACT Government also provides a Flexible Bus Service for eligible Canberra residents who are unable to walk to their nearest bus stop.

The public transport network in Canberra will be changing in 2018 with the introduction of more Rapid routes across the city and the introduction of a better seven-day network. I am pleased to advise the ACT Government will introduce eight new rapid routes a year earlier than originally committed, and we look forward to the benefits the Rapid Network will provide as part of an integrated transport network.

Transport Canberra is currently undertaking Community consultation on local and connecting services that will complement the Rapid Network. I understand that Transport Canberra officials have also recently provided a briefing to the Gungahlin Community Council.

Transport Canberra acknowledges there are key challenges in the Gungahlin area and feedback during the consultation period has highlighted the following issues for Consideration:

  • access to the Casey Local Centre – bus stops have been built at the local Centre and we want to ensure we introduce the right service into the area without disadvantaging current passengers;
  • access to John Paul College and the Grove in Ngunnawal (retirement community) along Gungahlin Drive, making it easier for school students to get to school and providing links between the Grove retirement community, local shops and the town Centre;
  • ensuring service for new suburbs (bus stops have been provisioned in new suburbs, including Moncrieff, Throsby and Taylor through the estate development plan);
  • improved public transport access for residents of Jacka; and
  • future proofing the design so that it can grow progressively into Taylor.

It is our intention with the introduction of the new Rapid Network in 2018 to improve the bus Services for all of Gungahlin, including Jacka Stage 1 and newer suburbs such as Moncrieff, whilst also being able to provide clear service intent for future growth areas including Taylor and Jacka Stage 2.

The new network will commence in 2018, with bus services running between Gungahlin and the City until the introduction of Light Rail Stage 1 services in late 2018.

The improvements to services in Gungahlin will be possible through the redesign of the complete bus network, ensuring that a greater range of services can be made with the available fleet as well as the ACT Government commitment to reinvest the over 1 million bus kilometres that will be made available through the introduction of Light Rail.

The ACT Government has also committed to construction of a new bus depot in Phillip and the purchase of 80 vehicles for the Transport Canberra fleet to grow public transport services across the city.

Phase Two of consultation will take place in early 2018 and Transport Canberra officials will present an indicative route structure and timetable to the Gungahlin Community Council, as well as a range of other information sessions in the local area.

The ACT Government is making significant investment into the Gungahlin area to Support the growth and expansion of the region, including:

  • Stage One Light Rail services between Gungahlin and the city;
  • Construction of a new bus station in Gungahlin Place and supporting infrastructure including traffic signals in the town centre (scheduled for completion in early 2018);
  • Gundaroo Drive Stage 1 duplication (Scheduled for completion in mid-2018);
  • Gundaroo Drive Stage 2 duplication (scheduled to commence in early 2018);
  • Horse Park Drive duplication (works underway);
  • Ernest Cavanagh Street Extension;
  • Construction of a new road south of the Valley Avenue; and
  • Hibberson Street shared zone (scheduled to commence in early 2018)

In October 2017, the Transport Canberra timetable update for the region included:

  • the introduction of the Black Rapid service, providing high frequency public transport connectivity between the Gungahlin and Belconnen Town Centres during the week and connections to the University of Canberra Public Hospital; and
  • the introduction of Red Rapid 200 services on weekends between Gungahlin and the City, doubling the frequency of previous weekend services along Flemington Road (Route 950) in order to meet increasing public transport demand along the corridor.

Thank you for raising these matters. I trust the information provided is of assistance.

Yours sincerely


Meegan Fitzharris MLA Minister for Transport and City Services


CC to:

MS Suzanne Orr MLA

Mr Michael Pettersson MLA

UPDATED: Air Towers Development Application

UPDATED 26/11/2017 – Responses to the Development Application must be lodged before 29 November 2017 (details below)

A Development Application (DA) has been lodged for two new apartment towers on the corner of Gundaroo Drive and Gozzard Street. If approved, these towers will stand up to 18 storeys or 58 metres tall. The Gungahlin Community Council has a number of serious concerns about the proposal including:

  • The height of 58 metres is more than double the 23 metres height limit specified in the planning rules, and does not align with community expectations for building heights in the Gungahlin Town Centre;
  • The fact that previous developments were able to exploit planning loopholes to obtain height exemptions does not justify the building of yet another high rise tower;
  • At 18 storeys, the towers will overshadow and overlook the YMCA, Yerrabi Ponds, and Lavender Lane Early Learning Centres; as well as nearby residential areas, removing winter sun and privacy;
  • The survey conducted by the proponents, referenced in the DA’s statement against criteria, was primary an online competition to name the development with a cash prize for the winner. Any data collected through this online competition regarding entrant/competitors views on the development are, at the very least, likely to be skewed towards support for the project. The GCC does not believe the proponent’s survey data accurately reflects the views of the Gungahlin community overall;
  • Following community concern about the exploitation of planning loopholes, the ACT Government initiated the Gungahlin Town Centre Planning Refresh to tighten the planning rules and address these loopholes. The preliminary findings of the Refresh, presented at the GCC public meeting on September 13, 2017 identified community support for “building heights up to 10 storeys for newly released blocks (Gungahlin East) [and] lower building heights in the retail core and at the edges of the town centre”. The Air Towers DA is not consistent with these findings;
  • The GCC’s Have Your Say survey conducted in 2014 showed a strong preference (80% of respondents) for buildings in the town centre of 10 stories or less;
  • The impact to traffic in the surrounding areas arising from an additional 296 apartments;
  • The GCC acknowledges the DA proponents have made substantial changes to the proposal originally presented to the GCC in November, 2016, eg. From 26/26/8 stories to 18/12/8 stories, but the development remains an extremely large development and it is adjacent on three sides to one and two storey developments, much of which is residential. The only development larger than this on the precinct is Infinity Towers which does not have the same neighbour issues;
  • The proponents argue that the development “steps down” to neighbour properties on the site, but this ignores the overall scale of the development within the precinct, and the very high frontage presented to the YMCA site, and to the precinct’s view from the West. Other developments in the precinct have “stepped down” from the high point established by Infinity Towers, towards the residential areas – the proposed development is clearly inconsistent with this approach in the context of the other proposed and existing developments, ie. Looking from Yerrabi Pond towards the east, the height in stories of the developments are (from right to left) 20, 22, 16 (Infinity), 14, 7 (Lumi), 1, (YMCA), and then 18/12/8 (Air Towers). This shows how inappropriate the proposed development is for this location (noting that this is not to scale horizontally);
  • The continued development of an excessive number of apartments. What Gungahlin requires is more office space so that Gungahlin residents do not need to commute out of Gungahlin every day to work.
  • A lack of consideration about infrastructure to support the increasing number of residents in this section of Gungahlin. For example schools, green spaces, pedestrian access etc.

We are encouraging Gungahlin residents to make sure your views on the development are heard. You can do this very quickly on-line by clicking on this link (or entering it into your browser): .

You can copy and paste the arguments above or add your own views if you wish. You will just need the following information to fill out the form:

  • Development Application: 201732666
  • Suburb: Gungahlin
  • Block: 4
  • Section: 224

Further details on the proposed development can be found here.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Gungahlin Community Council via Facebook, our webpage or email

Public Transport for New Gungahlin Suburbs

Public Transport for New Gungahlin Suburbs

Email from GCC to Yerrabi MLA’s 22 August, 2017

On behalf of the GCC Executive Committee, I am writing concerning the provision of public transport to newly established suburbs in the Gungahlin area.
When the question was put to Transport Canberra at the GCC public meeting on 14 June 2017 about the provision of bus services to new suburbs currently under construction (Moncrief, Taylor and Throsby), the response indicated that this issue would not be addressed until network changes surrounding Light Rail becoming operational. Whilst the GCC appreciates:

  • the current fleet is at capacity and that this issue will not be remediated until Light Rail becomes operational; and
  • the economic drivers to defer the provision of a bus until such a point as sufficient demand is demonstrated so as to reduce the economic subsidy for the route.

The GCC is of the view that this approach is unsatisfactory given it:

  • Fails to address the social inclusion and access needs of residents of these new suburbs, one of the objectives of the Transport for Canberra Policy 2012.
  • Suppresses demand for public transport below what would exist under a supply-driven model.
  • Encourages the purchase of cars when residents move into these unserviced areas, locking in private vehicle commuting behaviour for an extended period of time.

The GCC highlights Jacka Stage 1 as a case study of unsatisfactory public transport service in terms of coverage as well as elapsed time since residents moved in. Released in 2013, Jacka Stage 1 as at the 2016 census consists of 670 people in 249 dwellings. The geographic centre of Jacka stage 1 is approximately 1 km walking distance to the nearest bus stops (Katharine Avenue Amaroo shops for 59 and 259 routes, Mobourne and Mallet St stop for 55 and 255 routes).

A similar service level to suburbs currently under construction, is not in residents’, the GCC’s, or we believe the Government’s, interests.

The GCC would appreciate your consideration of the issue and response in due course. If you require any further detail please do not hesitate to contact me via the details below.

National Trust Open Day at Gungahlin Homestead

National Trust Open Day at Gungahlin Homestead

A rare opportunity to visit Gungahlin Homestead, a 19th Century grand English style residence in Canberra. There will be tours of the building, refreshments and a range of activities for young and old. Soldier On, the current tenants of the Homestead are our co-hosts for this event.
Learn about this former pastoral property dating from the 19th century well before Canberra was established. The complex includes the Homestead, a carriage loop, outbuildings and remnants of a Victorian garden. The Homestead was built in two major stages – a rendered brick Georgian house built in 1862-65 and the grand sandstone Victorian addition of 1883 by Edward Crace.

You can also learn about recent times at Gungahlin Homestead which has been used as a scientific wildlife research station by CSIRO and is now home for Soldier On, our partner for this Open Day. Soldier On supports those who have served by focusing on their physical and mental health, their community and their future.

There will be tours of the building, entertainment, refreshments, classic cars and stalls – some demonstrating crafts such as lace making and woodcraft.

Planning in the Pub

Planning in the Pub

Meet Minister Mick Gentleman MLA and Minister Meegan Fitzharris MLA on Tuesday 11 April to talk about the future of Gungahlin including building height and character, public spaces, walking, cycling and road transport.

TIME: 5.30PM TO 7.00PM



Zed Seselja Update on Government Agency Move

This is the statement provided by Senator Zed Seselja on 6th March and read out at the GCC public meeting on 8th March, 2017

Dear Members of the Gungahlin Community Council,

I am sorry I am unable to be there with you this evening, but I would like to take this brief opportunity to update you on my election commitment to see a Commonwealth Public Service Department or Agency move their offices to Gungahlin to help boost the local economy.

Last week I met with the office of Minister for Finance and officials from the Department of Finance who are responsible for managing Commonwealth office spaces. They briefed me on the process they are undertaking to make this move happen and updated me on their progress.

The first stage of the process involves auditing all the current departments and agencies to assess which are the most appropriate to be moved based on several factors including number of employees, office space requirements, and current leasing arrangements. The other aspect of this first stage is to identify potential sites in the Gungahlin town centre for a new office space to be constructed to accommodate the selected agency.

The Department of Finance officials informed me that they are nearing completion of this first stage, having narrowed down the number of potential agencies to be moved and identified several potential sites in Gungahlin for the new offices.

While for probity reasons I am unable to provide more detail at present, I understand this first stage should reach completion in the coming months. The Department of Finance informed me that they anticipate formal negotiations with the chosen agency will begin by mid-year, at which point I expect to be able to provide more concrete detail.

I am proud to have secured an election commitment from the Government to move a public service workforce to Gungahlin for the first time to grow the town centre and boost the local economy. I will continue to work hard to see this election promise fulfilled.

Yours sincerely,


Senator the Hon. Zed Seselja
Liberal Senator for the ACT
Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs

Neighbourhood Information Sessions

Neighbourhood Information Sessions
[ Information provided by Elton Consulting ]
You may be aware that a new mixed-use development proposal for the Gungahlin Town Centre has been announced.
Located on the corner of Gungahlin Drive and Gozzard Street with a northerly aspect over Yerrabi Ponds, this landmark development will be a new and exciting destination in Gungahlin.

Key features
– Proposal by Empire Global – a local Gungahlin based developer
– Architect designed, two 26-storey buildings and one 8-storey building
– Public podium on the 26th floor, accessed by a glass elevator, with two restaurants, a function centre and public sky park
– 1,500m2 floor area for commercial tenancies on the ground floor
– A landscaped accessible public realm including retail, cafes and office space
– Around 300 apartments with a mix of studios, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments.

Getting Development Right for the Town Centre – The Gungahlin Residential Towers Story

Getting Development Right for the Town Centre – The Gungahlin Residential Towers Story

Short summary:

• Many residential skyscrapers are being constructed or proposed in Gungahlin
• Planning rules are being circumvented
• The Gungahlin Town Centre is at risk of becoming a uncoordinated collection of individual projects without any cohesion

Most Gungahlin residents know about Infinity Towers because they have seen the construction underway at the corner of Gundaroo Drive and Anthony Rolfe Avenue. Many residents will also know that the first two of the three towers that make up the development, at 21 and 20 storeys, will be the tallest buildings in Gungahlin and some of the tallest constructions in Canberra. But …

Infinity Towers is not the only residential tower project approved, proposed or under construction in Gungahlin. In fact, an entire area planned for offices is likely to be transformed into a mass of high rise apartments.

The background to how Infinity Towers was approved is becoming increasingly important because it appears to be setting a precedent for further residential towers in this high visibility area of the Gungahlin Town Centre.

Infinity Towers is located on Blocks 2-4 Section 209 Gungahlin. The ACT territory plan indicates that this block is zoned “CZ2-Business”, for which the purpose is (in part) to:

a) Provide for office and business sites that are accessible to public transport and convenience retailing and and services
b) Provide a diverse range of accommodation sizes and locations for offices close to the retail core

ACT Territory Plan ( accessed 19th November, 2016)

There is no mention of residential accommodation in the CZ2 Zone Objectives.

This site is also located within the Gungahlin Town Centre as defined by the Gungahlin Precinct Code, a document which “provides additional planning, design and environmental controls for specific areas or blocks”, such as building forms, uses, heights, and much more. More specifically, the entire area bounded by Gundaroo Drive, Anthony Rolfe Avenue and Gribble Street, is defined as “Precinct 2b – Office Park”.

Precinct areas within the Gungahlin Town Centre (Figure 12, Gungahlin Precinct Plan)

The key elements of the Office Park specified in the precinct code are limits on usage and height, ie.

 Element 17: Use
A minimum of one (1) of the following uses is provided at the ground floor level abutting the street or main building entry for buildings of 2,000 (aq m) or greater:
a) Business agency
b) Drink establishment
c) Health facility
d) Public agency
e) Restaurant
Buildings abutting the street or main building entry incorporate uses that generate activity at the ground level in the public space.400


 Element 18: Height
Maximum height of buildings is 23 metres above the datum ground level.For leases granted before 30 November 2010, this provision will not apply until five (5) years from that date, being 30 November 2015.
Maximum height of buildings comply with all of the following:
a) are compatible with adjacent development
b) are appropriate to scale and function of use
c) minimise detrimental impacts, including
overshadowing and excessive scale
d) contribute to the desired planning outcomes

NOTE: A building floor is typically 2.7-2.8m high, so 23m is about 8 floors.

The company that acquired this site, Geocon, originally proposed, and had plans approved for, an office park which were presented to the GCC at a public meeting and were approved in July, 2012. However, they were unable to secure a tenant for the proposed offices, and in 2015 presented an alternative proposal for a series of residential towers, which later became refined into Infinity Towers. These were approved through the normal development application (DA) process in November, 2015 somewhat to the GCC’s concern. There were effectively no height restrictions on this development because of the exemption in Rule R45, but certainly the lease use had to be changed to include residential. Concerns raised at the time included the impact on traffic, and whether sufficient allowance had been made for parking.

Geocon proposal for Business Park (from slides presented to GCC).

Subsequent to the approval of Infinity Towers, several other proposals and development applications have been received for other blocks within the “office park”. These are summarised below based on artists impressions of the developments (more details in the table at the end of the article):

Clearly this will not create an office park. The development applications for the additional towers that have followed Infinity Towers, are not addressing the “rule” of the Precinct’s Code’s Element 18 (max height 23m), they are instead arguing that additional towers meet the “criteria” (eg. “compatible with adjacent development”, “appropriate to scale and function”). If this trend is allowed to continue, over 1,000 units with as many as 2,500 residents and 1,600 cars could be located in this area.

The issues are that:

  1. 1. This trend makes a mockery of the precinct code. Either the rules need to be followed, or the precinct code needs to be amended with strong community input immediately. In particular, care needs to be taken to transition the larger buildings into both the existing housing, and into the landform.
  2. Each development undertakes their own analysis on traffic impact and solar over-shadowing, which are evaluated on a development by development basis. This ignores the aggregate impact on traffic and overshadowing of all the developments which is likely to be very significant. The developments must be assessed as a complete precinct.
  3. 2. Because this was never intended to be a residential area, there has been no provision for open space to accommodate this density of residents. This is in part mitigated by the adjacent Yerrabi Park, but pedestrian and cycle access to this area is very poor and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, perhaps as part of the duplication of the remainder of Gundaroo Drive between Mirrabei Drive and Horse Park Drive. Minimally, an underpass or overpass to get across Gundaroo Drive is required, but the overall permeability of the location needs to also be considered.
  4. 3. Each development makes a point of highlighting their nearness to the Light Rail station, but thepedestrian and cycle access to the town centre needs to be much better planned in conjunction with the other developments in the main part of the town centre including the Light Rail, bus interchange and other commercial and residential projects.
  5. 4. Much has changed and continues to change in the Gungahlin Town Centre but there is no overall town centre plan or strategy. The GCC is seeking an immediate response from the ACT Government regarding a more cohesive approach to the development of the Gungahlin Town Centre.
  6. 5. In the GCC’s 2014 Have Your Say survey, in response to the question “What should be the maximum height of buildings in the Gungahlin Town Centre?”, more than 80% of residents indicated it should be 10 stories or less (1-4 stories 42.5%, 5-10 stories 38.1%).

Further Details

 Project Storeys StatusUnits Car Parks  MediaGCC Presentation 
 Infinity Towers (Geocon) 21, 20, (14)*
 Jan 1, 2016Original Office Block
Residential Tower
 Mezzo (POD Projects) 12, 7
 126Sep 16, 2015
April 8, 2016
 POD Projects 18, 14
 181 300POD Proposal
 Lumi (KDN) 14, 7 Proposed 145 204 Oct 12, 2016 Lumi Proposal
 TBD (Empire Global) 26, 26, 8Proposed ~300 600 Nov 10, 2016 Empire Proposal

*Infinity Tower’s third tower is approved, but not yet under construction; Data collected from public sources accessible on the Internet.

ACT Election 2016 Meet the Candidates Forum

ACT Election 2016 Meet the Candidates Forum

The Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) has organised an ACT Election 2016 Meet the Candidates Forum to be held in place of the normal GCC public meeting on the evening of Wednesday 14th September, 6:30-8:30pm

We have invited all candidates that have announced they are seeking election in the seat of Yerrabi (which includes all of Gungahlin and few suburbs in Belconnen).

IMPORTANT!! The event will be held at

St John Paul II College Theatre
1021 Gungahlin Dr, Nicholls (see detailed parking map below) – (NOT the Gungahlin Library)

Each candidate will be given an opportunity to speak (briefly), to be followed by questions from the host of the event (the GCC), and then questions from the audience will be taken. We ask that questions be kept to under 60 seconds, and that they be directed to specific candidates and or parties. Each question will only be answered once. Questioners will also be given the option of asking for a show of hands from the candidates indicating their support for a particular position. If you wish to send in a question for the host to consider, please email it to

We are planning to live stream the event through MyGungahlin’s FaceBook page.

Look forward to seeing you on 14th!

Peter Elford
President, GCC

St John Paul II College Campus and Recommended Parking

Drive in along the red path (keep to the LEFT of the sign saying “Performing Arts Centre”), and park around the back. Walk along the yellow path to the side of the road and into the Performing Arts Centre Theatre.

Tour de Gungahlin

Tour de Gungahlin

Gunsmoke 141 introduced the “Tour de Gungahlin”, a series of articles highlighting the great opportunities to get out and about on a bicycle in Gungahlin. This page provides online links to much more detailed maps than those provided with the ride descriptions in Gunsmoke.

Ride Description
(click for Gunsmoke article)
Yerrabi Pond, Forde
Gungahlin Pond, Ngunnawal, Casey
Mulligans Flat
Crace, Palmerston
Franklin, Harrison
Centenary Trail