GCC Submissions Re ACT Planning Bill 2022

GCC Submissions Re ACT Planning Bill 2022

Background

The ACT Planning System Review and Reform Project was initiated in 2019 and has been through a number of phases:

  • A set of Policy Direction Papers were published in November 2020. There was no opportunity for consultation or feedback on these papers.
  • A range of (lightweight) consultations were underatken during 2021 resulting in a Listening Report published in December 2021. You may have attended the 2 hour evening session on District Planning or perhaps provided some input via the Have Your Say website.
  • A draft of the Planning Bill 2022 was published in mid-2022 – this Bill is the legislation needed to implement the proposed changes. The GCC made a submission to the consultation on the draft Bill.
  • A Inquiry into the Planning Bill 2022 was undertaken by the ACT Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning, Transport and City Services starting 21 September 2022. The GCC provided an updated submission (copy below) and appeared at a committee hearing. The Committee’s report was published on 22 December 2022 and included 49 recommedations, and two dissenting reports; the ACT government must respond to this report by 22 April 2023.
  • There is ongoing consultation underway on District Strategies and the new Territory Plan

GCC Submission to the Inquiry into the Planning Bill 2022

The Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) agrees that ACT Planning System needs reform.

For over five years (starting in December 2016) the GCC has advocated for changes to the ACT Planning System to ensure that the Gungahlin Town Centre meets the expectations of Gungahlin residents. We have learned through this process that:

  • Community-initiated changes to the existing Planning System are extremely difficult, and easily “hijacked” and diluted.
  • The rule-based, block-by-block mechanisms of the current Planning System cannot be trusted to “do the right thing” as they do not deliver the intended outcomes (particularly in a Town Centre). This is further exacerbated by a lack of enforcement when the rules are applied in the real (commercial) world.
  • For planning to be effective it needs to be backed by coordinated investments and incentives.

The GCC had hoped the Reformed Planning System would identify, enshrine, and defend the needs and interests of the community against the expertise, resources, and commercial intent of the development industry, and (potential) short-term decision making and lack of investment by government.

More importantly, we hoped the process of reform would restore trust in the Planning System. To do this we expected the reform would be collaborative, allowing the community to understand and be part of the change, rather than being a victim of it – “Building trust in the Planning system should be a priority”. Unfortunately, despite a promising start (the Community Engagement Workshops in May 2019), this is not how the reform has unfolded to date, with most “consultation” taking the form of slideshow presentations followed by a short Q&A at a small number of sessions where no pre-reading was provided, or preparation required.

The consultation undertaken on the new Planning Bill itself is consistent with our concerns. An Overview document, a series of Fact Sheets and many hundreds of pages of draft legislation were provided for community consideration. A very high level of assumed knowledge was required to be able to consider the material provided and it was clear that any stakeholder that might wish to respond to the consultation would need a strong background and/or expertise in ACT legislation and planning to do so.

The Planning Bill is almost impossible for the average citizen to comprehend, and no serious attempt has been made by the Directorate to make it “relevant” to Canberra residents. The Planning Bill was presented without the new Territory Plan or District Strategies which might have made it clear “what goes where” and “how things will work”. It may also have helped if “Further detail on the proposed approach to detailed structure and content will be provided during the public consultation period” (from Planning Bill Policy Overview) had been actioned; unfortunately, this detail has not been forthcoming. Even now that the draft Territory Plan and District Strategies have been provided it’s unclear what’s changed and how.

The GCC lacks the legislative and planning expertise that many of the other Community Councils have access too, and consequently our feedback and recommendations are very high level. We encourage the inquiry to place significant weight on the feedback from all Community Councils, all of whom place the interests of the residents of Canberra first.

Specifically:

  1. The GCC does not support the removal of Pre-DA consultation – If the Planning Directorate is of the view that Pre-DA Consultation is ineffective it needs to be fixed. Pre-DA consultation has proven to lead to better outcomes in several instances in Gungahlin and is consistent with the goal of ensuring that engagement is early and informed.
  2. The GCC does not support the notion that the Principles of Good Consultation are at the whim of the Minister – These principles should have be a mandatory part of the act and genuinely co-developed with the community and industry (not proposed for comment). The principles have been included in the Bill, but do not encompass the output of the workshop conducted at the Environment and Planning Forum (EPF) for expressly this purpose (see Appendix A)
  3. The GCC does not support the suggestion that the Planning compliance and enforcement powers are fit for purpose and comprehensive – In the past decade there have been several compliance issues in Gungahlin and there is widespread community perception that there is little enforcement and what there is has little impact or consequence on the infringing proponents

The GCC recommends that the ACT Government:

  • Fund an independent review of the proposed Planning Bill by an external (non-ACT government) legal counsel to validate the objectives of the Bill are correctly and validly drafted.
  • To build trust in the Reform process going forward, establish a substantive panel of relevant community and industry stakeholders that are given the necessary training to interpret the Planning Bill (and the Reform more broadly), and to genuinely contribute to the co-development of the new Territory Plan and District Strategies.
  • To build trust in the District Strategies, fund a representative group for each District group/forum to inform and oversee the ongoing development and implementation of the District Strategies. Such a group might include relevant MLA’s, representatives from different community sectors (eg. Business, Sporting, Aged, Youth) and community representatives, perhaps chosen by ballot from interested volunteer candidates.
  • Provide specific examples of how “outcomes based” works when compared to the current Planning System.
  • Work with the Gungahlin community to explore how the recommendations from the consultancy on mixed-use planning might be implemented in the new Territory Plan and/or Gungahlin District Strategy.
  • Identify how the recommendations of the four consultancies commissioned in support of the Reform have been actioned.

Appendix A

WHAT THEY SAID

Principles of Good Consultation

After solo and pair work to share what good consultation looks like, EPF members compared their thoughts with the proposed eight principles for good consultation (EPSDD Fact Sheet). The following themes emerged:

  • Need for government to listen to community
  • Discussion must be well informed (for both the community and the government)
  • Engagement must be early in the process
  • Community views must be taken into account (and project not just rubber stamped that consultation has been done)
  • Good consultation means the government goes to the people affected rather than people having to seek out the engagement

Extract from:

“20220331 – Environment and Planning Forum – contributions by Members – Principles of Good Consultation”

Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Projects in the ACT

Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Projects in the ACT

The ACT Government is inviting all recognised ACT peak sporting and active recreation bodies, ACT district community councils and ACT Licensed Clubs to contribute to the establishment of a register of potential sport and recreation infrastructure projects in the ACT.

As an eligible organisation, you can submit up to fifteen (15) priority sport and active recreation infrastructure projects using the survey link provided below. The survey is now open and will close on Friday 28 April 2023.

Once completed, this register will assist the ACT Government to consider a list of priority sport and active recreation infrastructure projects for inclusion in an ACT Government sport and active recreation infrastructure plan to guide potential development in the short to medium term (next 10 years, through to 2032). Given the important role this plan will play in future infrastructure provision, it is critical your organisation provides its priority projects via this survey.

It should be noted that any priority projects included in the proposed ACT Government sport and recreation active infrastructure plan will still need to be considered in the future by the ACT Government as part of an annual Budget process or via a funding application, and in light of circumstances at the time. Therefore government support for the project is not guaranteed and should not be presumed.

The following business rules will assist eligible organisations to complete this survey.

  • All potential sport and active recreation infrastructure projects to be included as part of the survey must be located within the ACT.
  • Where an organisation wishes to identify more than one project, the projects must be entered in priority order(i.e. the first project entered will represent the highest priority project for the organisation).  There is not capacity for projects to be considered as an equal priority (i.e. an organisation can’t submit two projects and detail that both are considered to be a number one (1) priority.
  • Only ACT Peak Sporting or Active Recreation organisations (or equivalents), ACT District Community Councils and ACT Licensed Clubs are eligible to complete this survey.  As a result, peak body organisations (e.g. state sporting organisations) are required to include any relevant projects that may relate to their respective affiliated clubs/organisations. It will be the responsibility of the applicable peak body organisation to undertake any necessary consultation with the affiliated clubs/organisations to complete this survey.
  • Examples of a peak body organisation include – Capital Football or Gymnastics ACT
  • Professional sporting teams that are not part of an ACT peak sporting body (e.g. Canberra Cavalry) need to work through the relevant peak body organisation to include any relevant projects (e.g. Baseball ACT).
  • Commercial or for-profit organisations are not eligible to complete this survey.

Please note the survey is being conducted using Smartygrants which requires all users to be registered with the platform. If your organisation isn’t registered with Smartygrants, you will be asked to do so before you can complete the survey.

To commence the survey, please click here https://actsportandrec.smartygrants.com.au/act-infrastructure-survey.

If you require any further information, please contact Simon Dolejsi (simon.dolejsi@act.gov.au) for assistance.

GCC Public Meeting 8 February 2023

GCC Public Meeting 8 February 2023

The next public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held on Wednesday 8 February 2023 starting at 6:30pm. We will be meeting in-person at the Eastlake Gungahlin Club.

As usual the meeting will be live streamed on Facebook via the GCC Facebook page.

Agend

GCC Public Meeting 14 December 2022

The next public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held on Wednesday 14 December 2022 starting at 6:30pm. We will be meeting in-person at the Eastlake Gungahlin Club.

As usual the meeting will be live streamed on Facebook via the GCC Facebook page.

Agend

  • GCC Update, GCC
  • Gungahlin Marketplace Development Update, Phil Knapstadt, Vinta Group
  • Gungahlin Town Centre East Placemaking, SLA
  • Draft Gungahlin District Strategy, GCC

GCC 2022 AGM and Public Meeting 9 November 2022

GCC 2022 AGM and Public Meeting 9 November 2022

 

The 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Gungahlin Community Council Inc., and November public meeting, will be held in the Eastlake Gungahlin Club, 51 Hinder Street, Gungahlin commencing at 6.30pm on Wednesday 9 November 2022. The AGM will be held first.

The AGM and meeting will be face-to-face. As usual the meeting will be live streamed on Facebook via the GCC Facebook page.

Persons wishing to attend the AGM are strongly encouraged to sign up as a GCC member (it’s FREE!) as only registered members can vote in the event of an election for an executive position.

Public Meeting

Agenda

  • GCC Update, President, GCC
  • District Strategies and draft Territory Plan, EPSDD
  • Landcare in Gungahlin, Kat McGilp, Ginninderra Catchment Group
  • Gungahlin Rural Block 348 – Retirement LivingConcept and Aged Care, Clare Gilligan, PBS Building

Annual General Meeting

All executive committee positions will be declared vacant and nominations are now open for the office-bearer positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Public Officer and up to five other Committee Members.

The GCC is a volunteer organisation that advocates for and on behalf of the district of Gungahlin as outlined in What We Do.

The GCC organises and hosts monthly public meetings. The GCC executive also meets once per month and much of the business of the executive is undertaken online through email, social media, our web site and other online tools. We engage with a wide range of ACT government agencies, MLA’s and Ministers, and members of the executive participate in a number of forums to better interact with the Gungahlin community. The GCC executive roles require a reasonable time commitment. The work of the GCC is captured in our newsletters and annual reports (eg. 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018).

If you know someone who may be interested in the work of the Gungahlin Community Council, please pass this information on to them.

You must be a registered GCC member to nominate for an executive committee position (signup as a member). A person is not eligible to nominate to be an Office-Bearer of the Council if the person is;

(a) an Executive Officer of a registered political party;
(b) a person employed by a registered political party;
(c) a registered candidate for a forthcoming election; or
(d) an elected member of the ACT Legislative Assembly or any Parliament or a person who has been pre-selected or has nominated for a forthcoming election to any of the aforementioned bodies; or
(e) an office bearer in a commercial or industrial lobby group registered with the Federal or ACT Government.

Nominations should be sent by emailing a completed NOMINATION FORM to the Secretary (secretary@gcc.asn.au) no later than Friday 4 November 2022. All nominations will be acknowledged by return email.

AGM Agenda

1. Opening and welcome
2. Apologies
3. Minutes of previous AGM held on 8 December 2021
4. Presentation of Annual Report for 2021-22
5. Presentation of Treasurer’s Report (Financial Reports & Reviewers Statement)

6. Appointment of Public Officer
7. Election of office bearers & general committee members for 2022-23
8. Amendments to the Association Rules (Constitution)

The existing Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) Association Rules are not sufficiently explicit regarding our non-profit status. As a consequence, the GCC is not able to secure discounted (free) services from some vendors (including Google). The proposed change will allow us to continue to benefit from free and discounted non-profit costs from Google, and other organisations. It also more accurately reflects our nature.

The GCC members are invited to pass a Special Resolution to include the below two insertions to the GCC Association Rules (Constitution):

Not-for-profit clause, inserted as 32.3
“The assets and income of the organisation shall be applied solely in
furtherance of its above-mentioned objects and no portion shall be
distributed directly or indirectly to the members of the organisation except
as bona fide compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on
behalf of the organisation.”

Dissolution clause, inserted as 38.3
“In the event of the organisation being dissolved, the amount that remains
after such dissolution and the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities shall be
transferred to another organisation with similar purposes which is not
carried on for the profit or gain of its individual members.”

A copy of the GCC Constitution highlighting the proposed insertions is available on the GCC website.

9. General Business

GCC Public Meeting 12 October 2022

GCC Public Meeting 12 October 2022

The next public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held on Wednesday 12 October 2022 starting at 6:30pm. We will be meeting in-person at the Eastlake Gungahlin Club.

As usual the meeting will be live streamed on Facebook via the GCC Facebook page.

Agend

  • GCC Update, GCC
  • Health Services Update – Northside Hospital, Northside Clinical Services and Integrated Care, ACT Health Directorate
  • Kamberra Development Update, Elgin Group

GCC Submission in Response to Draft Planning Bill 2022

A major element of the ACT Government’s ACT Planning System Review and Reform Project was the drafting of a new Planning Act. This is a very substantial legal document (over 700 pages) which was published for comment over the period 16 March to 15 June 2022. The GCC’s response (also on the YourSay consultaton page) was based on our experiences advocating for improved outcomes in the Gungahlin Town Centre.


ACT Planning System Review and Reform Project – Draft Planning Bill

The Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) agrees that ACT Planning System needs reform.

For more than five years (starting in December 2016) the GCC has advocated for changes to the ACT Planning System to ensure that the Gungahlin Town Centre meets the expectations of Gungahlin residents. The GCC has learned that the current Planning System cannot be trusted to “do the right thing” and that community-initiated changes to the System are extremely difficult. We have also learned that for Planning to be effective it needs to be enforced when it’s implemented in the real (commercial) world.

The GCC had hoped the Reformed Planning System would identify, enshrine, and defend the needs and interests of the community against the expertise, resources and commercial intent of the development industry, and (potential) short-term decision making by government. Further, to restore trust, we hoped the process of reform would be collaborative, allowing the community to understand and be part of the change, rather than being a victim of it – “Building trust in the Planning system should be a priority” (Stakeholder Series Report) was . Unfortunately, despite a promising start (the Community Engagement Workshops in May 2019), this is not how the reform has unfolded to date, with most “consultation” taking the form of notification.

The consultation currently being undertaken on the new Planning Bill is consistent with our concerns. Many hundreds of pages of draft legislation have been provided, along with an Overview document and a series of Fact Sheets. A very high level of assumed knowledge is required to be able to consider the material provided and it’s clear that any stakeholder that might wish to respond to the consultation would need a strong background and/or expertise in ACT legislation and planning to do so.

The Planning Bill is almost impossible for the average citizen to comprehend, and no serious attempt has been made by the Directorate to make it “relevant” to the general public. The Planning Bill has been presented without the new Territory Plan or District Strategies which might have made it clear “what goes where” and “how things will work”. It may also have helped if “Further detail on the proposed approach to detailed structure and content will be provided during the public consultation period” (from Planning Bill Policy Overview) had been actioned; unfortunately, this detail has not been forthcoming.

The GCC lacks the legislative and planning expertise that many of the other Community Councils have access too, and consequently our feedback and recommendations are quite high level. We encourage the government to place significant weight on the feedback from all Community Councils, all of whom place the interests of the residents of Canberra first.

Specifically, the GCC does not support:

  1. The removal of Pre-DA consultation – If the Planning Directorate is of the view that Pre-DA Consultation is ineffective it needs to be fixed. Pre-DA consultation has proven to lead to better outcomes in several instances in Gungahlin and is consistent with the goal of ensuring that engagement is early and informed.
  2. The notion that the Principles of Good Consultation are at the whim of the Minister – These principles should be a mandatory part of the act and genuinely co-developed with the community and industry (not proposed for comment).
  3. The suggestion that the compliance and enforcement powers are fit for purpose and comprehensive – In the past decade there have been several compliance issues in Gungahlin and there is widespread community perception that there is little enforcement and what there is has little impact or consequence on the infringing proponents

The GCC recommends that the ACT Government:

  • Fund an independent review of the proposed Planning Bill by an external (non-ACT government) legal counsel to validate the objectives of the Bill are correctly and validly drafted.
  • Take up the offer from the Chair of the Legislative Assembly’s Planning Committee to provide additional scrutiny of the Planning Bill and/or Reform, ideally through an Inquiry.
  • To build trust in the Reform process going forward, establish a substantive panel of relevant community and industry stakeholders that are given the necessary training to interpret the Planning Bill (and the Reform more broadly), and to genuinely contribute to the co-development of the new Territory Plan and District Strategies.
  • To build trust in the District Strategies, fund a representative group for each District group/forum to inform and oversee the development and implementation of the District Strategies. Such a group might include relevant MLA’s, representatives from different community sectors (eg. Business, Sporting, Aged, Youth) and community representatives, perhaps chosen by ballot from interested volunteer candidates.
  • Provide specific examples of how “outcomes based” works when compared to the current Planning System.
  • Work with the Gungahlin community to explore how the recommendations from the consultancy on mixed-use planning might be implemented in the new Territory Plan and/or Gungahlin District Strategy.

GCC Public Meeting 14 September 2022

GCC Public Meeting 14 September 2022

The next public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held on Wednesday 14 September 2022 starting at 6:30pm. We will be meeting in-person at the Eastlake Gungahlin Club.

As usual the meeting will be live streamed on Facebook via the GCC Facebook page.

Agend

GCC Public Meeting 10 August 2022

GCC Public Meeting 10 August 2022

The next public meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) will be held on Wednesday 10 August 2022 starting at 6:30pm. In response to the advice from health authorities:

THE MEETING WILL BE ONLINE – NOT FACE TO FACE

We will be runing the meeting on the Zoom videoconferencing platform and as usual the meeting will be live streamed on Facebook via the GCC Facebook page.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to join the Zoom virtual room meeting. Please REGISTER HERE and you will be emailed the link needed to join the Zoom meeting.

Agenda

Gungahlin Community Facilities Report Released

On 19 April 2022 the ACT Government released the Community and Recreational Facilities Assessment—Gungahlin District. The contract for this work was signed in December 2020 (as reported by the RiotACT), and is part of a range of activities regarding Commmunity Facilities in Gungahlin including the

  • Gungahlin community centre,
  • Casey land release, and
  • Future planning.

The report highlights the chronic lack of facilities in Gungahlin – an issue raised frequently by the GCC. Of the 28 types of community facility identified in the asessment, 57% (16) are either not meeting demand (9) or require further investigation regarding demand (7) (over the period being considered, ie. out to 2045). It should be noted that some of the analysis could be improved, but the assessment is very important because:

This report will inform further consultation, identification of priorities, and decision making by the ACT Government on a range of community and recreational facilities.

The report reviews all the previous studies done in this space (7 of them, going back to 1998!) which higlights that many of the needs (indoor sports, youth centre, aged cared, community halls/meeting spaces) have been well known for some time. It also introduces some benchmarks for facilities which can be applied more broadly across Canberra.

The conclusion from the executive summary states:

Additional community and recreational facilities that may require further investigation for provision in Gungahlin include:

    • Public primary schools and public colleges
    • Community centres and neighbourhood halls – which could be delivered as part of the proposed community centre in the Gungahlin Town Centre
    • Flexible meeting rooms/spaces – which ideally would be co-located with the proposed community centre or co-located with other facilities
    • Residential aged care facilities and places and aged day care centre (respite)
    • Dedicated arts space – potentially part of the proposed community centre
    • Dedicated space for youth activities and programs – potentially part of the proposed community centre
    • An indoor sports court centre
    • Outdoor sports courts facilities – additional courts that can be used for netball/basketball (noting that these have different size requirements).

The summary table from the report is included below.

The GCC would very much like your feedback on this report – what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s been missed. Respond below or email us.

Download (PDF, 203KB)