The Gungahlin Community Council (GCC) continues to advocate for the completion of the Gungahlin district with all the transport, commercial (office), community, entertainment, education, health, sporting and recreation infrastructure and services residents expect in a Canberra district.
Delivering against these expectations addresses all the ACT Wellbeing indicators.
Gungahlin Police Station and Policing
Gungahlin is Canberra’s second largest district and poses many challenges to ACT Policing. Because of the many cultural, religious, demographic, and ethnic factors that are impacting the community and how it interacts, in addition to their normal law and order duties, police are required to act as ad-hoc counsellors, mental health responders, youth workers, and first aiders.
There are insufficient police resources in Gungahlin and the existing Gungahlin police station is completely inadequate. A recent ACT Assembly petition calling for an increase in police resources and urgent investment in a new Gungahlin Police Station attracted 660 signatures. The GCC has campaigned for nearly a decade on the inadequacy of policing resourcing and facilities and STRONGLY recommends that the ACT government address these policing concerns in the 2023-34 budget.
Community and Recreational Facilities
The 2022 Community and Recreational Facilities Assessment – Gungahlin District identified 28 categories of community and recreation facilities with only 12 (43%) categorised as meeting current and likely future demand (out to 2045). This is consistent with the GCC’s 2019 community survey and feedback from community stakeholder groups. It is an issue that is further exacerbated by the lack of suitably zoned land in Gungahlin.
The GCC therefore strongly supports the Assessment’s recommendation that “Further investigations and planning will be required to confirm the need and feasibility of any future facilities in the Gungahlin district”.
- STRONGLY urges the ACT government to fund the commencement of construction work on the Gungahlin community centre,
- Calls for the ACT government to progress their other Gungahlin commitments including a local walk-in health centre in North Gungahlin and the construction of a build-to rent affordable rental co-located with Common Ground Gungahlin
- Asks that the ACT government fund additional planning work regarding community and recreational facilities including a bottom-up analysis of needs, an identification of priorities and allocation of space (land) to validate and expand upon the Assessment, and including detailed planning for a large-scale cultural meeting/event facility.
Employment in Gungahlin
Further action needs to be taken by the ACT government to facilitate the development of employment and community services in the Gungahlin Town Centre. Gungahlin is home to over 20% of Canberra residents yet supports just 6% of employment. This disparity impacts many of the ACT Wellbeing indicators. The GCC again asks the ACT government to renew efforts to work with the Commonwealth government:
- to establish (or relocate) Commonwealth agencies, offices or facilities into the Gungahlin Town Centre or Gungahlin region, and/or
- establish a flexible workplace hub in Gungahlin, as articulated in the “Gungahlin Town Centre – A Prospectus for APS Investment”
The ongoing East Gungahlin place-making engagement needs to be followed by detailed planning and investment to deliver much-needed entertainment and diversified retail services.
Road and Public Infrastructure in the Gungahlin Region
The GCC continues to receive strong feedback regarding congestion on Gungahlin’s arterial road network, traffic flow and parking issues within the Town Centre, and the inadequacy of the public transport services and ongoing concerns with the bus interchange. We appreciate the ongoing work on intersection feasibility studies and the mesoscopic traffic analysis, but these need to be completed and remedial work commenced to avoid further lag between issues arising and infrastructure being constructed.
The GCC asks that planning work be commenced to duplicate:
- All of Horse Park Drive
- Gungahlin Drive North of Gundaroo Drive
- Gundaroo Drive North of Mirrabei Drive
- Clarrie Hermes Drive
- Mirrabei Drive
The Barton Highway-Gundaroo Drive intersection has the highest accident rate in the ACT, and will need to support increasing volumes of traffic with the duplication of the Barton Highway towards Yass, and the eventual development of the CSIRO site. The GCC asks that planning work be funded to replace the existing roundabout at this location with an overpass, and the duplication and further improvement of the Barton Highway.
The GCC asks the ACT government to work towards improving linkages between town centres and other employment centres, to address ongoing concerns expressed by TCCS on the operation of the bus interchange, and to publish and action the Gungahlin Town Centre Active Travel Feasibility study to better serve Gungahlin.
Coordination of Government Agencies
The recent experience of Community Councils, including Gungahlin, is a lack of coordination of government services and agencies in implementing investments. The ACT government agencies are sensibly whole-of-Canberra. However, the construction and development of assets are local. The governance structure has a gap in the lack of local (spatial) coordination. The GCC requests that the government experiment with local governance or oversight for a specific district. The selection of a paid governing board to oversee the project is by candidates nominating themselves, and the choice of members is by sortition. The governing board would have a secretariat from the government to coordinate information to and from government agencies.
Governments deciding what and how to invest requires accurate, up to date, accessible, local, relevant information. The Government’s Wellbeing measures are an example. What is lacking is how to use the measures to assist the development of District Strategies, particularly in new build areas such as Gungahlin.
The GCC recommends that Wellbeing data be collected and reported at District level.