A proposed new secure mental health facility in Canberra’s south will be given priority in the planning process through a new bill introduced today.
Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell, introduced the Planning and Development (Symonston Mental Health Facility) Amendment Bill 2014 into the Legislative Assembly today.
“There is an immediate need for a medium to low secure mental health facility in the ACT and the government will give this project priority through amendments to the Planning and Development Act,” Mr Corbell said.
“The changes to the current laws will allow the proposal to be fast-tracked, while still allowing for the important community consultation processes through the development application to take place.
“The facility will accommodate approximately 25 beds and will provide services for low and medium security patients.”
The bill is in response to a motion passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly in August 2013 where the Assembly confirmed its support for the facility to be constructed on the former Quamby Youth Detention Centre site in Symonston.
The Assembly agreed that the project should be fast tracked and to consider project specific legislation which would expedite the planning process and allow construction of the secure mental health facility to commence as soon as possible.
“To minimise any delay in relation to the construction of the facility the bill introduces the concept of a
‘special variation’ of the Territory Plan that is specific to the Symonston site.
“This ‘special variation’ will eliminate the need for a full Territory Plan variation process, which can take
six to 18 months.
“This bill delivers specific legislation for this project that will ensure this vital facility is assessed through the planning process without delay.”