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Abolish the NCA to get Light Rail moving

Bec Cody MLA 8 July 2019 82
Labor MLA and member for Murrumbidgee Bec Cody believes the NCA is stifling progress on Light Rail Stage Two. Image of proposed light rail route to Woden: Supplied.

Labor MLA Bec Cody believes the NCA is stifling progress on Light Rail Stage 2. Image of proposed Light Rail route to Woden: Supplied.

Last week, the ACT Government has been forced to break up the project of extending Light Rail to Woden. City to the Lake, and then onto Woden.

There has been wild speculation in the media about how much this will delay the project. To be honest, I do not know.

The good news is that by breaking it up, we can get work started on the first section, and get more Canberrans into work building it.

As far as the second part goes, that is in the hands of the National Capital Authority and their skills at delaying projects and stifling our community. I wanted Light Rail to Woden to be under construction by now, and I’m sorry the Government haven’t achieved it. With Interest Rates at one per cent, there has never been a better time for Government to invest in infrastructure.

When I run up Mt Ainslie and look out over Canberra, I compare it with the Burley Griffin plan. The plan was for a dense city of Government departments clustered around the Parliament, and Adelaide Avenue lined with medium rise buildings. When I look at what’s there, I see a dead heart, an open wasteland of nothingness. What should be the bustling centre of our National Capital is bleak, visionless and holding our city back.

As a Southsider, with an office in Civic, I travel through the NCA designated area most days. Whenever I can, I cycle to work. The connections are awful around the city area. Across the South side of Canberra, there is great cycling infrastructure, but then you hit NCA designated areas and you get lost.

Unless you are very familiar with the area, trying to get from the fantastic on-road cycling areas on Adelaide Avenue to the city centre is difficult. You have to go on bike paths, then on to footpaths, then back on to the road with limited designated cycling area. And this is only one example.

I’ve tried to walk around the NCA designated area, and it was not easy. What at first glance looks like grand national buildings in parkland is mostly inaccessible by foot. Anyone who has seen stranded tourists attempting to access Anzac Avenue from the lake by dashing across Parkes Way knows the reality: the NCA designated area is designed for cars.

Imagine if every second block of Washington, London, or Paris was demolished, asphalted, and used for parking? It’s not the way to run a city or show off our national monuments.

They say the purpose of the National Capital Authority is to protect the character of our national monuments. Protect them from what? From the people of Canberra? We are not savages. In fact, the people of Canberra have more interest in maintaining and improving the character of our national capital than anyone else. These areas are our most important asset, our biggest tourist attraction, and bring many business visitors to our city.

Nobody has more at stake in making these assets attractive than us.

Instead of improving the amenity of our city, the National Capital Authority applies its bureaucratic control to keep the dead heart of our National Capital stuck in 1969. It actively rejects the Burley Griffin vision, whilst loyally defending every planning mistake made since.

With the exception of the NCA area of control, we can see the vitality of inner-city communities from Braddon to Kingston. Whilst I like living in the suburbs with space for a motorbike and a dog or two, I meet a lot of people today who want to live in an apartment, they want to walk to a cafe, bar or restaurant, and enjoy a higher-density lifestyle. That was the Burley Griffin vision, and the lifestyle being embraced by many.

It’s time to abolish the National Capital Authority. It’s a waste of Federal Taxpayer expense and a roadblock to the development of our city. If it were not for the NCA’s commitment to preserving a museum of planning mistakes in the centre of our city, Canberra could keep improving its public transport, raise densities, and be a more pedestrian-friendly place for tourists.

Bec Cody is the Labor member for Murrumbidgee.

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82 Responses to
Abolish the NCA to get Light Rail moving
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12:38 pm 08 Jul 19

Abolish the NCA to remove any adult supervision, that way the ACT Government can turn all of Canberra into high density high rises!

12:43 pm 08 Jul 19

I really don't like that area much either. There is lots of concrete, carparks and then some underused gardens/parks (I'm not talking about nature reserves).

And wouldn't heritage listing protect the national buildings and some other aspects important to the character of the national capital equally well and for a lot less money?

12:44 pm 08 Jul 19

Abolish the ACT government- they are appalling and destroying the beauty of this city

12:53 pm 08 Jul 19

Hard endorse. Long overdue. It's crazy for a city to have a big chunk of land in the middle of it, including key traffic arteries, which it does not control.

    6:52 pm 08 Jul 19

    Sean Lawson do you mean the Central National Area of the National Capital?... you know the Nation's Capital?

12:55 pm 08 Jul 19

Don't let the Labor Party and Greens get their grubby hands on areas such as the parliamentary triangle.

12:56 pm 08 Jul 19

ACT Labor having another hissy fit and blaming anyone but themselves for the delay to Stage 2.

1:06 pm 08 Jul 19

Or we could get what we voted for and not to have self government...

1:21 pm 08 Jul 19

This government of 20 years standing now is arrogant and needs more supervision than ever.

1:23 pm 08 Jul 19

Good luck with that!

1:30 pm 08 Jul 19

Yeah. More than a 1 issue agency though...

1:38 pm 08 Jul 19

The NCA is important to the symbolism of Canberra. Yes it is a city we live in but it is also our Nation's capital.

1:41 pm 08 Jul 19

I agree. Canberra needs more autonomy from the NCA

1:51 pm 08 Jul 19

Seriously!!! As much as I think the NCA are abhorrent in their approach to people and our beautiful city they are the ONLY thing stopping Barr and his cronies from completely ruining the beautiful area around the lake. Barr needs to be reigned in therefore. I say keep the NCA for now

    10:07 pm 08 Jul 19

    Libby Oakes-Ash absolutely! If Barr could sell the whole city to developers he would!

    12:00 am 09 Jul 19

    Libby. Exactly

    7:13 am 09 Jul 19

    Somehow we need to start making a noise, rattling some cages there are so many people who feel the same yet Barr just runs rampant across the city destroying our heritage,filling the city with ugly concrete monstrosities most of which will have similiar problems no doubt in the future to Mascot towers! I love how our city is growing but it needs to be mindful.. case in point the difference withhow Braddon is being developed creating community and welcoming spaces compared to Geocons takeover of Belconnen one ugly tower at a time!

2:12 pm 08 Jul 19

How about the ACT Government actually sit down with the NCA and the Federal Government and talk nicely with them? Is that too hard or do they think that is they carry on like entitled seven year olds long enough, people may agree with them.

Get off your high horse and try working with other stakeholders like adults.

2:19 pm 08 Jul 19

OMG. If we didn’t have the NCA, just imagine what mayhem the developers make of the current no-go areas. The government seems determined to cut down the beautiful old trees on Commonwealth Ave for the light train/tram and won’t consider any other routes which may benefit more people. 🤨

    9:31 am 09 Jul 19

    It isn't about people, Andrea, it is about Mr Barr getting his own way. Efficiency and effectiveness are of little consequence. Build the light rail at any cost with no regard for the benefits that a passenger friendly route would deliver.

2:40 pm 08 Jul 19

Articles like this make me worry about who might be the next Minister in the Barr Gov. We are a planned city, I think it’s worth slowing down and getting design right to keep our city the way it is meant to be.

    5:24 pm 08 Jul 19

    Patrick J Pentony as a original Canberrans, I agree totally - stick to the plan and go forward with that and also ensure we do it with quality and style

2:48 pm 08 Jul 19

I don’t understand why NCA exists. A few Federal guidelines to the ACT Gov should do the trick.

2:52 pm 08 Jul 19

Absolutely true!

2:55 pm 08 Jul 19

She seems to have made a very good case for retaining the NCA.

nothappyjan 2:55 pm 08 Jul 19

I needed a good laugh, and that was indeed very funny. The only thing that needs to be stopped is the Labor and Greens wholesale destruction of Canberra’s green spaces in a bid to please the ghetto developers that really run the council in Canberra. I suppose that time is running out before more people realise there is an oversupply of ghettos already, and the market comes crashing down. How will the council create revenue when nobody wants to buy overpriced and poorly constructed ghettos.

    JC 6:53 pm 08 Jul 19

    The problem I have with comments like this is what is the alternative to urban infill? Yup urban sprawl which takes up far greater green space than infill. It then continues the problem of roads and public transport journey times for those areas.

    nothappyjan 5:40 pm 09 Jul 19

    Who said anything against urban infill. Infill has been happening for decades in the inner north, particularly Braddon. Infill done well is fine. The difference now is that the council is flogging off nature strips, roundabouts, public car parks, public parks and vistas, and anything else the developers can poorly construct ghettos upon. They haven’t even started building the ghettos on Northbourne yet, but are trying to flog off more land before those developments on Northbourne fall through and the market collapses due to an oversupply which has already been recently confirmed by researchers at the ANU. Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents P!ss Poor Performance. This Green/Labor farce of a council we currently have have no idea what proper planning and prevention is, but they have certainly mastered p!ss poor performance as demonstrated by numerous crumbling and leaking ghettos due to no building quality oversight, pathetic new bus networks to try and prop up patronage of the tram farce, and public hospitals that would embarrass most third world countries.


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