Budget 2021-22: Sydney and Melbourne buildings set for restoration work

Ian Bushnell 11 August 2021
Verity Lane, Sydney Building Civic

The Sydney Building in Civic. There is money in the Budget to get the long-awaited restoration started. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Works to help restore the historic gateway Sydney and Melbourne buildings to their former glory are included in the upcoming ACT Budget’s infrastructure package.

The restoration of the Civic buildings has long been mooted but complicated by the large number of individual owners involved.

The government has already announced a project to upgrade the buildings’ potential-laden laneways.

The Budget will set aside funding for essential stormwater works, which are set to take place in Odgers and Verity Lanes, laying the foundation for further improvements for the buildings.


READ MORE: Design work under way to transform Civic’s historic laneways


The government says the buildings require work to ageing stormwater and drain infrastructure which will significantly help to improve their appearance and longevity.

Continuing design work on projects in the laneways to improve safety, connectivity and service functions for businesses operating out of the buildings will coincide with the stormwater works.

The improvements will improve both day and night-time activities and involve resurfacing the laneways, enhancing pedestrian and vehicle accessibility, and lighting upgrades.

Transport Canberra and City Services, and the City Renewal Authority will integrate restoration works as part of the stormwater improvement to help minimise disturbance to business and the community.

These works will also be coordinated with early works on the London Circuit section of the Stage 2 light rail route to ensure disruption in the area is minimal and only happens once.


READ MORE: Big-spending Budget to focus on jobs and skills, says Barr


ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said these heritage buildings were a special part of Canberra’s history and the government was investing in important restoration works, as well as working closely with the multiple owners to reinforce their role as a distinctive gateway to our city.

“This project is the next step in the heritage restoration of both the buildings and lays the groundwork for further restoration work in the years ahead,” he said.

Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said that the upgrades to Canberra’s stormwater system would support the future revitalisation of the Sydney and Melbourne buildings from the bottom up.

“This investment will renew these historic and iconic Canberra buildings and support the local businesses operating within both precincts,” Mr Steel said.

“We will also be upgrading stormwater systems in Narrabundah as well as improvements in Mawson to address flooding issues at the group centre. This will include design for upgrades to the path network, landscaping, tree planting and street lighting.”

The investment for upgraded stormwater systems across the ACT amounts to $9.7 million, a combination of ACT and Commonwealth Government funding.

A total of $5.75 million will be spent on laneway refurbishments and façade works in and around the buildings delivered by the City Renewal Authority.


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