13 March 2018

Collaborative Hub to examine housing options as consultation moves to next stage

| Ian Bushnell
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Suburban housing in Canberra. The Government’s housing consultation is moving to the next stage. Photo: File photo.

The ACT Government’s Housing Choices consultation is moving to its next stage with the establishment of a deliberative democracy process involving a cross-section of the community selected randomly this month.

Planning Minister Mick Gentleman said the purpose designed ‘Collaboration Hub’ would draw out key ideas as well as policy recommendations, encouraging direct participation to arrive at well-considered public decisions.

“In November last year, I officially launched the Housing Choices consultation to invigorate conversation about housing supply in Canberra, and to find out more about what kind of housing Canberrans may require in the future,” Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman said.

“Now it is time to work with community representatives to refine what we’ve heard.”

A spokesperson for the Minister said invitations to participate in the Collaboration Hub would be sent this month to 15,000 randomly selected residents. They will be sent to physical addresses randomly so as to not discriminate between those who own or rent their property.

Recruitment and selection will be managed by newDemocracy Foundation and will be independent from Government.

“We will meet participants for the first time on the first day of meet and greet for the Collaboration Hub,” the spokesperson said.

The Collaboration Hub itself will commence in May and run through to the end of July.

The spokesperson said that over five in-depth meetings, the Hub would consider and weigh up the demands, options, best practice and the desires of stakeholders to respond to the question – ‘Canberra is changing – and there are many different ways our housing needs can be met. What do we need to do?’

It would explore issues such as appropriate zoning provisions, and what principles Canberrans agree as important to deliver the housing they want and plan for future needs.

“In addition to the Housing Choices engagement, the Demonstration Housing Project will present a valuable opportunity for the collaboration hub to look at examples of diverse housing types and how they can be delivered,” the spokesperson said.

The Demonstration Housing Project would showcase innovative housing design and delivery including infill compact housing, small houses, co-housing, mixed-tenure, sustainability and long-term rental housing.

The spokesperson said that in the coming month, the Government would seek innovative development proposals that target areas such as environmental performance, innovative design, innovative delivery or tenure, and affordability.

He said that over the coming weeks the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate would be inviting a range of key community and industry stakeholders to be part of a Stakeholder Reference Group to work alongside the Collaboration Hub.

“This group will allow for transparent input from those most involved in the issues. The Reference Group will meet up to eight times throughout the project, with half of those occurring prior to the hub meetings and the other half occurring throughout the process,” he said.

“Not only does this enrich the quality of industry and advocacy input into the process but it substantially improves the likelihood of widespread stakeholder buy-in to the end report and the recommendations it details.”

The spokesperson said that during the deliberations, members of the collaboration hub may request additional input from various experts, either from Stakeholder Reference Group or in the field.

At the completion of the session, the collaboration hub would provide a report to the Minister with recommendations.

“This report will be written by the members of the collaboration hub, not the consultants. The report will be made available to the broader public via ‘Yoursay’,” the spokesperson said.

The first stage of community consultation on Housing Choices closed on 9 March. After analysis of the feedback, summary of key points will be made available to the broader community and to members of the collaboration hub for consideration.

For more information visit www.yoursay.act.gov.au.

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