About 300 Defence Housing Australia staff will begin moving into their new offices in Gungahlin next month. It marks the culmination of years of campaigning to bring a large government agency to a Town Centre in need of jobs.
Staff at DHA’s ageing head office in Barton and ACT regional office in Fyshwick will relocate to the Gungahlin Town Centre.
Gungahlin Community Council has led the push for more commercial investment in the Town Centre to provide local employment opportunities and help the northern ACT district evolve from its current dormitory state.
DHA took GCC representatives on a tour of the new building, accompanied by Senator Zed Seselja who lobbied the Federal Government to relocate an agency to Gungahlin.
GCC vice-president Henley Samuel said the move would make a big difference to the Town Centre and encourage other employers and retailers to make their home in Gungahlin.
“We don’t have much employment opportunities an agency like this will bring,” he said.
Mr Samuel said it was not just office space that was needed but sectors such as education, retail and aged care.
“Already we see people such as Canberra Business and Technology College coming down to Gungahlin,” he said “They’re the sort of projects we need instead of dumping residential blocks in Gungahlin.”
Mr Samuel said the new DHA offfice would also be a boon for nearby businesses such as local retail and cafes.
He said Gungahlin was presently marked by its morning exodus to other employment centres across Canberra. This put pressure on the area’s main roads, particularly Gungahlin Drive, and kept people away from home more than necessary.
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“We believe you should be able to live in the community, shop in the community and work in the community so you can spend more time with your loved ones rather than spending time in the car,” he said.
Mr Samuel said DHA was looking forward to moving into the building with its modern, sustainable architecture, parking and end-of-trip facilities.
He thanked Senator Seselja for his efforts over the years to bring an agency to the Town Centre and deliver on his 2016 election promise.
The Federal Government announced on 16 May 2018 DHA would relocate to Gungahlin by March 2022.
In January 2020 the successful tenderer was announced and a 15-year lease signed, with two optional five-year terms starting in March 2022.
DHA said at the time the fit-out aimed to reflect the core principles of activity-based working and provide a flexible environment to support collaboration.