Greens to fight for EPIC’s future

Shane Rattenbury MLA 11 June 2019 90

EPICis home to events like the National Folk Festival. Photo: Photox – Canberra Photography Services (

EPIC, or Exhibition Park, holds a special place in the cultural heart of our city. Home to great events like the Lifeline Bookfair, Royal Canberra Show, Capital Region Farmers Market and National Folk Festival, EPIC is a fantastic venue that hosts hundreds of events and draws thousands of Canberrans in every year.

Despite that, EPIC’s future is under a cloud.

Redevelopment of EPIC?

The ACT’s Planning Directorate is currently conducting investigations into the future development of EPIC, Kenny and surrounding land. One option is for EPIC’s major events to be relocated so that part or all of the site can be redeveloped, potentially for housing.

The ACT Greens don’t support the redevelopment of EPIC for housing.

EPIC is too important a community asset to lose. The advantages of having EPIC within 7km of the city, and on the light rail route, make it a very attractive spot that’s easily accessible to residents and tourists.

Yes, facilities will need to be upgraded, and that could include tourist accommodation like better camping facilities or a hotel. However, EPIC must first and foremost be for events – not for housing.

Time to secure EPIC’s future

Instead, urgent action is required to safeguard EPIC’s future.

With Canberra’s population growing, more homes than ever before are going up along the Northbourne corridor and surrounding areas.

As the city becomes more compact, unless something is done, we will likely see an increase in conflict between residents and the noise from entertainment venues like EPIC. Some of the events held there can be quite noisy.

If we act now—before more homes are built, and before the area becomes denser—we can make sure that EPIC is kept as an important cultural and music venue by making EPIC one of Canberra’s ‘entertainment precincts’.

Entertainment precincts: What are they?

Entertainment precincts help to protect the long-term future of the music and entertainment industry without exposing residents or businesses to unreasonable or unexpected levels of noise.

Precinct laws mean that the onus is on new developments to incorporate extensive noise insulation—not on music venues to turn down their volumes when residential development is built nearby.

In areas like Fortitude Valley in Brisbane, entertainment precinct laws have helped ensure that these vibrant mixed-use areas work for residents, nightclubs, live music venues, cafes, restaurants, hotels and retail businesses.

It is not just EPIC that needs protection as an entertainment precinct. Canberra’s music and events culture has evolved organically, with entertainment venues popping up in the city, in town centres and at local shops.

As our city becomes more compact, now is the time to act.

The Government needs to make real headway on the growing need for entertainment precincts and environmental noise dampening. Given the rate of new apartment blocks going up in the Northbourne corridor and in our Town Centres, this should be a priority.

We are still awaiting the Government’s response to MusicACT’s 2015 Cool Little Capital Action Plan and outcomes from the Urban Sounds discussion paper from 2016, which were both expected by the end of 2017.

The Greens believe we should get started on the community consultation to roll out across the city in places like EPIC, Woden and Belconnen Town Centres, to ensure that we’re supporting our live arts and music scene, and our local residents.

Now is the time to secure the future of our cultural venues.

Shane Rattenbury MLA is the leader of the ACT Greens and Member for Kurrajong.

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
90 Responses to Greens to fight for EPIC’s future
Jacqui Owen Jacqui Owen 1:32 pm 15 Jun 19

race course will be next

Pauly Berger Pauly Berger 12:30 pm 15 Jun 19

EPIC has lost its value to the community, the facility is now overpriced and out dated. Its no loss now! When the Barr government turned it into a cash cow rather than a community facility its days were numbered! Barr has the licensed clubs to fund community facilities, why should the government?

Jim Donaldson Jim Donaldson 5:36 pm 13 Jun 19

Mos def!

Maria Greene Maria Greene 4:39 pm 13 Jun 19

Anne Maegaard Willenborg you need to tune up your sarcasm detector

actcyclist actcyclist 4:24 pm 13 Jun 19

I’m sorry, but if the Greens didn’t realise that the reason for the light rail was to boost development amongst all the empty looking bits in north Canberra they’re just gullible.
Epic was doomed the moment the tram was approved, no matter what you do, the developers will get their way.

ghutch ghutch 9:26 am 13 Jun 19

EPIC needs to be retained. Its the only site where we can have those events that attract people from Canberra and from around the Region. Since its now on the light rail route its more accessible to people around Canberra. Its also an institution that has been in the hearts and souls of many Canberrans over the years. Its also a key place for dog and equestrian shows. I guess they will also be considering the future of the racecourse. Turning EPIC into high rise housing would be a tragedy

maxblues maxblues 3:57 am 13 Jun 19

Let’s hope it’s not an Epic fail.

Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 12:41 am 13 Jun 19

Unbelievable; the nearest tram stops to the entrance, about 400 metres away.

Stan Vizovitis Stan Vizovitis 11:59 pm 12 Jun 19

Canberra "For Sale" apply with brown paper bag !

Pam Wood Pam Wood 10:30 pm 12 Jun 19

They could plant their gum trees there.

Dory Johns Dory Johns 9:56 pm 12 Jun 19

Build the stadium and the new Epic at Symonston. Oh yes, and then the ACT govt can reinstate the bus service there that they have cancelled.

Malcolm Campbell Malcolm Campbell 9:53 pm 12 Jun 19

Since when do the greens 🥬 make all the decisions in the act!!!!

Daniel Howell Daniel Howell 9:20 pm 12 Jun 19

Dont need anymore houses in Canberra need another hospital and more for the young people

Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 8:10 pm 12 Jun 19

Epic is not only important to the Canberra community but the entire region as well.

Epic has a rich history going back to Canberra's earlier times where as the Showground, it provided the setting for the Canberra Show, an event attended by just about everyone in Canberra at the time, where our fledgling local businesses and community groups were able to display their wares ...and skills to our young growing city.

I remember in the 1960's when there was only one pavilion and Sideshow alley was only a few rides and fairy floss ...and hot dog stalls.

Each year it grew as the city did and is now the site for numerous events valued by the community, interstate and international visitors.

Amanda Evans Amanda Evans 7:52 pm 12 Jun 19

Just because there is open space, it doesn't mean it's not valued.

Development at all cost isn't a good formula for a healthy happy community and is a very poor urban design strategy.

Mark McCann Mark McCann 7:25 pm 12 Jun 19

Maybe they should give out the home address of whoever is trying to rezone EPIC to everyone at Summernats.

Then if/when it gets closed down all the Summernats guys can hoon around in front of their house.

Donna Burns Donna Burns 7:20 pm 12 Jun 19

Please keep EPIC, it would be crazy to move it or change into something else now when it is so easy to get to with light rail! Please no more houses.

Anne Willenborg Anne Willenborg 7:11 pm 12 Jun 19

Noooooo, no, no, no, you gotta have a tram stop or a few, how else are people going to get there?

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:03 pm 12 Jun 19

This is OK as far as it goes, but the counter point, from the usual suspects, will be something along the lines of “yes, but all those people who are flocking to Canberra have to live somewhere.”

It would be nice to have an environmental party which spoke loudly, publicly and frequently about the concept of a sustainable population for Canberra – rather than, as is far too often the case, aiding and abetting and greenwashing the inexorable growth of Canberra’s population.

Michael Doherty Michael Doherty 7:00 pm 12 Jun 19

Shane Rattenbury, another entertainment precinct that need support is the Fairbairn Motor Sports precinct. For some time now the ACT Speedway has been fighting a losing battle against a handful of Queanbeyan residents complaining about the noise. It is time the ACT Government stood up and supported a Canberra organisation trying to promote family entertainment.

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site