Have we got the development mix right in Gungahlin?

Suzanne Orr MLA 20 May 2021 25
Member for Yerrabi Suzanne Orr

Member for Yerrabi Suzanne Orr says Gungahlin residents need better town centre development. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Much has been said recently about the development of Gungahlin Town Centre.

In February this year, I moved a motion in the ACT Legislative Assembly, calling on the government to improve the mix of development in our town centre.

The aim is to make sure our planning laws provide for a mix of activity in our centres. That people have homes, that we have places to work, places to shop, places to come together as a community.

The motion was unanimously supported by all parties. It is positive we are seeing this change in our planning system.

At the same time as this change is being implemented, housing markets around Australia are under immense pressure.

Canberra is no exception.

Median house prices are going up, suburb records are being smashed, and fewer properties are being listed for sale. Rental properties are scarce, and prices are at an all-time high, while real estate agents are inundated with applicants offering well above the asking price.

The nature of this makes the private rental market unfair and a struggle for tenants across all major cities, including Canberrans, to find a suitable rental property.

The stark reality is that people are not able to attain the housing they need.

We all know that when supply is low and demand is high, the price goes up. That is exactly what is happening with prices for sales and rentals, resulting in families struggling to find a suitable home by either route.

Entrance to Marketplace Gungahlin

Has Gungahlin got the mix of commercial and residential development right? Photo: Region Media.

On 14 April, four blocks were released by the Suburban Land Agency, and they were sold on 12 May. The release of these blocks has caused frustration and concern in our community.

The community wants to know that its town centre will be a hub of thriving commercial activity. To date, the development mix in Gungahlin has not delivered on the expectations of our community, with limited commercial tenancies and many vacant shops.

The four blocks that were sold are zoned for mixed-use development, meaning they can have a range of uses including commercial and residential housing. The blocks will provide 454 homes, including 76 affordable homes and eight public housing homes – housing we need for members of the community to be able to make it into a home at all.

However, community concern has not gone unheard and already the purchasers of the blocks have indicated they will be looking at a range of options, including commercial space and potentially even a campus for a vocational training college.

To hold back those blocks would take away housing for people right when our city needs it most.

As I said when I moved the motion in February, improving how an appropriate mix of development types is realised is not the same as stopping residential development.

Because we need both – commercial and residential spaces at these blocks.

It is as simple as that.

Suzanne Orr MLA is the Labor Member for Yerrabi.

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25 Responses to Have we got the development mix right in Gungahlin?
Gina Jeffrey Gina Jeffrey 2:08 pm 25 Jul 21

Yes you are right. But why do the idiots in the populace vote Barr back into his lifetime dictatorship role every election.

Sharee Schultz Sharee Schultz 1:58 pm 25 Jul 21

Ian McTaggart because they are trying to rezone every bit of commercial land to build apartments 😞

Janet Heap Janet Heap 1:37 pm 25 Jul 21

I agree. It's a mess that can never be fixed. Known as a 'folly' which will stay there and be known as such. Stop outsourcing to short term contractors and built another town centre in the Gungahlin precinct designed by a team with ethics for the future.

Janet Heap Janet Heap 1:32 pm 25 Jul 21

This period will be remembered as the BIG MESS UP! It is the time when the concept of the original Territory Plan went out the window. This ACT Govt should take a review of its planning regulations. Every block, shop site etc had a Lease Purpose Clause. Too many concessions to the Greens!

Marc Edwards Marc Edwards 7:29 am 24 May 21

No the planning hasn’t delivered. The Labor Gov has only been interested in making Gungahlin a residential Rates Farm.

mitch82 mitch82 7:04 pm 23 May 21

Get the public pool fixed Suzanne, or is that too big a hurdle for the grossly incompetent Labor government?

Kunal Chaturvedi Kunal Chaturvedi 10:56 am 23 May 21

She ever tried to go to work from gungahlin to tuggeranong at peak time? She probably goes in in her own designated carpark at no peak hours.

Alicia Conley Alicia Conley 6:30 am 23 May 21

"hey guys just realised I'm not too good at building gungahlin, have you noticed too?"

I need suggestions so I can fix this beffore the next election.

-literaly how I read this artical

Charlie Karmenu Flask Charlie Karmenu Flask 9:32 pm 22 May 21

Do we have the right development mix anywhere in the ACT?

Corey Karl Corey Karl 8:27 pm 22 May 21

But the pool is great..... I mean tram

Ian McTaggart Ian McTaggart 7:58 pm 22 May 21

Why isn't there an appropriately located office tower that is attractive enough for a major tenant with a few thousand staff to have Gungahlin as their work location?

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 7:57 pm 22 May 21

I’m obviously missing something. Isn’t her Government in charge of determining the development mix? If the right development mix hasn’t been delivered then aren’t they responsible?

    Mazzie Woodward Mazzie Woodward 8:30 am 23 May 21

    Gabriel Spacca 100% and last term she was also a Minister (demoted to the backbench now) so if anyone is to blame... I’d be pointing the finger at her.

Richard Willcoxson Richard Willcoxson 6:35 pm 22 May 21

The planning of the Gungahlin town centre has been a disaster from the get go. The horse bolted on this along time ago

Kat Lindbeck Kat Lindbeck 6:28 pm 22 May 21

Easy answer to this a No! And to say 8 for public housing, the govt already has hundreds of public (this totalling to millions of $$$$$$) of upstanding unfixed, uncleaned housing.

    Ian McTaggart Ian McTaggart 7:59 pm 22 May 21

    Kat Lindbeck including some that have been vacant for weeks.

    Kat Lindbeck Kat Lindbeck 8:17 pm 22 May 21

    Ian agree months and years too!!


    Alicia Conley Alicia Conley 6:27 am 23 May 21

    Ian McTaggart Kat Lindbeck

    There's like 6 or 8 that I'm personally watching. Properties that are suitable for me and my kids... Ive been watching these properties for over 6 months... Me and the kids will just keep watching our non funture homes, continue to be unused.

Michael McDonald Michael McDonald 5:47 pm 22 May 21

why isnt there a cinema?

    Kat Lindbeck Kat Lindbeck 6:25 pm 22 May 21

    Michael it’s going to take 10yrs to build and by that date couple million dollars over budget.

    Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Warren 8:49 am 23 May 21

    We've been waiting for the promised cinema for 20 years. I'm not holding my breath.

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 9:06 am 23 May 21

    That's what they are building across the road from the post office?

Mark Scarborough Mark Scarborough 4:52 pm 22 May 21

Not to be blunt but why hasn't she said this a long time ago. As a town planner and our MLA she should have called this out when first voted in not when the GCC starts bringing attention to the topic.

bd84 bd84 12:39 pm 22 May 21

The Labor government has got nothing right in developing the Gungahlin district, other than the 2 suburbs developed by the private sector (and now maintenance neglected). It’s an absolute shambles of poor planning because they were more interested in making big $$ and skimping on cost of infrastructure. Moving a motion about the development of Gungahlin is about 15-20 years too late when clearly nothing has changed .

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