With the passage of the new Planning Act last week, the Belconnen Community Council was glad to see the inclusion of key amendments that we lobbied for. These amendments addressed our concerns about community consultation and pre-DA consultation. These changes prioritized the voices of our community in the planning process, and we are grateful for this significant step forward compared to the draft bill.
However, while we appreciate the amendments, we acknowledge that concerns remain regarding the outcomes-based system and how it will impact Belconnen residents. In this vein, we support the built-in review mechanism to evaluate the system’s effectiveness and the potential need for further reforms. The government should be proactive and consider a continuous evaluation and review process of the planning system. We believe in ensuring active community participation in shaping the planning outcomes that impact our neighborhoods.
Additionally, we are disappointed that governance arrangements were not prioritized from the beginning. However, we welcome the amendment requiring an independent review of the governance arrangements within 12 months of the Planning Act’s passage. This review should examine the effectiveness of the independent planning body and explore the potential of local design panels, both of which we advocated for in our submission on the draft Bill. These measures will contribute to a more inclusive and community-centric planning framework.
We express our gratitude to the ACT Government, the Opposition and all stakeholders involved for their efforts in addressing our concerns and taking meaningful steps towards creating a more consultative and inclusive planning framework.
However our work is not yet done, we will keep advocating for the best planning outcomes for our community and if you are interested in helping out, we would love to hear from you.
The BCC remains committed to advocating for genuine and transparent community engagement in planning, and for a fit-for-purpose territory plan, district strategy, and design guides that deliver for the Belconnen community while delivering the housing our city needs.
Together, let’s shape the future of our community!