Belconnen and the ACT Budget

The ACT Budget was handed down this week and it appears to be a safe and steady budget, with a focus on services. Investment will be focused on schools, hospitals, roads and parks. Oddly for an election year, little pork barreling seems to have occurred anywhere in Canberra.
The biggest single investment in Belconnen is for the University of Canberra Public Hospital currently being constructed on the corner of Aikman and Ginninderra Drive. The investment in that facility from this budget is $212 million dollars, and will benefit all of Canberra, not just Belconnen residents. As well as much needed health facilities it will provide jobs and become part of the integration of UC with the town centre.
Some budget announcements that directly benefited Belconnen were the announcement of the duplication of Aikman Drive and upgrades to local shopping centres at Charnwood and Spence.Belconnen schools will receive upgrades, such as an early learning space to be built at Maribyrnong Primary in Kaleen and the CIT in Bruce will receive 1.7M dollars  towards upgrades.

Local playgrounds in Florey and Evatt will be also be provided with finds for upgrades and improvements.

The 9.8M dollar Aikman Drive duplication announcement is an important step in smoothing traffic through the town centre, especially with a growing population accessing town centre services, such as the UC Public Hospital that is being built right now. As well as the road duplication, a cycle path and footpath will be constructed.

Other heavily used arterial roads in the area require attention, such as Kuringa Drive and William Slim Drive, and the BCC will continue to lobby for those upgrades.

The ACT Treasury has prepared a Belconnen specific budget breakdown (available from this link). As your community council we would like to ask you:

  • What do you think of this budget?
  • Where can the government invest our money and improve Belconnen?
  • What specific improvements do you think are needed?
Please email us at: hello@belcouncil.org.au

Public meeting – Ginninderra Falls and the Murrumbidgee Gorge

The Ginninderra Falls Association are hosting a  public meeting.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016 –

5:30pm to 7:00pm

Cook Community Hub
41 Templeton St Cook

Light refreshments will be provided.

Agenda

Introduction Dr Douglas Finlayson Ginninderra Falls Association
Speakers Damon Cusack, David Wong Ginninderra Catchment Group
Professor Ian Falconer ANU, ACF, ACT and Region Catchment Management Coordination Group
Brian Rhynehart GFA – European history
Shane Mortimer Ngambri Elder
Panel Discussion Q&A Session

 

The Hub is the previous Cook primary school. There are three buildings and the relevant one is on the right as you look fromthe road. There is a parking lot in the middle which should be available. There is another one at the rear if necessary. The room we will be using is the Education Room of the Heraldry and Genealogy Society. This room is at the end of thecorridor on the right, just before the doors into Companion House.

National Capital Plan Amendment 86 – Revised National Capital Plan

The BCC received the following communication from the National Capital Authority on 11 May 2016.

“I am writing in relation to your submissions on both National Capital Plan Draft Amendment 85 – West Belconnen Urban Development and Draft Amendment 86 – Revised National Capital Plan.

On 5 May 2016, the Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, the Hon. Paul Fletcher, approved Amendment 86 – Revised National Capital Plan. Amendment 86 incorporates the changes to the Plan proposed by Draft Amendment 85 – West Belconnen Urban Development, and varies the land use policy for the West Belconnen area from ‘Hills, Ridges and Buffer Spaces’ to ‘Urban Areas’. To simplify the approvals process the National Capital Authority (NCA) elected to combine the two proposals. Amendment 86 took effect on 6 May 2016.

The Minister’s decision to approve the revised Plan introduces a range of changes to the land use planning framework of the ACT. Among these are:

*   Expansion of land available for urban development in West
Belconnen, Mitchell, Kenny and Ginninderra.
*   Removal of Special Requirements for significant portions of

Territory Land (Namadgi National Park and the Murrumbidgee and
Molonglo River Corridors)
*   Adjustment of the Designated Areas to include land between

London Circuit and Coranderrk Street on the northern side of
Constitution Avenue (with the exception of Block 14 Section 65 City
being the National Convention Centre site), the Mint, the Australian
Institute of Sport, and the Defence Housing Authority’s Academy Close site.
*   Changes to land use provisions in a number of designated areas,

including those for East Block, West Block and Anzac Park East and
West.

A copy of the revised National Capital Plan and the Consultation
Report is available on the National Capital Authority’s website at
www.nationalcapital.gov.au


Thank you for your interest in changes to the National Capital Plan.

For further advice regarding the above, please contact Rebecca
Sorensen on 02 6271 2851 or email
Rebecca.Sorensen@natcap.gov.au

May public meeting of the BCC – Minister Fitzharris and Transport Canberra

Minister Meegan Fitzharris will be at the May meeting of the BCC. She will be speaking about Transport Canberra. The new head of Transport Canberra, Emma Thomas, will also attend.

We will also hear from the Retired ACT Transport Employees Club about preserving Canberra’s transport heritage and the role their members have played moving us all around Canberra since the capital was established.

We invite all members of the public to attend our May public meeting on: Tuesday 17 May at 7PM at the Community Room above the Belconnen Library.

A brief agenda is as follows:

7.00PM – Meeting opens – Apologies, Chairs report

7.10PM – Retired ACT Transport Employees Club

7.40PM – Minister Meegan Fitzharris and Emma Thomas

9.00PM – Meeting closes

Further information can be found on our Facebook page and website: www.belcouncil.org.au

Belconnen retains its 4000 strong workforce at Immigration

belco immigration

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection today announced that the 4000 Immigration employees working in the Town Centre will remain in Belconnen. Office accommodation arrangements have now been finalised, and although its Civic workforce will be relocating to the Airport, its Belconnen employees will remain in the Town Centre.

Some will relocate to the underutilised ABS Building on Benjamin Way, across the road from their main Belconnen building.

This is a tremendous result that the BCC, under former Chair Tara Cheyne, worked hard to achieve, with strong bipartisan political efforts at local and federal levels.

Todays announcement provides certainty to the workers and their families that faced enormous dislocation, and to the many small businesses that relied on the 4000 workers. The department employs around one third of the full time workforce located in the Town Centre and remains Belconnens largest employer.

This decision was almost certain following last years decision by the Finance Department to take local factors into consideration when contemplating relocation of departments.

The decision was advised to all staff via an email on 5 May 2016:

Belconnen retains its Immigration workforce

Belconnen retains its Immigration workforce

The media covered the decision here and here.

Senator Zed Seselja commented on the decision by saying:

“Along with the Belconnen community I fought to ensure the [department] remained in its current location with the same staffing footprint, and I’m pleased that we won that fight,”

“Our government is the first ever to take into consideration local impacts on Canberra before making a decision regarding departmental accommodation and today’s announcement shows just how important this was.

“We now have certainty for businesses and staff located at the Belconnen town centre.

“We all know that the presence of government departments in our town centres is critical to maintaining the viability of many local small businesses. This is how Canberra was designed and we need to protect that.

“A move of the DIBP from Belconnen town centre would not have been in the best interest of the Belconnen community. It was vital to ensure this did not happen.

Ginninderra electoral district 2016

Are you still enrolled to vote in Belconnen?

Ginninderra electoral district 2016

Ginninderra electoral district 2016

In 2015 the Australian Electoral Commission changed the boundaries for Canberra’s Assembly seats. The ACT went from three seats and 17 MLA’s to five seats and 25 MLA’s, from the 2016 Assembly election.

How does this affect you?

Prior to 2016 all residents of Belconnen were in the Assembly seat of Ginninderra.  You may now live in Belconnen, but now vote in the predominantly Gungahlin seat of Yerrabi. The map above shows where the electoral boundaries of Ginninderra are in 2016.

The changed boundaries affect the voters of Evatt, Mackellar, Lawson, Giralang and Kaleen.

If you are enrolled to vote you will not have to do anything except be aware of which seat you are now in. If you were keen on a particular candidate, you may no longer be able to vote for them!

Be mindful of where you are enrolled and ensure the policies you are voting are ones you support, ask your local candidates questions about issues that matter to you. Although much of Belconnen is in Ginninderra, the residents of Belconnen in Yerrabi deserve the same priority as Gungahlin residents.

Voting and ensuring you are enrolled

If you are over 18 and an Australian citizen you must enroll to vote. You can ensure your details are up to date by checking with the Australian Electoral commission at this link.

If you are not enrolled you can download a form here or visit the AEC site here.

You can change your enrollment details and update your address here.

Voting is important and keeps our democracy strong and relevant.