Media release: Planning decisions must reflect community needs

7 May 2020

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has welcomed the recommendations by a major ACT inquiry into planning and urban renewal as an opportunity to better engage with diverse members of the Canberra community on development in the Territory.

The report from the Inquiry into Engagement with Development Application Processes in the ACT recommends a range of improvements to the planning process, including improved information sharing and clear guidelines for stronger consultation with the community.

Dr Emma Campbell, CEO of ACTCOSS, said: “For several years, ACTCOSS has called for development processes in the Territory to better reflect community voices and priorities.

“Canberra is experiencing rapid development, including new suburbs and mass transit systems. We need to pay more attention to ensuring our city works for all members of our community, including those on low incomes, people with mobility and other access barriers, women, children, young people and older Australians.

“Developers should be focused not only on creating buildings, but on establishing communities. Construction must be safe, soundproofed, energy efficient and accessible. We need spaces for children to play and young people to gather. New developments must be connected to transport, commercial and social infrastructure.

“Recent crises such as smoke haze and COVID-19 have demonstrated the challenges faced by many marginalised communities in Canberra, including those facing transport disadvantage, mobility impairments and housing insecurity.

“These voices are rarely heard in the din of planning debates and it’s time they were. By implementing the recommendations of this report, the ACT has a better chance of building an inclusive, vibrant and equitable city through a robust planning and development process,” said Dr Campbell.

Find the full report here.

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.

For more information or comment, please contact

Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617.

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