THE PROPERTY Council of Australia has released an action plan for Canberra, saying it needs to "grow up and take the brave decisions about the city of tomorrow."
The plan, titled 'The Urgency is Now - Action Plan for Canberra's Future', was released last week and "outlines a vision for Canberra that is diverse and sustainable and counts in the eyes of the nation." Property Council ACT Executive Director, Catherine Carter, said the "decisions made now will make or break this city, so the need for big ideas and action is urgent."
"The Property Council's fear is that a continued ad hoc approach to planning, design and construction will see a diminished Federal Government presence and investment in Canberra, a larger carbon footprint and declining community services due to lack of growth... Growth is not an environmental threat as long as we grow intelligently. We need a genuine long-term vision for our city and we need it now," Ms Carter said.
In the plan, the Property Council aims for a population of 500,000 in the ACT and region by 2030. It also promotes diversity, sustainability and for Canberra "to count in the eyes of the nation." The report states that a weak vision, lack of community understanding, confused governance, over planning and planning delays are some of the many factors that limit the growth and development of the ACT.
The action plan outlines 15 steps to achieving the vision, which include:
- A holistic approach to carbon-neutrality;
- Fast tracked green buildings;
- Integrated infrastructure and transport plans;
- A centralised strategic policy function;
- Complementary planning;
- An updated spatial plan;
- A renewed mid-city precinct;
- New plans for the city centres; and
- A diversified economy.
The ACT Government hit back at the report, with Chief Minister Jon Stanhope saying that "the unfortunate tendency of the Property Council is to claim that it is the only player in town with any 'vision' for the future of the city... The reality is that there are multiple 'visions' - including a very clearly articulated Government vision, but none of these is ever going to agree in every detail with the self-interested vision of the property sector."
Mr Stanhope said that the Government will soon release the first in a series of ten-year infrastructure plans and a Strategic Transport Action Plan. "One can only conclude that the Council has released its report today because it realises that once the Government's Infrastructure Plan and Strategic Transport Action Plan are made public, the Property Council will be essentially irrelevant in the public conversation that follows," Mr Stanhope said.