THE Australian Government has approved further development in the Gungahlin district in the ACT, following a comprehensive strategic assessment of the region under national environment law that will potentially allow for the development of up to 13,000 new dwellings.
Federal Environment Minister Mark Butler, who made the approval last month, said the ACT Government's Gungahlin Plan for the progressive development of Gungahlin over the next 20 years satisfied both developmental and environmental aims.
The strategic assessment was undertaken in accordance with section 146 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and examined the impacts of urban development and infrastructure on biodiversity and matters of national environmental significance.
Mr Butler said the strategic assessment would result in a total of 781 hectares of land being retained and managed for conservation of listed ecological communities and threatened species protected under national environment law.
The Minister also said the approval will mean that the Gungahlin area will be the site of significant housing and infrastructure development, with around 10,000 to 13,000 dwellings anticipated.
"This will provide a real boost to the local economy, without overly detracting from the special characteristics of the surrounding environment," Mr Butler said.
ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Minister, Simon Corbell, said the outcome of the strategic assessment will lead to substantial conservation benefits including:
- The creation of Kenny Nature Reserve (160 hectares), which hosts Striped Legless Lizard and Box Gum Woodland);
- An addition of 300 hectares to the Mulligan's Flat – Goorooyaroo nature reserves, which includes Superb Parrot habitat, Golden Sun Moth and Box Gum Woodland;
- The creation of Kinlyside Nature Reserve (201 hectares), which contains Box Gum Woodland, Golden Sun Moth and Pink-Tail Worm Lizard; and
- An addition of 120 hectares to the north-western Hills, Ridges and Buffer zone from the urban areas of Taylor and Jacka, as well as north Horse Park broadacre area.
More information is available from the ACT Government website at <http://www.economicdevelopment.act.gov.au/community_engagement/Recent_Activities/gungahlin> or the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities' Strategic Assessments website at <http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/assessments/strategic.html>.