To preserve and improve the social, cultural, economic and environmental well being of Inner South Canberra and the Inner South Canberra Community.

Have Your Say On District Planning For Inner South Canberra

The idea of there being a ‘district plan’ for each urban district in Canberra was outlined at the ‘Inner South District Planning Workshop’ in June this year, as part of the “ACT Planning Review and Reform Project”.  The purpose of this workshop was to obtain community feedback which the planning authority would use in the preparation of an Inner South Canberra District Plan (now called District ‘Strategy’).

The concept of District Level Planning first appeared in the ACT Planning Strategy 2018, where it was said to:

  • Bridge the gap between ACT-wide and local area planning
  • Build upon and expand master plans to deliver the ACT Planning Strategy
  • Establish policy and implementation actions at a district scale
  • Provide opportunity to recognise distinctive characters of districts

We assume it is similar to (and may have been inspired by) Local Strategic Planning Statements (LSPS) which NSW local councils are now required to produce.  These are:

  • intended to identify the relevant priorities and actions for each locality.
  • not intended to be taken into account in assessing a DA
  • contain actions which flow through to other planning documents, eg. changes to the Local Environmental Plan (LEP), Structure Plans or Development Control Plans

The ISCCC Committee saw this as an opportunity to produce our own “Inner South Canberra District Strategy”, for submission in due course to the planning Minister and Authority.  Attached is the latest version (Draft 4), based on input from the ISCCC member groups and the ISCCC Committee and with reference to the outcomes from the district workshop.

This is now open for public comment.  This draft is also an item for discussion at the ISCCC Public Meeting on 14 September, which will unfortunately now have to be fully online, via Zoom.

We would appreciate it if anyone interested could have a look at the draft before the meeting and email any questions, comments, concerns etc beforehand to so the meeting can focus on the most significant issues, eg. ‘urban intensification’, potentially affecting Deakin, Griffith, Narrabundah, and Yarralumla.



  1. Denise Page

    Thank you for the thought and work that has gone into this draft District Planning for the inner south of Canberra. Excellent.
    One of the things that annoy me is the lack of and/or the complete ignoring by the ACT government of their own initiated public consultation.
    Not sure if you are aware but there was a competition for the planning of the Kingston Foreshores (Kingston Foreshore Competition of Ideas). The winning entry was excellent, however bears no resemblance to what has been built. I am very aware of the original concept as my husband Denis was one of the jury panel who judged the competition. The Jurists were: Cathy Santamaria, Ken Woolley, Rob Adams, Margaret Hendry, Bruce Sinclair and my husband Denis Page. This is another example of the government “doing their own thing” regardless. What now stands at the Kingston Foreshores is an overcrowding hodgepodge of buildings crammed together.
    This appears to be what is happening everywhere in Canberra, no forethought to future planning.
    I would also like to see tightening of building regulations, legislated full responsibility of developers/builders to remedy faulty workmanship or full compensation to the owners. A bankrupt developer/builder should not be allowed to operate under another registered name in the ACT if the foregoing does not take place. Canberra’s building industry has lost public trust as has the ACT government on public consultation.
    So congratulations in endeavouring to improve planning in the inner south of Canberra. I wish the committee the best of luck as I feel you will need it to achieve your aims.

  2. Geoff Randal

    I support the many recommendations to improve infrastructure, especially for active transport in our neighbourhood. I support the light rail project as a key to Canberra’s post-carbon future and as a service to the public. I also support continuing densification in our neighbourhood. This too will play a positive role in sustainability of our small city.

  3. Barbara Moore

    DRAFT INNER SOUTH CANBERRA DISTRICT STRATEGY Additional comments for consideration of the ISCCC – 8.09.2021
    1.1 Support sustainable urban growth by working towards delivering up to 70% of new housing within our existing urban footprint, and by concentrating development in areas located close to the city centre, town and group centres and along key transit corridors.
    • The future 70% housing within our existing urban footprint is an admirable aim, yet should not be achieved to the detriment of the Inner South but be applied more widely over less expensive outer suburbs with more land available for residential and commercial development that could maintain sufficient green space and provide more affordable housing.

    • Sustainable relates to access and amenity for communities. The potential cumulative impact of further urban intensification for the Inner South must be accounted. The increasing availability for workers to work from home should be considered along with what need there is for employment focus to be on Civic. Working hours could be staggered to reduce congestion. High rise apartments are becoming less viable in the continuing Covid times.

    • CZ3-Services zone previously IZ1-General industry at 1 Dairy Rd, Fyshwick, allows for apartments and townhouses integrated with commercial uses and services. Expansion of residential use beyond the current widespread caretaker’s cottage on a block is foreseeable in other areas of Fyshwick.

    • The proposed new suburb of East Lake must be required to incorporate best practice building materials and siting in order to achieve zero emissions and be solar PV compatible. With a significant increase to the Inner South population, attention is needed to address efficient transport and movement of people and the inclusion of community open spaces.

    1.3 Use infrastructure efficiently to support our growing community.
    • Parking has to be maintained to reflect the diverse needs of community. Eg More free 15minute takeaway spaces would be useful in Manuka and Kingston. Retain the current number of free 2hour spaces in Kingston and Manuka. Stallholder parking to be workable at the heritage Bus Depot Markets is essential to be adjacent the building for unloading and loading.

    • Provide public toilets at Norgrove Park at the Foreshore and the Narrabundah wetlands and playing fields on Matina Street.

    1.4 Continue to work with the NSW Government and Councils to implement joint initiatives to understand and manage growth in the Region.
    • If the station is relocated, examine potential to utilise the existing ACT rail corridor for public transport and local commuter needs and respect the needs of the Historical Rail Society.

    • Intermodal to go to Hume with joint upgrade of the railway to Hume Industrial area only following rigorous assessment to include community consultation from both NSW and the ACT.

    2.1 Respect Canberra’s culturally rich and diverse community to foster inclusion and participation in our community
    • Within the Kingston Arts Precinct site, the Old Bus Depot Markets must remain a vibrant and viable operation both during construction over the site and thereafter. Development must focus on arts values with building to respect the 2014 Masterplan and proceed with a transparent community focused process. This is a community asset.

    2.2 Enhance the diversity and resilience of our centres to meet the needs of the community, support economic viability and improved liveability.
    • Development at Kingston Centre must respect the heritage value and not allow more apartments, hotels or serviced apartments within the Centre area.

    2.4 Recognise and protect existing industrial areas and service trades areas as important elements of a diverse economy
    • Fyshwick needs a Masterplan process to prevent ad hoc over the top industrial proposals unsuited for the area. Polluting industry should relocate and have legislated controls in line with urban intensification in cities worldwide. Fyshwick is a suburb with services and large retail and commercial activity that could not be accommodated in a town or group centre.

    2.5 Plan for adequate employment land in the right location that supports a diverse range of uses including commercial and industrial land linked to supportive infrastructure, transport options and investment opportunities.
    • Residents of the Inner South need briefing and updates from Government in regard to NUZ1-Broadacre rezoning and the development of the new suburb of East Lake.

    2.6 Protect and enhance infrastructure that supports the economic development of Canberra and the region.
    • Newcastle Street which is identified in the 2016 Freight Strategy to be the B-double route through Fyshwick is on heavy vehicle overload. Particular attention is required to the offramp into Newcastle Street and the intersection of Ipswich and Cessnock Streets with Newcastle Street. With development on Dairy Road set to expand, the introduction of a freight hub into the area would deliver a poor planning outcome for an area that contributes some $2.3billion to the ACT economy. Fyshwick is a suburb of truly mixed demographic commercial, large retail and services industry and found not suitable for waste trucks nor is it suitable for freight hubs.

    3.1 Transitioning to a net zero emissions city through the uptake of renewable energy, improved building design and transport initiatives.
    • Future large developments such as the Yarralumla Brickworks Project and development at 1 Dairy Rd could be energy self-sufficient. Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels should be evidenced with no methane gas infrastructure to be provided in such developments.

    • Future suburb of East Lake should have group solar energy management of collection and storage. There should be no gas connection.

    • Ensure that the water sensitive urban design provision regarding water tanks be properly applied in regard to Access Canberra authority to check and authorise as compliant with a body or office responsible for inspecting and enforcing plumbing connections from rainwater tanks as specified by Rule 43 of the Territory Plan.

    3.2 Review planning policy and statutory mechanisms to incorporate climate change adaptation considerations and resilience criteria into urban planning and design processes…
    • Ensure adequate flood protection for existing and new developments. For example, such flood prone area which should not be built on is on the undeveloped cul de sacs of Spinnifex and Myrtle Streets adjacent Eyre Street at the Causeway.

    • Legislative instruments such as the Planning and Development Act incorporate the ACT Climate Change Strategy to apply to all development in all development tracks.

    • Allow appeal to ACAT for representors opposing development approved in the Merit Track in industrial and transport zones of the Territory Plan such as at Fyshwick.

    • Ensure that every condition of approval for development is maintained and enforced in a transparent manner by a nominated responsible section of Government.

    3.4 Plan for integrated water cycle management to support healthy waterways and a liveable city.
    • Tennant Street Fyshwick IZ1-General industry operation to be assessed and monitored for pollution into the adjacent wetland, creek and Molonglo River corridor.

    3.6 Reduce waste, improve resource efficiency and decrease our ecological footprint.
    • In the absence of ACT guidelines specific to the operation of fragmentising machines for the processing of End of Life Vehicles (ELVs) and other metals, guidelines from NSW or Queensland should apply. DA201935337 was approved with conditions for an outdoor operation at Fyshwick just 50m from Harvey Norman’s. Open air fragmentising of metal is toxic producing dust containing heavy metals and other contaminants in 2.5 particulates and less. There was no right of appeal to ACAT.

    4.1 Deliver social infrastructure that meets community needs and supports strong communities.
    • The site of the former Griffith Primary School has seen the local library relocated and now the M16-Artspace and community arts activities are to go. This site must be retained for community activities and not apartments or private health care residences and other private facilities.

    • The site of the Manuka Arts Centre should be retained for diverse community uses and not commercial sporting development.

    • A beautiful play area similar to the Arboretum playground in our new suburb of East Lake incorporating the Causeway would benefit all apartment dwellers where 89% of residents of Kingston live in high rise. Vistas and a sense of space and places families want to go to outside should be a focus for East Lake. We could do this well.

    5.1 Enhance accessibility by better integrating transport and land use.
    • Most suburbs of the Inner South – Oaks Estate, Fyshwick, Beard, Narrabundah, Griffith, Kingston, Red Hill, future East Lake, Harman will gain little benefit from the public transport Light Rail Stage 2B to Woden and/or Southlands. It is neither sustainable nor efficient to impact these suburbs with greater urban intensification in order to provide economic justification for the Light Rail Stage 2B when electric buses are to be introduced.

  4. Bruce Paine

    A big thank you to the authors of the draft.

    I largely agree with the draft, except for its strong opposition to any infill in existing RZ1 areas (for example, at Theme 1, point 1.1 on page 6 of the draft).
    For transparency, I am part-owner of a single dwelling property in a RZ1 (but non-heritage) area in inner south Canberra.

    I essentially agree with the Government’s position that most new housing should be within Canberra’s existing footprint.
    However, in my view, if existing RZ1 areas are maintained in their current format, then we risk (further) additional housing being manifest in (further) too dense/high development in other areas and/or (further) development of existing open areas.

    Personally, I can imagine a redevelopment of ‘my’ block into several compact houses in a manner that would: provide good quality housing; be more affordable in terms of build, maintenance and rates; have minimal additional impact on neighbours (beyond what is inherent in having more people living on the block); have less impact, in terms of building size etc, than what is currently allowed for new housing in RZ1 areas; and reduce pressure to develop existing open areas.

    I acknowledge the responses to the ISCCC’s survey, however I consider that a more sustainable position (both for the ISCCC and Canberra generally) would be to accept that densification in RZ1 areas could occur subject to appropriate restrictions. Such restrictions would probably need to be ‘stricter’ than currently apply within RZ1 areas in order to maintain amenity.

    2. My second point regards the likely developments between Yarralumla and Curtin, and to the west of this area between the Cotter road and the Molonglo river.
    I recognise these areas are outside of the inner south boundaries; however, I think these currently ‘undeveloped’ open areas provide significant benefit to the residents of the inner south and Woden.
    If the currently proposed and likely developments occur, there will be urban development essentially between Lake Burley Griffin and the southern extremity of the Woden Valley.
    Hence, I suggest the ISCC coordinate with other bodies, for example, the Woden Valley Community Council, to push for the retention of as much as possible of the existing open area mentioned above.

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