19 September 2019


ACT Government must heed Planning Committee’s recommendations on Coombs

The Conservation Council ACT Region today welcomed recommendations from the Legislative Assembly’s Planning Committee on the Molonglo River Reserve (DV360) and called on the ACT Government to rethink plans for housing development on the Coombs Peninsula.

The Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Renewal today recommended that the bulk of the area of Coombs Peninsula – land bounded by the Molonglo River that is currently slated for future housing- is rezoned to NUZ23 Hills, Ridges and Buffer Zone and that the Future Urban Area Overlay is removed from the rezoned area.

“The Conservation Council has been fighting to prevent housing on this special area since 2010 because of impacts on the habitat of the endangered Pink-tailed Worm-lizard and the potential fire risk to residents, so it’s welcome news that today the Assembly Planning Committee has recommended the ACT Government rethink the future of this area,” said Helen Oakey, Executive Director.

“Putting the Coombs Peninsula aside for urban open space would both ameliorate the risk to the environmental values, as well as protect it for future use by nearby residents and all Canberrans.

“The Coombs Peninsula, from which there are scenic views, sits bounded by the Molonglo River and is a special headland that should be set aside as a reserve where people can recreate and enjoy the natural environment. Urban open space fosters a sense of community, and can boost physical and mental wellbeing, helping us destress from busy lives.

“This beautiful piece of land shouldn’t be sold off for just a few to enjoy. The Government needs to put a halt to plans for urban development on the Peninsula and think about the long-term needs of the whole community who will, with higher-density living, need high-quality urban open space.

“In addition, leaving the area as urban open space will ensure that the Pink-tailed Worm-lizard  habitat will be protected, and that there will be enough area to manage fire risks in the future.

“The Planning Committee has warned against any further planning being undertaken via the Estate Development Plan, stating that this will “presume a development outcomes rather than an environmental and recreational outcome.

“The Conservation Council also welcomes the Committee’s call for community consultation to ensure sustainable and viable options for the future of the Peninsula.

“While Canberra is a growing city and further housing will be required for residents, as a community we must protect special places for the whole community to enjoy, rather than aim to squeeze as many residences as possible onto available land. This will ensure that our suburbs, be they existing or new, maintain their liveability into the future,” said Ms Oakey.

Media contact:

Helen Oakey, Executive Director, Conservation Council ACT Region 0402 052 777