ACT Labor calls-in environmentally risky development after request from private developer

Australian Greens

Today, the ACT Greens have raised the alarm about the Minister for Planning’s choice to use ‘call-in’ powers after a private developer requested the decision from the former Planning Minister’s Office.

ACT Greens Spokesperson for Planning, Jo Clay, said the decision was a slap in the face for Canberrans concerned about environmental protection and bush fire risk.

“The ACT Greens understand that last year, a private developer sent a request to the former Planning Minister’s Office, requesting this call-in,” said Ms Clay.

“If you needed any more evidence that Labor is in bed with developers, this announcement should suffice.

“What’s worse, this decision goes against the spirit of the new planning laws passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly in June last year.

“If the Planning Minister wants to build homes in the ACT, he should first look at his own planning system, listen to the Canberra community and build more homes within our current footprint.

“This call-in will not deliver any new homes for at least 3 to 5 years. The rezoning that the Greens asked for in August 2023 would deliver more homes sooner than this environmentally destructive greenfield sprawl. We are sick of Labor pitting housing against the environment.

“Over the past couple of years, Canberrans have raised significant concern about building on the outskirts of our city. Canberrans want and deserve a bush capital that stays the bush capital.

ACT Greens Environment Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, said she was not consulted on the matter, raising concerns about the implications of using call-in powers for environmental conservation and bush fire preparedness.

“The ACT Greens want to protect our environment while increasing housing supply,” said Greens Minister for the Environment Rebecca Vassarotti.

“We can and need to do this by increasing the number of homes in our city through duplexes, medium sized homes and townhouses.

“We need more houses, but we don’t need to destroy our precious environment to build them.

“I am concerned that the Minister did not raise his decision to use these call-in powers with me prior to this announcement.

“The Western Edge of Canberra contains several threatened ecological communities and protected species. This specific site is right next to the ecologically significant Bluetts Block. I have previously raised my concerns about this with the Minister directly.

“Only yesterday a parliamentary committee heard from several witnesses about the increasing risk of bushfire given plans for development on the Western Edge of Canberra.

“Development that damages or risks our environment is unacceptable. What remains of our natural environment needs to be protected at all costs.

“The minute we give in to environmental destruction, is the minute we lose the battle against climate change and species extinction.

“The Greens have long opposed the use of call-in powers.

“Call-in powers are unnecessary. They ignore community input and bypass proper scrutiny and process.

/Public Release. View in full here.