Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Gai Brodtmann MP

Member for Canberra

Simon Corbell MLA

ACT Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development

Sustainable growth secured for Molonglo

Media release
04 November 2011

The Australian and ACT Governments have agreed on a plan that will provide certainty for long-term growth in the nation's capital and one that will minimise the footprint from development on the natural environment.

Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, joined ACT Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Simon Corbell to announce the Commonwealth Government's endorsement of the ACT's Molonglo Valley Plan for the Protection of Matters of National Environmental Significance.

This plan, which underwent a rigorous strategic environmental assessment by both governments, reflects the ACT Government's Molonglo and North Weston Structure Plan for urban development in east Molonglo.

"This strategic assessment of the Molonglo region under national environment law will enable sustainable communities to accommodate Canberra's growing population, while safeguarding our environment," Mr Burke said.

"This agreement will reduce red tape, and provide long-term certainty to the community and developers for sustainable urban development and improved housing supply."

Mr Corbell welcomed the Commonwealth's endorsement and said that the planning for the development of sustainable suburbs in the Molonglo Valley could now proceed.

"This decision has given the green light to planning and development to begin in the ACT's next frontier, the Molonglo Valley, which will involve the construction of affordable housing for up to 55,000 people," Mr Corbell said.

"This also achieves significant conservation outcomes for matters of national environmental significance like habitats for nationally threatened species and ecological communities such as the pink-tailed worm lizard, natural temperate grasslands and box gum woodland, which is also a foraging habitat for the swift and superb parrots."

"I am confident that the size and quality of proposed offset areas, the proposed adaptive management strategy and commitments to minimise impacts are good conservation outcomes for matters of national environmental significance in the Molonglo Valley," he said.

The ACT Government has provided high-level assurance that management arrangements will be established and implemented to deliver positive outcomes into the long term.

Under the strategic assessment the governments also considered the impacts of peri-urban development in west Molonglo, ensuring that future developments can be better planned under the same strict guidelines.

"Strategic assessments ensure long-term environmental protection by looking at the impacts and potential benefits to the environment over the whole landscape before development begins. This helps to shape proposals from the earliest stage, rather than requiring them to be modified later," said Mr Burke.

Federal Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, welcomed the agreement.

"Canberra is a growing city and today's announcement is a great result for our community," said Ms Brodtmann.

"It allows us to plan for population growth and development in an environmentally sustainable way."

The Molonglo Valley strategic environmental assessment was the third to be endorsed by the Australian Government under national environment law. This approach aligns with the Gillard Government's Sustainable Australia - Sustainable Communities strategy, which aims to ensure future population change supports the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of the nation.