The below statement is attributable to Howard Maclean, Convenor, Greater Canberra.

Today, the NSW Government announced a package of ambitious planning reforms, which are a much more substantial and serious policy response to the housing and climate crises than anything in the ACT’s Planning System Review or the new planning system. 

These planning reforms include substantial medium-density upzoning within the walkable catchments of all Greater Sydney transport hubs, but will also legalise dual occupancies in all R2 (low density residential) zoned areas of NSW.

This will apply to suburban residential areas in the Canberra Region of NSW, including in Queanbeyan, Bungendore, Googong, Murrumbateman and Braidwood. While dual occupancies can be built on certain very large R2 blocks under existing local rules, we expect the new statewide rules, to be released next week, will enable significantly more housing in the Canberra Region.

This is good news for Canberrans. More housing supply in the Canberra Region will put downward pressure on rents and housing costs, and reduce demand for environmentally damaging greenfield development. We believe the NSW Government should consider further medium-density zoning reforms in ACT border regions that form part of the Canberra metropolitan area.

It is likely that the R2 upzoning policy announced today by the NSW government will be substantially more ambitious than the ACT Government’s half-hearted reform to RZ1 policy announced in September. The ACT Government’s policy only allows dual occupancies on large blocks (over 800 square metres), doesn’t allow for anything more than two dwellings, and is hamstrung by other rules that will result in poor take up. 

The ACT Government now has the third most ambitious upzoning policy for suburban Canberra - after the NSW Labor Government and the Canberra Liberals. 

It’s time for the ACT to match the ambition of the NSW reforms by adopting Missing Middle Canberra’s platform of zoning reforms, which has been reflected in both the ACT Labor platform and ACT Greens planning policy. 

To further discuss why we need the Missing Middle Canberra reforms, media and members of the public are invited to join us at our panel event, Why Canberra needs the Missing Middle at Verity Lane Market, 6pm, Wednesday 29 November.

Media contact: Howard Maclean, Convenor, [email protected]