There’s been a lot of exciting announcements over the last few weeks about the future of Belconnen and the ACT. The draft Territory Plan Variation will change the look and feel of some areas in the Town Centre, the Belco Bikeway is coming and the path around the lake will finally be completely joined up.
I hope you find this newsletter a useful update.
If you ever need to get in touch with me, please call me on 6205 0100, email [email protected] or chat to me at one of my regular mobile offices.
What’s in the ACT Budget for Belconnen?
The ACT Budget was handed down on 5 June. I’m proud to report that it includes:
- $10.5 million to improve walking and cycling connections into and throughout the Belconnen Town Centre with the Belconnen Bikeway (see over) and to extend the path around Lake Ginninderra so that it finally connects up on the lakeside of the Belconnen Arts Centre with a boardwalk
- $15 million to upgrade the emergency department at Calvary Hospital, refurbish the Adult Mental Health Unit and invest in new clinical equipment
- $10 million for more mowing, weeding, graffiti removal, cleaning up local waterways and tree trimming around Canberra
- A boost in funding for our local libraries
- Just over $8 million to upgrade the intersections at Tillyard/Ginninderra Drive and Kuringa/Owen Dixon Drive
- $2.2 million to restore Higgins Neighbourhood Oval with new turf, a new irrigation system, lighting and a pavilion with toilet facilities
Other key Budget Items
I’m also proud that the from 1 July 2019 the ACT Government will abolish stamp duty for all first home buyers with a household income of under $160,000 a year. This means that no matter where you want to buy, what type of property you want to buy or how much it costs, you will not have to pay stamp duty.
We’re also investing in our emergency services, with more resources for ACT Police, the recruitment of 18 new firefighters and purchasing a new aerial pumper fire truck.
Town Centre Draft Territory Plan Variation
A draft Territory Plan Variation for the Belconnen Town Centre is out for public comment. It intends to formalise recommendations from the Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan. Some of the changes proposed are:
- allowing a 1500m2 supermarket along Eastern Valley Way
- rezoning the old Belconnen Health Centre to commercial facilities
- formalising maximum building heights on various sites
End of Life Choices in the ACT
Earlier this year, the Chief Minister announced that it’s a 2018 Government priority to restore the ACT’s right to make our own laws on voluntary assisted dying. He is working with the Northern Territory Chief Minister to lobby the federal parliament to overturn the federal law which prevents the Territories making their own laws on this issue.
Separately, the ACT Assembly has established a Select Committee on End of Life Choices, investigating whether and how a voluntary assisted dying scheme could work in the ACT. I’m a member of this Committee.
Earlier this year the Committee received a record breaking number of submissions to its inquiry, with just under 500 people having their say.
In May, the Committee held public hearings. We listened to doctors, nurses, palliative care experts, the multicultural community and spiritual leaders.
The Committee will be issuing its report at the end of this year but in the meantime you can rewatch the hearings here: http://aod.parliament.act.gov.au.
University of Canberra Hospital Open Day
The University of Canberra Hospital: Specialist Centre for Rehabilitation, Recovery and Research will be holding an open day before it opens on Saturday 16 June between 11am and 4pm.
The site is on the corner of Ginninderra Drive and Aikman Drive.
See you there!
The Government has released the plan for the Belco Bikeway to better connect the Town Centre and improve safety.
The design comes directly from a recommendation in the Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan, which had an extraordinary amount of community consultation.
Since being elected, I’ve been focused on getting these Master Plan recommendations implemented and funded. The Bikeway will:
- make use of the old disused Joynton Smith busway
- include parts with separated cycle (3m) and pedestrian (2m) pathways
- connect the Town Centre from Coulter Drive all the way through to the University of Canberra
- improve cycleways and upgrading intersections down Benjamin Way
Head to www.yoursay.act.gov.au/belconnen-bikeway to give your thoughts on the design and what sort of amenities should be installed. Comments are due by 2 July. Construction is expected to start later this year.
New waste initiatives
I’ve advocated for green bins for a long time and they’re arriving in Belconnen in September. Keep an eye out for when you can register to get yours.
The container deposit scheme starts 30 June. By returning eligible drink containers, you’ll be able to get a 10c refund or donate the money to charity. More info is at www.actcds.com.au
Until next time,