The Collaboration Hub

Over the last three months, during five in-depth sessions, Collaboration Hub members were immersed in all aspects of planning and development in the ACT. They were provided with access to a range of experts from across industry and government. They discussed and deliberated on ideas, issues and opportunities. At the end of the journey, the Collaboration Hub presented a recommendations report to the Minister for Planning and Land Management, Mick Gentleman, in response to the following question:

Canberra is changing – and there are many different ways our housing needs can be met.

What do we need to do?

The final session of the Housing Choices Collaboration Hub was held on Saturday 28 July 2018.

The final day involved a range of activities where participants finalised their recommendations for the report. After lunch, a closed session was held with participants around the Demonstration Housing selection criteria. Due to the confidential nature of the content, observers were asked to step out during this activity.

Mick Gentleman MLA, Minister for Planning and Land Management was presented with the final recommendations report.


The Collaboration Hub launched on Saturday 5 May 2018. It will explore issues such as what zoning should allow, what provisions and principles do Canberra’s agree as important to deliver the housing we want and plan for future needs. To find out more about the issues, challenges and solutions the Collaboration Hub will be exploring, take a look at the the Information Kit that was provided to all participants prior to the first meeting.

Invitations were sent in March to a random sample of approximately 15,000 residents. These were sent to physical addresses so as to not discriminate between those who own or rent their property.

Recruitment and selection has been managed by newDemocracy Foundation independently from Government. The Collaboration Hub Process Design provides further detail.

Collaboration Hub Day 1

Collaboration Hub - Day 1 - Saturday 5 May 2018

Housing Choices Collaboration Hub Day 1

Collaboration Hub Day 2

Collaboration Hub - Day 2 - Saturday 26 May

We had a full agenda on day 2. A highlight from the day was participants heard from the following industry representatives and their response to the question:

Canberra is changing – and there are many different ways our housing needs can be met.

What do we need to do?

  • David Shearer - Project Planning Director - Independent Property Group
  • Shane Garrett - Senior Economist - HIA public
  • Clare Wall - SGS
  • Melinda Dodson - Project Director - Melinda Dodson Architects
  • Travis Gilbert - CEO - ACT Shelter
  • Professor Barbara Norman - Chair - ACT Climate Change Council
  • Ben Phillips - Associate professor - ANU
  • Craig Wallace - ACTCOSS

Unfortunately the following representatives were unable to be with us on the day but joined us via Skype during the question and answer sessions to talk directly with participants.

  • Kerryn Wilmot - Institute Sustainable Futures
  • John Daley - CEO Grattan Institute

Thank you to all our presenters on the day. If you would like to hear what they had to say, links to the presentations are provided below.

Collaboration Hub - Barbara Norman University of Canberra

Collaboration Hub - Ben Phillips Australian National University

Collaboration Hub - Shane Garrett Housing Industry Association

Collaboration Hub - Travis Gilbert ACT Shelter

Collaboration Hub - David Shearer Independent Property Group

Collaboration Hub - Melinda Dodson - Melinda Dodson Architects

Collaboration Hub - Clare Wall SGS Canberra

Collaboration Hub - Craig Wallace ACTCOSS

Collaboration Hub Day 3

Collaboration Hub - Day 3 - Saturday 16 June

Participants again heard from a range of industry and government representatives.

If you would like to hear what they had to say, links to the presentations are provided below.

Collaboration Hub - Combined Community Councils

Collaboration Hub - Sue McGrath, Benevloent Society

Collaboration Hub - Chris Milman, Architect

Collaboration hub - Alix Kaucz, ACT Government

Collaboration Hub - Vanessa Morris and Craig Simmons, ACT Government

Collaboration Hub - Peter Johns, ACT Government

Collaboration Hub - Simon Tennant, ACT Governement

Housing Choices

Thank you to everyone who got involved in the Housing Choices conversation to date. We received significant feedback from the community with more than 600 surveys completed, more than 340 people engaged at community kiosks and over 150 written submission received. The Engagement Report provides a full summary of the feedback received. Individual submissions are available on the EPSDD Planning website.

The following key topics related to housing choices were raised:

• Age in place and downsize

• Building construction quality and policy

• Bush Capital and Garden City

• Climate and environment

• Community engagement

• Evidence base

• Housing affordability

• Housing delivery, ownership and rental models

• Housing density and infill

• Housing design quality

• Housing and block options and types

• Infrastructure planning

• Neighbourhood amenity, character and design

• Planning system (general)

• Strategic planning

• Suburb-specific comments

• Territory Plan codes and zones

The key topics demonstrate the complexity of housing policy and related challenges facing the ACT as well as the diverse range of community participants involved in the consultation process. What we have heard so far in this process is that there is a wide range of housing types desired and needed to suit the needs of the diverse members of our community.

This report will inform the second stage of community engagement - the Collaboration Hub which will run from May - July 2018.

How do we improve housing choice?

The Canberra community has always shown considerable interest and involvement in the planning of our city. Housing policies have again come to the fore, with considerable interest in housing choice and affordability.

To date, and consistent with the 2012 ACT Planning Strategy, housing choices policy has focused on encouraging a more compact city by focusing a balance of urban infill and city expansion, urban intensification in town centres, group centres and along the major public transport routes.

It is recognised there also needs to be greater choice in existing residential areas, with a focus on areas close to existing services, facilities, workplaces, educational institutions and alternative transport options.

The Housing Choices Discussion Paper provides a dedicated forum for conversations on housing choice and diversity to continue. The discussion paper seeks the community’s views on housing choice and the expansion of residential options.

The challenge is to get the balance right between enabling development to meet the demand for choice, whilst also achieving urban design principles to protect and enhance existing character and amenity in the established suburbs. The ACT Government values your input and wants to hear your ideas. Your feedback will inform any proposed updates to government policies and our planning framework.

Demonstration Housing

What is Demonstration Housing?

Expressions of interest have now closed

The ACT Government is committed to the planning and delivery of housing that supports a vibrant, compact and sustainable city. It is important that Canberra, as the nation's capital, takes a national leadership role on housing design and delivery. Our city's growth and demographic changes highlight the need to take a closer look at how our current housing strategy responds to those changes.

Demonstration Housing Precincts provide an opportunity to showcase innovative housing design and delivery in real world examples, including:

  • infill compact housing
  • small houses
  • co-housing
  • mixed-tenure
  • design-led
  • long-term rental housing.

The Government is now seeking innovative development proposals that target a number of demonstration areas, including:

  • environmental performance
  • innovative design
  • innovative delivery or tenure
  • affordability.

The expression of interest (EOI) will be run in two stages. The first stage has now closed and aims to assess the market interest, capability and experience of suitably qualified and experienced applicants to provide proposals for Demonstration Housing Projects which meet some or all of the project objectives specified by the Legislative Assembly. Applicants may include architects, designers, planners, developers, community and social housing providers, builders, community organisations and individuals.

After assessing proposals received from the Stage 1 EOI, the Directorate will refine the requirements for the next stage of the process. Stage 1 EOI does not require detailed plans to be prepared. Proposals that already have a site, and those for which a site has not yet been identified will be accepted. The Stage 1 EOI should include the information required as outlined in the returnable schedules. A list of Territory owned sites which may be considered for sale to successful Applicants will be advised as part of the Stage 2 process. It is intended that Demonstration Housing Projects will be distributed across districts in the ACT.

A range of incentives for Demonstration Housing Projects will be considered by Government. Expressions of Interest must identify any particular assistance that would be required from Government to ensure project viability. This could include exemptions from specific Territory Plan controls, identification of appropriate sites, or assistance with industry expertise and project coordination.