Making our city even better

Announcing the Urban Improvement Fund

One of the issues that is most often raised with me in my role as Chief Minister is the look and feel of the city we live in. 

Whether it be mowing or footpaths, the need for new playgrounds and spaces and places for Canberrans to exercise in, parking and roads – my fortnightly talkback sessions on local ABC radio are dominated by those who have an interest in wanting their city to look it’s best.  More often than not I agree with them. 

I think most Canberrans share a great sense of pride in the city we live in and it is not just about being the national capital.  It is often as simple as being able to enjoy the walk with the kids down to the neighbourhood playground, walking the dog around the lake, driving past community parks or ovals and seeing them freshly mowed or seeing the local shops with a fresh lick of paint.  These are the things that Canberrans enjoy about living day to day in our city, and we spend around $120 million every year ensuring that these amenities are the best they can be.

But we live in a growing city, and as our city expands, the demand to keep up with maintenance and upgrades also grows.

Canberra is a thriving city and we continue to enjoy a very high standard of living.  We have seen significant increases in development and investment in the city – and Canberra remains an attractive investment choice.  I am confident that investment in the city by both the public and private sector will continue to increase in coming years.  I also believe that the entire community needs to share in the benefits that come with that growth and modernisation of our city.

That’s why together with Treasurer Andrew Barr, I have announced that the charges developers pay to change the permitted use of land (for instance if a developer wants to knock down a single house to build some units), go directly back to neighbourhoods, local shops, mowing the grass and fixing footpaths and maintaining playgrounds or building new ones.

The announcement – to establish an Urban Investment Fund – will see exactly that happen on annual basis.  This year the money the ACT Government will receive from the charge on Developers will amount to $22 million. 

Put simply, this fund will see the reinvestment of the returns from development back into the community. 

This is fair, it is focused and it benefits everyone.  Better parks, better playgrounds, better roads.

What do you think?