WVCC Candidates Forum for the ACT Election

An invitation to attend

WVCC Candidates’ Forum
When: 7-9pm Wednesday 2 September 2020  (refreshments at 9pm)
Where: Corinna Room Canberra Southern Cross Club
Chair: WVCC President Dr Jenny Stewart

Let the debate begin!

Come and listen to, and question our sitting and aspiring members of the Legislative Assembly.
This is a critical election, with many vital issues, both local and city-wide, to be discussed and determined in the next 4 years
Note, too that the result in our electorate (Murrumbidgee) could well determine who governs Canberra for the next 4 years

The format

Each candidate will have roughly 10 minutes to tell us something about themselves, and to bring out their priorities if elected.
There will then be 5 minutes of Q and A for each candidate
NB This is a Covid-Safe event

Confirmed attendees

Independent Candidate
Fiona Carrick
ACT Greens
Emma Davidson
Canberra Liberals
Jeremy Hanson
Giuila Jones

            Ed Cocks

Amardeep Singh
Sarah Suine
Canberra Progressives
Robert Knight
ACT Labor
Chris Steel
Dr Marisa Paterson
Brendan Long

Before you come along, read what the candidates said in response to WVCC’s questions
Note: responses are presented in the order in which they were received by WVCC

Issues Vision and Goals

What do you see as the key issues for Woden Valley, now and into the future?
What is your vision for Woden Valley?

If elected, what goals do you hope you will have achieved 4 years from now?

Responses from Fiona Carrick (Independent)

Fiona’s Key issues for Woden Valley

  • jobs and livelihoods

Cost of living

  • affordable homes and rates

Planning for an increasing population and densification

  • Health and education – renewing old infrastructure and delivering greater capacity
  • Access to great sunny public spaces and community facilities to reduce car trips
  • Keeping the tree canopy

Light rail

  • Polarising – what is its objective?
    • Some people want it for city building
    • Some people want public transport outcomes


  • Collaboration, transparency and accountability
  • Focus on Dickson to the lake and not on the suburbs

Fiona’s Vision
A plan for the social, economic and environmental development of the south
Planning that is people focussed and future proofs better

  • balance between homes, sunny public spaces and community facilities at our shops to bring people together and create a strong economy that supports small business and creates jobs, with everyone having a home
  • infrastructure and support for our health and education workers
  • tree canopy and rivers
  • governance that is collaborative, transparent and accountable

great public transport that is fast, frequent and convenient

Fiona’s Goals if elected
In 4 years I would have changed the reputation of the town centre to be somewhere that people and business want to be. We will have

  • a strategic plan developed for the social, economic, and environmental development of the Town Centre and hospital precinct that is exciting and attracts people and business
  • The reputation of the hospital is improving and it is attracting health workers
  • built the CIT as an anchor for the Town Centre with a plan to create a community hub with and arts centre and recreational facilities
  • connected the hospital to the Town Centre with development starting for a new education/innovation precinct and allied health (hydrotherapy pool) on the oval to the west (moved oval to the old CIT site)
  • We will have rezoned the Town Centre to include mixed building heights, sunny public spaces and community facilities.

Responses from Robert Knight Canberra Progressives for Murrumbidgee

Robert’s key issues for Woden Valley – active transport, the hospital precinct, school infrastructure, safer streets, high rise development in the town centre, Coolamon Court and Molonglo commercial facilities, COVID recovery stimulus.

Robert’s vision – A less car centric, people friendly town centre, welcoming to people of all ages at all times of the year, surrounded suburbs well connected by an integrated active and public transport network. I’d also be pushing for a regular set of community events across the year to tap into, and build upon Woden’s character and spirit.

Robert’s Goals – The establishment of a truly engaging participative democracy process where the community has an active part in decision making, particularly with respect to budgets, and major infrastructure and development decisions.

Responses from Canberra Liberals

Issues, Vision and Goals for Woden valley
The Woden Valley has been forgotten and neglected for many years. Woden has seen the loss of educational and employment bases in the town centre, and local shops such as Mawson have been left in need of major investment and renewal for years. Recent residential development in the town centre, while welcomed, has not been properly thought through and there are many unanswered questions about what the overall vision the area.
A Canberra Liberals Government will reverse the years of neglect of the Woden Valley, and ensure that there is a genuine focus on ensuring everyone in Woden can get ahead.
We will reduce cost of living pressures, including by freezing rates, so that local families have more to spend on the things that matter.
We will invest in local infrastructure, including upgrading local roads, fixing local shops and increase community amenity.
We will protect green spaces and ensure that future developments in the town centre maintain light, the openness of the area.
We will deliver better education, sporting and recreational facilities and the protection and enhancement of the town centre as a major employment base.
In short, a Canberra Liberals Government will deliver lower taxes and better services so everyone can get ahead.

Responses from ACT Greens  (Emma Davidson)

Issues and Vision
Woden should be a district where everyone has the opportunity to live, work, learn, play, and enjoy our green spaces and reserves.
But poor planning has decimated community facilities, overcrowded our remaining schools, reduced local employment opportunities, and paved over green spaces.
The Greens have a plan to invest in local infrastructure that will create jobs and improve our neighbourhoods, such as improvements to footpaths, lighting, and bus services as well as significant investment in trees and our environment. We want to give the community – not property developers – control over planning and infrastructure decisions. And we  want  to invest in community facilities for sports and the arts, as well as public transport and our parks and reserves.

Real progress towards 30% tree canopy cover for every Canberra suburb, including  more  people employed to maintain and care for our trees, parks and reserves as wildlife habitat and so everyone can enjoy our beautiful bushland.
Multi-purpose indoor sports courts and community spaces in the Woden Town Centre. A live music venue and arts precinct in the Woden CIT development.
Continued improvement to urban planning processes to ensure the community has a greater say in how our neighbourhoods develop.
A transport network where everyone has options other than getting in the car, including more buses, well planned light rail, and better infrastructure for walking and cycling.

Answers to specific questions from Council members and Residents’ Associations

What are your views on the City to Woden light rail?

Fiona Carrick

  • I want a fast, frequent and reliable rapid link between Woden and the City.
  • I will advocate for transparency and accountability around light rail so the public understands the objectives of the project when forming their views about the merits of the project.
  • I will advocate for the business case to contain clarity:
    • identification of the problem to be solved (including updated patronage forecasts for COVID-19) and the timing to solve the problem
    • objectives of the project (I find everyone has a different view):
      • public transport outcomes
      • land use (densification) outcomes
      • city building (Canberra has grown up)
  • an options analysis (including rapid electric bus services)
  • benefit/cost analysis (clearly broken down so we can see what is being monetised to make up the benefits, including land use benefits)

Robert Knight (Canberra Progressives)
I am in support of the light rail as a critical trunk, mass transit option connecting Woden to the City and beyond. When coupled with supportive policies, light rail is proven urban and economic revitalization tool.

Canberra Liberals
The Canberra Liberals believe that now we have light rail, we need to be doing all we can to ensure Canberrans receive a return on their investment. At the same time, any further stages need to stack up financially and achieve legitimate transport benefits.

A thorough cost benefit analysis is essential for the project and any extension of light rail must not come at the expense of important local bus services that are valued by the community.

ACT Greens
Light rail has the potential to bring new life and energy to the Woden Town Centre, and is an important step towards better public transport connections in Woden. However it is important that Stage 2 is well planned, with express services to Woden. We want light rail stops that feel safe for everyone after dark, more bike cages, and connecting paths that make it safe and easy for everyone to walk or cycle from stops.
It’s important to note that light rail is just one part of a good transport network. We will still need buses as part  of our network, and the Greens want to increase the frequency of buses. We want planning for future bus routes and schedules to include the needs of people who are reliant on buses for transport, including older Canberrans, people with disabilities, parents and carers travelling outside peak hour, and people travelling on weekends.

Planning and community consultation
Are the current practices and procedures adequate, in your opinion?

Fiona Carrick

Robert Knight
They’re abysmal, and need drastic overhaul.

Canberra Liberals
The Canberra Liberals are committed to improving Canberra’s planning system. We do not support the Labor-Greens approach to planning which is characterised by complex processes, dodgy deals and a lack of a genuine two-way community consultation and conversation. The secret land swap deal to develop diplomatic estates and high-rise apartments on the Curtin Horse Paddocks is an obvious example of this.
A Canberra Liberals Government will fight to save the highly valued Curtin Horse Paddocks from development. A Canberra Liberals Government will also stop the Labor & Greens plans to develop hundreds of apartments on the West Basin. We will give interested Canberrans ample opportunity to have their say on its use.
A Canberra Liberals Government will prioritise greater transparency in city planning, including genuine community consultation and adhere to the objects of the Heritage Act 2004 and Planning and Development Act 2007.

ACT Greens
The Greens believe that substantial change to the planning system is required.

The Greens will be shortly announcing our planning commitments for the election. These will address issues like:

  • better protection for trees and green space;
  • helping residents who are impacted by development proposals to have their say and be heard;
  • improving the quality of development; and
  • addressing climate change and reducing the environmental impacts of development.

This will build on the work we have been doing over the last 4 years, including:

  • Planning legislation to improve consultation and have greenhouse gas emissions addressed in the planning system for the first time
  • A successful three year campaign to focus attention on the loss of urban trees, which has resulted in:
    • A 30% tree canopy target being set for Canberra’s urban area
  • Funding to lift the number of park and street trees planted each year from 1,500 to 8,500
  • Draft changes to planning rules to make room for trees as part of new developments
  • Consultation on potential changes to the Tree Protection Act  to  save  more trees from development
  • Backing WVCC’s concerns about planning changes for Woden and Mawson, through Murrumbidgee Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur’s work on the Assembly Standing Committee for Planning and Urban Renewal
  • Standing with the community against bad development, including redevelopment at Curtin Shops

On consultation issues, we will also be announcing a major  Neighbourhood  Democracy package shortly.

How do you propose to manage capacity and infrastructure in primary schools given Woden’s growing population?

Fiona Carrick
Investigate the options to reopen one of the primary schools that has direct access to the residential towers (possibly Chifley or Lyons) for the safe access by the children.

Robert Knight
There is clearly a mis-match between what know in terms of population trends, and education infrastructure spending. I’d propose the government establishes a task force to develop, while engaging the community, a comprehensive snapshot of the shortfall, and opportunities. Then – act on it.

Canberra Liberals
The Canberra Liberals recognise our schools are a core part of our community and are committed to ensuring that we provide our children with the safest and best learning environments in the country.
A Canberra Liberals Government will provide a $15 million boost for maintenance of our government schools. We need to maintain and support our school communities who have ageing and failing infrastructure. This additional funding will be for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance; with priorities informed by a thorough infrastructure and maintenance audit.
A Canberra Liberals Government will study population projections and respond appropriately so local schools are able to cater to increased population.

ACT Greens
The Greens want a fully funded public, secular education system to meet the needs of ACT students in all their diversity. We believe that it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the provision of high-quality, well-resourced and safe learning environments that are open to all students.
We understand that the community needs to have confidence in the government’s projections and planning for schools. While we welcome the Minister for Education’s recently released forward plan for managing school capacity across the ACT, we don’t believe  it  provides  a public and tangible plan for the Woden Valley. I will continue to advocate for the best possible demographic data to be used and for the concerns of the Woden community to be heard, not sidelined, when considering the actual needs of the effective ‘catchment area’ not just a simplistic suburb analysis.
The Greens will be releasing further education commitments for the election in coming weeks.

Active travel
As traffic continues to grow in built up areas (eg around Canberra hospital), how do you propose keeping Woden’s streets safe for active transport (which is an ACT Govt priority)?

Investigate options to build an off road cycle highway between Woden and the City, build off road access to the town centre from the suburbs

We need a serious rethink about our transport infrastructure budget. It needs to be rebalanced, and prioritised for more vulnerable users in suburbs, significant crossing points, and in the town centre. We should be looking to the Dutch as an example of how to alter our road infrastructure to calm traffic and look after our most vulnerable users.

Canberra Liberals
A Canberra Liberals Government will work with the community to ensure safe active travel is maintained. We will work to improve access and transport links in and around the town centre, ensuring travel by foot, bus, bike or car are as smooth and convenient as possible.
As part of this commitment, the Canberra Liberals will address access concerns for the new SPIRE building at the Canberra Hospital. We do not believe that emergency vehicles should access a major emergency department by a suburban street with a primary school on it.

ACT Greens
The Greens want to start a cycling revolution by investing in infrastructure such as dedicated cycle paths that are physically separated from cars, and more bike cages and lockers. This will provide more Canberrans with options for how they travel, including people who aren’t confident cycling on busy roads with only a painted line separating them from cars. With reduced road traffic and low interest rates, now is the perfect time to build cycling and walking infrastructure that will last for generations to come, and is far cheaper to maintain than roads for cars.
We also want to create jobs and make our neighbourhoods safe for everyone by improving lighting and footpaths.
And we want our walking and cycling infrastructure integrated with our public transport network, reducing the need to use cars for the last mile and making it possible to travel longer distances.
This builds on our success in securing over $30 million for  active travel infrastructure since 2016. This has funded key cycle   links like the upcoming construction of the Heysen Street    Link from Woden to Weston Creek and a protected cycleway in Woden Town Centre from Launceston Street to Callam Street.

Green open space
What are your views about rezoning green open space, recreational land and wildlife corridors for private development as part of the draft Red Hill Integrated Plan?

I believe that our challenge going forward is the balance between buildings and green space as we densify. We should identify all the urban open space and corridors required for the environment and recreation purposes and protect them.

There needs to be a very genuine need identified if we’re ever to develop in these places. As it stands, I don’t see it.

Canberra Liberals
The Canberra Liberals value green space in our suburbs and have committed to a Green Space Guarantee, and to plant and care for One Million Trees.
Under our plan Canberrans can be assured that we will guarantee green space within a 10-minute walk from home. The Canberra Liberals will guarantee that open grassed areas are in place and maintained this will ensure our city remains the Bush Capital of Australia.
A Canberra Liberals Government will consult with the community and address concerns before finalising the draft Red Hill Integrated Plan. We are fully committed to genuine consultation, a two- way community conversation where decisions are made with the involvement of residents, working with the community to reach the best outcome.

ACT Greens
Murrumbidgee Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur has been supporting residents opposed to the Federal Golf Club’s proposal over the last 4 years with advice and assistance  such  as  submitting Freedom of Information requests. The Integrated Plan and rejection of the Golf Club’s initial proposal is a result of Caroline working with other parties in the Assembly to force the Planning Minister to put the proposal on hold until a proper investigation and plan is undertaken.
The Greens support the rejection by the Integrated Plan of the Golf Club’s repeated proposals for development at the northern end of the golf course. The Greens have campaigned against these proposals over many years now. This area is not suitable for development due to the  road access through the Red Hill Nature Reserve, the important ecological value of the land   and the bushfire risk.
If the Golf Course is genuinely unviable, the Greens believe that the environmental and recreational values of the area should be prioritised in any decisions about the future of the site. This should apply to any changes to the site, not just the current proposal, because even under the current zoning, activities inappropriate for the site could be approved, such as a mega-hotel development or inappropriate recreation uses such as dirt bikes perhaps.
Any future development, whether recreation or other, should meet the following conditions:

  • Development should only be permitted if the golf course is genuinely unviable
  • Development should be limited in scale and impact. Inappropriate options like high-rise apartments and hotels should be ruled out
  • Development of the northern fringe of the Golf Course should be permanently ruled out and traffic on the current road access should not grow substantially
  • Ecological areas on the boundaries between the golf  course  and the Nature Reserve and the Hughes-Garran Woodland should be transferred to the ACT Government for urban open space protection
  • Substantial public access should be maintained and adjoining residents  should have their amenity protected
  • Loss of trees should be minimised and offset to other locations in the area, preferably   in coordination with local groups such as the Red Hill Regenerators and the Hughes Garran Woodland Group

The development proposed in the Integrated Plan should only be considered if the alternatives are a worse loss of environmental and recreation values, e.g. a firesale of the golf course to a developer or an inappropriate recreation use.

Recreational facilities in and adjacent to the Town Centre and in Woden Valley
Your views on what is needed?

Fiona (Independent)
•             A multi-purpose sports stadium (at least 500 seats)
•             An arts centre
•             A resolution to the pool and ice rink – considering the option to separate them and turning the existing site into a double sheet facility and building an aquatic centre elsewhere.
•             Pitch n putt would be good too

Robert (Canberra Progressives)
Good urban design incorporates plenty of quality spaces for amenities like parks, playgrounds, skate parks, community gardens and other uses. We can’t simply rely on Eddison park, and the closed off Phillip Oval as the only two spaces available. If and when we do redevelopment different portions of land in the town centre, it needs to be done in a coordinated, and strategic way, so as to ensure we build enough facilities. Developers should be required through regulations to create these spaces as a part of their developments, depending upon footprint and heights.

Canberra Liberals
The Canberra Liberals want to make Canberra the recreation and amateur sports capital of Australia. We will provide additional sports and recreation facilities in Woden and surrounds which will be announced in coming weeks.
We also will maintain the nature of Canberra as the Bush Capital, a city where everyone can enjoy access to nature and outdoor recreational space in a natural environment.

ACT Greens (Emma Davidson)
As I have said many times at Woden Community Council meetings, Woden Town Centre needs multi-use indoor sports courts. Community meeting rooms should also be included.
Woden Town Centre also lacks arts and cultural spaces. Including a live music venue and arts precinct in the Woden CIT development would activate the Woden Town Centre after dark, provide employment opportunities for CIT students in hospitality courses, much-needed space for bands to play and artists to hold exhibitions, as well as bring vibrancy and increased community safety to the area in the evenings.
Protecting our town centre green space, such as Eddison Park, is important not just to mitigate the impacts of climate change, but to ensure that there are open natural and recreational spaces for the growing number of people living in the area in apartments. We also want the Garran oval returned to its original state once Canberra Health Services relocates  the  COVID-19 ‘pop up’ surge capacity building, and the reestablishment of the cricket nets.


Based on current modelling, SPIRE once complete (predicted for 2024) will not be big enough to meet the growing demand for hospital beds and services in the ACT and surrounding region. How do you propose to address this and therefore “future-proof” our hospital system?

Fiona (Independent)
•             Creating a campus that attracts health staff because it is renewed with the right infrastructure in the right spots, has great technology and employs enough staff.
•             Moving the playing fields to the demolished CIT site
•             Moving the ANU medical school, allied health (hydrotherapy pool) and admin to the current playing fields and creating a health innovation hub
•             Build SPIRE on building 3 which is 1.2 hectares and is in the centre of the hospital to create an effective hub and spoke model with the clinical wards and parking surrounding SPIRE
•             Spreading the traffic with non-clinical activity using Ainsworth street
•             Connecting the hospital to the Town Centre
Do you support a public hydrotherapy pool to replace the one that closed recently in TCH?
•             yes

Robert (Canberra Progressives)
The Canberra Progressives would like to understand the feasibility of two new health facilities, in the mould of the Queanbeyan hospital on the North and South side of Canberra respectively. The Woden site is maxed out. Let’s look elsewhere and take facilities closer to other residents.
Do you support a public hydrotherapy pool to replace the one that closed recently in TCH?

Canberra Liberals
Canberrans are yet to receive the health infrastructure they have been promised by Labor and the Greens since 2010. The planning process for SPIRE has been chaotic, and the current position and layout of the planned site is not ideal.
A Canberra Liberals Government will enhance SPIRE with additional surgery capacity and improve the positioning and layout to allow access of emergency vehicles to and from Yamba Drive rather than Palmer Street.
A Canberra Liberals Government will develop, in government, a comprehensive forward health plan to ensure that Canberrans can have easy access to a nation leading health system.
Do you support a public hydrotherapy pool to replace the one that closed recently in TCH?
The Canberra Liberals were the only party to fight to save the TCH hydrotherapy pool and to
advocate for suitable replacement on the southside. Unfortunately, Labor and the Greens were determined to close this pool and have not provided a suitable replacement.
The Canberra Liberals support greater investment in preventative health services, including hydrotherapy, and will ensure that hydrotherapy is available in South Canberra.

ACT Greens
The key areas of The Canberra Hospital expansion are in surgical and intensive care and we believe will increase capability to meet current and future demand. Surgical Procedures, Interventional Radiology and Emergency (SPIRE) will provide additional services in specialist medicine. The Canberra Hospital Expansion project will deliver 39 new emergency beds, 22 operating theatres, new paediatric ICU beds and double the existing number of ICU beds from 30 to 60.
Whilst the region’s population will inevitably continue to grow, these additional services will meet current demand, and provide greater access to surgery and procedures. It is vital that the Government plans and invests in hospital services to meet demand into the future, however, it is difficult to completely ‘future-proof’ so to speak due to the changing nature of healthcare needs.
The Greens believe that the Northside Hospital project is a vital next step in helping ‘future-proof’ our city, particularly as populations are growing in the far north of Canberra. We will continue to explore this option and as feasibility investigations progress, we will ensure the community is consulted and planning is appropriate.
Further, the Greens strongly believe that investment is required in all aspects of healthcare in order to avoid acute setting admissions for individuals. The Greens have long called for greater attention and investment in prevention and early intervention in healthcare to better enable general wellbeing of Canberrans, and reducing demand on our acute health services. Investment in critical care alone, will not meet the healthcare demands of Canberra residents.
As mentioned, prevention and early intervention are vital in maintaining good health of citizens, and services like hydrotherapy are a primary example of therapeutic prevention and early intervention treatment from more serious ailments. We also understand that hydrotherapy is a very successful and life changing treatment for many with chronic diseases.
The Greens support a feasibility study of the costs and benefits for the establishment of a hydrotherapy facility in the south of Canberra, including investigating different models. As Caroline Le Couteur has commented, the Government should also undertake a cost-benefit analysis to understand how many hospital admissions the hydrotherapy pool has avoided.


Canberra Liberals
The Canberra Liberals are committed to the lives people live in their suburbs not just in the major and central areas of the city. We have long advocated for improvements to small local shopping centres and children’s parks, which are the heart of many family’s daily lives. A Canberra Liberals Government will provide better services and amenities across Woden, such as:
•             Clean ups, improvements and upgrades at local shops, including better streetscapes, gardens, more parking and public toilets where needed;
•             Upgrading local playgrounds across Woden with more exciting equipment, shade and better landscaping and seating areas to ensure families are able to fully enjoy their local amenities and make lasting community connections; and
•             Increasing local urban services to fix broken footpaths, clean and remediate graffiti, improve streetlights and potholes quicker so that the rates that households pay produce tangible and meaningful improvements to Canberrans’ daily lives.
The Canberra Liberals will be making further policy announcements in the coming weeks. If you would like to stay up to date, you can follow the Canberra Liberals Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CanberraLiberals

ACT Greens
The Greens will be launching a planning and development package in coming weeks, which     will build on our work standing up for the community on development, and pushing for better protection of trees and green space. This work has already  seen  a  massive  increase  in funding for street and park tree planting, as well as draft planning changes to make more room for trees and green space in development. A strong Greens vote will allow us to achieve much more next term.
Later in the election campaign, the Greens will be launching a Neighbourhood Democracy package, Australia’s largest participatory budgeting program. This would provide funds for communities to deliver on their own priorities, such as upgrades to local open space.
You can keep up to date with our election initiatives here: https://greens.org.au/act/better-norma

Your name and party

 Chris Steel MLA on behalf of ACT Labor


What do you see as the key issues for Woden Valley, now and into the future?

 Woden has ageing infrastructure and Labor will address this issue by investing in the community facilities that Woden needs. In the pandemic recovery this is an opportunity to protect and create jobs.

Employment is a major issue with the Federal Liberal Government cutting, decentralizing and relocating 1726 jobs out of Woden since 2013 leaving many buildings empty. Labor will continue our focus on jobs. Last term we moved 1,000 ACT Public Servants to the Town Centre in Health, Access Canberra and now Major Projects Canberra – to build major projects in Woden to create jobs and bring over 6500 CIT staff and students into Woden.

Woden has always been a major hub for transport Labor will build a new safer and more accessible public transport interchange to prepare for light rail coming to the Southside.

Woden has the second oldest population in Canberra. Labor has always put health first, as we’ve shown during the pandemic, and we’re building a new hospital in Woden to support the health of our community, young and old.

To ensure we skill young people for the jobs of the future we will build a state-of-the-art, fit for purpose, Canberra Institute of Technology to provide new education opportunities in cyber security, IT design, hospitality and support the regeneration of Town Centre.

We need to support the vulnerable members of our community including the homeless and people with a disability, through our partnership with Woden Community Service. Labor will build a new Woden community centre to provide WCS with a new home for their vital services, and also deliver better places for a range of community activities including the arts.

What is your vision for Woden Valley?

 Woden is my home town and it’s a great place to live. ACT Labor is the only party that has outlined a clear plan for Woden. And as your Labor Member and Minister I will continue my focus on Woden’s regeneration with new infrastructure to make Woden even better and protect and create jobs.

Labor’s Plan for Woden is building public projects right here in our community.

At the heart of our Plan is building a state of the art, new Canberra Institute of Technology in Woden. This major campus will bring life to our Town Centre and a range of opportunities for staff, students, local businesses, and the broader community.

We are building a new hospital in Woden to support a healthy community, and an expanded Women’s and Children’s Hospital to support our youngest families.

A new Woden Community Centre for Woden Community Service and a new after hours community spaces at Woden Library will also provide community infrastructure for Woden’s future.

We’ll keep Woden residents moving by building a new Woden Interchange with rail station and, following the success of the first stage, we will build light rail to Woden.

This is just the start – we will continue to outline further positive policies closer to the election available at www.actlabor.org.au


If elected, what goals do you hope you will have achieved 4 years from now?

 Labor will deliver our comprehensive policy platform to protect and create jobs, invest in health, education, transport and community services and take action on climate change which is outlined at www.actlabor.org.au

Specific questions from Council members and Residents’ Associations


What are your views on the City to Woden light rail?

Under an ACT Labor Government we have planned, constructed and are successfully operating light rail from Gungahlin to Civic creating thousands of local jobs – and which came in under budget and has higher patronage than expected now making up 20% of all trips on public transport across the ACT.

Bringing light rail to the Southside is a key part of the plan for Woden’s regeneration and better public transport, creating over 6000 jobs. Next year a re-elected Labor Government will start construction on the new Woden interchange and Woden light rail station, replacing ageing infrastructure in Woden.

Planning and community consultation

Are the current practices and procedures adequate, in your opinion?

 The ACT Labor Government expanded community consultation during this term of Government. New requirements for pre-DA community consultation add an additional opportunity for the community to have their say about development proposals in their areas prior to the proposal being finalised.

The Government is also in the process of expanding the areas where pre-DA consultation is required. ACT Labor recognises that the current planning system is difficult to use for all involved, which is why we have implemented the ACT Planning Review and Reform Project.

The aims of this project are to have higher-quality development and a system that is easier to use for all involved. We have heard very clearly from the community about the challenges with the current system and the reform project aims to address this. As part of the review, officials reviewed a range of submissions on specific DAs to identify common themes and issues with development.


How do you propose to manage capacity and infrastructure in primary schools given Woden’s growing population?

 ACT Labor is committed to public education, we’ve invested upgrades to schools in the Woden area this term including Mount Stromlo High, the Woden School, Curtin Primary, Torrens Primary, Malkara School, and Melrose High. A re-elected Labor Government will continue to invest in public schools across Canberra. We will do so on the basis of demographic analysis undertaken by the ANU to ensure that we have the schools we need at the right time.

We will be making more policy announcements on education closer to the election – stay up to date at www.actlabor.org.au

Active travel

As traffic continues to grow in built up areas (eg around Canberra hospital), how do you propose keeping Woden’s streets safe for active transport (which is an ACT Govt priority)?

 In Government, Labor has made a range of improvements to active travel with $30m in additional investments over the past four years. This includes:

  • Connecting Woden and Weston Creek by constructing a cycleway along Heysen Street, through Oakey Hill and along Devonport and Launceston Streets in Lyons
  • A new protected cycleway on Corrina Street that is starting construction
  • 15 new footpaths in Murrumbidgee as part of the ‘fast track’ stimulus package over the past few months
  • A new priority crossing on Theodore Street, Curtin as well as on Weston St, Loftus St and Schlich St Yarralumla that are part of the Woden to City trunk cycle

It is important to note that following feedback from clinicians and the community the designs of Canberra Hospital have changed with a new enclosed walkway from Building 2 to the new hospital building, bisecting Hospital Road. Public vehicle access to the Emergency Department will not be possible via Gilmore Crescent which will reduce traffic on Gilmore Cres and surrounding suburban streets. The main, and upgraded entrance, to the Hospital will be on Yamba Drive.

We have funded the construction of new traffic lights at intersections on Irving St and Launceston Sts Phillip. And to help manage rat running around Deakin, Hughes, Yarralumla and Garran we are signalising the intersections on Kent and Novar Streets either side of the bridge across Adelaide Avenue.

Our Labor Government has most recently launched the ‘slower streets’ campaign to encourage drivers to slow down in the interests of safety as we see more people walking and cycling during the pandemic. Our approach on active travel is a key part o fthe ACT Labor Government’s Transport Strategy released in August.

We will be making more policy announcements closer to the election – stay up to date at www.actlabor.org.au

Green open space

What are your views about rezoning green open space, recreational land and wildlife corridors for private development as part of the draft Red Hill Integrated Plan?

 The Legislative Assembly proposed that a Red Hill Integrated Plan be developed. The Draft Plan has been released for consultation and there is no rezoning any open space or wildlife corridors as part of the Red Hill Integrated Plan.

The Red Hill Integrated Plan adds to the existing Red Hill Nature Reserve by rezoning a parcel of land for inclusion into the nature reserve.

There is one thing that is clear from the consultation on the Draft Plan. There is not majority community support for any particular position. There is an equal amount of support for rezoning of land currently used as a private golf course for the club to develop a retirement complex as there is opposition to the proposal. This will be taken into account in the finalisation of the plan.

Recreational facilities in and adjacent to the Town Centre and in Woden Valley

Your views on what is needed?

 Over the past four years, Labor has delivered the redevelopment of Phillip Oval – including a new cricket facility, the new Melrose High School football facility, and an award winning new nature play space with pump track have been built at Farrer. In August we also allocated funding to upgrade Woden Enclosed Athletics Track and we opened brand new Stromlo Liesure Centre Labor built for our region, which has seen the Woden Sharks swimming club returning, from Tuggeranong, to make it their new home.

The ACT Government will continue to work with local sporting organisations on improve access to sporting facilities in the region.

We will be making more policy announcements on sport closer to the election – stay up to date at www.actlabor.org.au


Based on current modelling, SPIRE once complete (predicted for 2024) will not be big enough to meet the growing demand for hospital beds and services in the ACT and surrounding region. How do you propose to address this and therefore “future-proof” our hospital system?

 The Labor Government has listened to feedback on the Expansion of the Hospital and has worked closely with clinicians on analysing activity data and projections.

The new facility will provide a significant increase in the clinical capacity of the Canberra Hospital:

  • It will almost double the number of Intensive Care Unit beds currently available. Increasing them from 31 to
  • The 22 new theatres will replace the 13 that are available
  • We are also expanding the capacity of the Emergency Department by 39 treatment spaces, which will increase the total number available to

The ACT also has more beds per 1,000 population than the national average (2.64 compared with 2.53 in 2018-19).

Do you support a public hydrotherapy pool to replace the one that closed recently in TCH?

 In 2019, the ACT Labor Government undertook a review of hydrotherapy services in the ACT. The report comprised four recommendations, critically, it included a recommendation to investigate the provision of a hydrotherapy facility in the south of Canberra.

The ACT Labor Government has committed to a market sounding process to identify non-government organisations that may be interested in working with the ACT Government to facilitate new, public hydrotherapy services in Canberra’s South. ACT Labor is committed to facilitating high quality, accessible services to meet the needs of Canberrans, and looks forward to continuing to work with Arthritis ACT in the delivery of its valuable services.

Any other comments?

For more information on Labor’s plan for Woden please go to https://www.actlabor.org.au/media/43213/labors-plan-for-woden.pdf

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