Property Council welcomes government investigating the housing potential around Canberra’s shopping hubs

Home Media Releases Property Council welcomes government investigating the housing potential around Canberra’s shopping hubs

Tuesday 23 January 2024


Property Council welcomes government investigating the housing potential around Canberra’s shopping hubs

The Property Council welcomes comments made by ACT Minister for Planning, Chris Steel MLA, that indicated government would be looking to unlock development opportunities around Canberra’s shopping hubs.

Minister Steel made comments yesterday that highlighted the opportunity we have to renew Canberra’s ageing shopping centres with projects that would add more housing. He stated he would be asking the Planning Directorate to pursue work that would allow “more homes and better shopping centres, at every shopping centre, local and group centre in Canberra”.

The Property Council has long championed the revitalisation of Canberra’s group and local shopping centres, recognising their significant contributions to the economy and the strong potential they have to play in delivering the housing choice and supply we need.

Property Council’s ACT and Capital Region Executive Director, Shane Martin, said the Minister’s stated intention to look at new development opportunities around these shopping hubs was a welcome step in the right direction.

“Our group and local centres are building momentum since the pandemic and now is the time to take advantage of that and see them continue to grow,” said Mr Martin.

“Now is the time to take more seriously our group and local centres as future redevelopment opportunities for a sustainable Canberra.”

The Property Council will continue to advocate in support of integrated development and densification for these hubs. In order to unlock the development opportunities needed in our shopping hubs, government will need to:

  • Provide for the redevelopment of government-owned car parks and urban open spaces. With the help of government equity, this land could be used to provide affordable, retirement/rightsizing and social housing.
  • Reinvest the Lease Variation Charge gained by any redevelopment back into the local public realm, in the vicinity of our shopping hubs.
  • Incentivise block amalgamation so that all shops within a development can come under a common ownership arrangement and can therefore be successfully and holistically redeveloped as part of an integrated re-development strategy.
  • Pave the way for buildings that contain both commercial and residential stock to pay only the relevant rates for the percentage of each, without needing to be unit titled.
  • The opportunity for such redevelopment to support the inclusion of new electrical infrastructure to support the future electrification of our suburbs.

In a submission made to government in 2018, Property Council recognised the latent opportunity to incentivise other residential typologies in and around ACT’s local centres and group centres, especially where shopping centres are past their use-by date and where there are substantial nearby land offerings, such as car parks and open urban spaces.

By seizing the redevelopment opportunities these areas hold, we will be able to offer a much wider variety of housing typologies than is currently available while contributing to the creation of more vibrant and viable community hearts.

“There are excellent examples of successful mixed-use shopping centres such as the Denman Village Local Shops which are exemplars for what can be done throughout Canberra,” said Mr Martin.

“We are excited to see the next phase of policy reform in planning here in the ACT, especially with a new minister who oversees both our planning and transport portfolios,” said Mr Martin.


Media contact: Shane Martin | 0420 286 087 | [email protected]

Kirsty Sier | 0435 075 085 | [email protected]