Public comments have been invited on two draft Territory Plan Variations (TPVs) which deal with the implementation of the Red Hill Integrated Plan:
· DV380 deals with Section 66 Kent Street Deakin and is open for public comments until Friday 25 November 2022.
· DV384 deals with the proposed Over 55s retirement village on the Federal Golf Club and is open for public comments until Friday 2 December 2022.
Both draft TPVs involve important conservation initiatives. The draft TPVs can be found online at
Red Hill Regenerators (RHR) supports the Red Hill Integrated Plan. Both DV 380 and DV 384 are necessary to implement the Integrated Plan. Accordingly, the RHR Committee has made a submission on behalf of the RHR membership supporting both draft TPVs. The Committee also encourages individual members to lodge submissions supporting the draft TPVs.
There are particular environmental dimensions of both draft TPVs which should be supported. However, lodging a simple submission is also an option if this is more appropriate for you.
In relation to DV38O, strong support should be given for:
· the rezoning and inclusion of Deakin section 66 blocks 7 and 8 and section 78 block 13 into the surrounding urban open space network, with this urban open space zoned land being added into the ‘pc – nature reserve’ public land overlay to enable the land to be formally incorporated into the Red Hill Nature Reserve: and
· the addition of the rule requiring an environmental assessment to determine whether past activities have impacted the site from a contamination perspective.
In relation to DV384, strong support should be given for:
· the approximately 10 hectares of woodland in the north-western corner of the FGC being rezoned to NUZ3 Hills, Ridges, and Buffer zone with the public land ‘Pc – nature reserve’ overlay being added to this NUZ3 zone to enable the site to be incorporated into the Red Hill Nature Reserve.
· The Red Hill precinct Map and Code being amended to:
o add some prohibited developments: hotels and motels and supportive housing on the FGC site;
o include a new set of rules and criteria to provide for the protection of the environment and key ecological values in relation to the future development of the proposed retirement village consistent with Recommendation 7 of the Red Hill Integrated Plan;
o the inclusion of a new set of rules and criteria in the Garran Precinct Map to protect the environment and the ecological values in relation to the construction of the access road from Kitchener Street.
While the RHR would prefer that a retirement village was not developed on the FGC, and that there be no further development on Deakin Section 66, the RHR recognises that the recommended approach outlined in the Red Hill Integrated Plan, and now reflected in the two draft TPVs, is the best outcome under the circumstances.
Below, for your information, are Dr Michael Mulvaney’s views about the draft TPVs. Michael is our Conservation Officer and these views are endorsed by the RHR Committee.
Red Hill Regenerators
Dr Michael Mulvaney Mulvaney’s views on
Territory Plan Variations DV380 and DV384
The Committee on behalf of the Red Hill Regenerators membership will write to the ACT Government to strongly support the proposed Territory Plan Variations 384 and 380. We encourage individual members to do likewise.
The variations put into place the intent of the Integrated Plan for Red Hill Nature Reserve and Surrounds. This Plan enabled a landscape-based rather than piecemeal assessment of the wider areas conservation values and recommended the addition of 12ha of land to Red Hill Nature Reserve. The addition of these lands to the open space and reserve network is a key purpose of the variations. Red Hill Regenerators have spent decades fighting for the protection of the 12ha and for uses of neighbouring lands that avoid significant indirect impacts on the environment.
The Territory Plan Variations are a culmination of a massive effort by our group and supporters but also by a range of other community and conservation organisations as well as a number of MLAs and government officials. The conservation of the lands is a moment to relish and celebrate. The additional lands support critically endangered Box-Gum woodland, are a major proportion of the most important known Gang-gang breeding habitat in the country, are one of the few known global habitats of the Small Ant-Blue butterfly, are habitat to several rare plant and jewel beetle species and are breeding and/or important foraging habitat of several threatened woodland birds.
The Territory Plan Variations do also allow for an office development (rather than just infrastructure uses) on the currently developed part of Section 66, Deakin, and allow a 125 unit retirement village in the southern section of the golf course together with an access road from this development area, across what is Urban Open Space to Kitchener Street (joining near the scout hall). The office use for Section 66 reflects what is the current use and is much more preferable than the massive residential development that was previously proposed here or an “office” footprint that expanded into the surrounding woodland.
As you are probably aware, Red Hill Regenerators has spent many thousands of hours surveying and monitoring the conservation values of Red Hill, and has opposed any development that would significantly impact on these values. No-one knows more than our group. So, it is a long-researched and considered opinion of the Committee that the plans for the retirement village and access have been located in such a way that it will avoid significant impact on Red Hill’s conservation values.
Red Hill Regenerators have been in conversation with the Federal Golf Club and the chosen developer of the Over 55s retirement village, Mbark, over a number of years, providing ecological information. Our experience has been that the developer and the golf club have been responsive to our concerns.
An important consideration has been the potential impact of the proposed development on Gang-gang cockatoos. It is known that the development will occur in the vicinity of at least two known Gang-gang nest trees and it is uncertain whether Gang-gangs will continue to nest in this part of the golf course once the retirement village is built. However, Gang-gangs are known to nest within ten metres of a residence in Hughes. At least some of Red Hill’s Gang-gangs prepare multiple hollows each year before deciding in which one to nest. If a nest is used in one year, there is a 50% chance that it will be used in the next season and in any one year about 30% of known nest trees (used within the last 6 years) are utilised. From the investigation of over 200 hollows in which Gang-gangs have entered or looked into, we don’t consider that tree hollows are a limiting factor for the Gang-gang in the Canberra area or the more localised Red Hill vicinity. Gang-gangs aren’t tied to one tree or group of trees for nesting and are likely to continue to nest on the Golf Course or nearby open space. The proposal will not significantly impact Gang-gang or Superb Parrot foraging or roosting habitat, while the Superb Parrot does not breed in the Red Hill vicinity.
Because of the outcomes achieved through the Red Hill Integrated Plan, the Commonwealth, in July this year, determined that the proposed retirement village does not require further assessment and approval under Commonwealth legislation before it can proceed. The basis for this determination was that the proposal is not likely to have a significant impact on any matters of National Environmental Significance, which include the Gang-gang Cockatoo, the Superb Parrot, and the Grassy Woodland. Further to this determination, the ACT Government Conservator of Flora and Fauna in an Environmental Significance Opinion determined that the proposed Federal Golf Club developments are not likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact.
While the Integrated Plan was not exactly what Red Hill Regenerators would have wanted, it is a good compromise of conflicting interests and delivers big on woodland conservation. It is important that the proposed Territory Plan Variations 384 and 380 that enact the Plan’s intent and woodland conservation are implemented.