The ACT Greens have resolved to campaign for substantial changes to zoning across Canberra as one way to address the escalating housing crisis.

This week the ACT Greens party membership ratified a motion to support progress towards a more compact and liveable city. The motion includes rezoning across Canberra so that more blocks can have up to two houses (up-zoning all existing RZ1 areas to RZ2).

The party also supported changes to current RZ2 and RZ3 properties which would allow consolidation of blocks, subdivision and unit titling to create well designed, medium density housing, like 3-5 storey apartments with shared nature spaces.

Greens spokesperson for Planning, Jo Clay MLA, said the changes would enable more homes of a greater variety of sizes within our city’s current footprint.

“Our policy will cater to the different needs of Canberrans, at the same time as protecting all that is wonderful about being the Bush Capital,” said Ms Clay.

“In the face of an escalating housing crisis and as we deal with the climate emergency, the ACT Greens have outlined a vision for the future of housing in our city.

“We know Canberrans want and need access to more types of housing – town houses, units and free-standing homes – right across the city. We need to densify our city – but we need to do this in a way that enhances individual and community wellbeing, while protecting the environment we all cherish.

“The current zoning rules don’t provide the flexibility to give Canberrans options in the types of housing that we can build, which further perpetuates inequality in the housing market.

“In practical terms, changing the zoning rules would provide more and cheaper housing options for people entering the market.

“It would allow older Canberrans to downsize and stay in their suburb, and provide options for people who can't afford or don’t want a big house but who would like access to a small backyard, veggie patch or a shared green space.

“Having these options will ensure the ACT can meet the needs of our growing population without building never-ending suburbs on the outskirts of town,” said Ms Clay.

ACT Greens Member for Kurrajong, Rebecca Vassarotti, said this is the next logical step for Canberra’s planning system.

“Our party has agreed we should define ‘city limits’ within the ACT, which would prohibit development outside our current footprint to simultaneously address the climate emergency and biodiversity crises that Canberra is not immune to.

“We will also fight to implement a ‘liveable city principle’ which promotes plant life in the suburbs, and which prohibits inappropriate single residential development in RZ2 and RZ3 developments. In effect, this will deliver well designed, medium density housing.

"We need to embrace a bold vision for the ACT. Canberrans deserve a government that can deliver high-quality, climate resilient living while staying true to our roots as the Bush Capital through the integration of trees and green spaces in our urban design.

“The ACT Greens' vision for housing aims to ensure that every Canberran has access to a comfortable home that suits their needs. To achieve this we need a more compact and connected city, supportive planning rules, and a concerted effort to enhance community well-being,” said Ms Vassarotti.  

A copy of the motion can be found here.