How should we build Canberra’s missing middle?


The ACT Greens today called for a Committee to consider inquiring into how we plan our city for growth in terms of medium-density development – often referred to as the “missing middle”. ACT Labor and the Canberra Liberals voted to adjourn the motion presented by the ACT Greens, delaying much needed action. 

“Canberra needs more missing middle housing in our established suburbs. Our suburbs should include a range of housing options like town houses, dual occupancies, shop-top living, co-housing, manor houses and low-rise apartments,” said Jo Clay, ACT Greens spokesperson for Planning.  

“We know some Canberrans love their big homes and big backyards, but we also know that many other Canberrans want and need different options.  And with Canberra’s growing population, we need to provide those alternatives without adding to urban sprawl.  

“Canberrans need homes that are affordable, accessible and suited to our changing climate. Our community needs more options – not just single detached homes and apartment high-rises.  

“The 2018 Housing Choices consultation identified possibilities for different sorts of housing. The Planning Review has extended the conversation through consultation on the new Planning Bill, Territory Plan and District Strategies. But many in the community are asking for a discussion on how these reforms will be made. What will the Canberra of the future look like? How will we densify to support our population whilst protecting our green spaces, habitat and access to transport and services? 

“Now is the perfect time to drill down into that conversation. This matter needs urgent consideration. We have a climate crisis and a housing crisis. The Planning Minister tells us the Planning Review is almost complete, but I’ve heard many concerns that the “how” of densification hasn’t properly been addressed.  

“Today I proposed that the Assembly invite a Committee to consider running a short inquiry to bring these issues and community members together to discuss it. I'm really disappointed my Labor and Liberal colleagues voted to delay this matter. This risks deferring it until the second half of the year, after the new Territory Plan is released. Right now, we have an urgent housing and climate crises. Right now is the time for Canberrans to discuss how densification can be done well.