ACT News

Ball rolling on University of Canberra growth

The ACT government has given the green light to broad legislative changes that will allow the University of Canberra to proceed with a campus redevelopment worth up to $1 billion and including up to 3300 new non-student residential dwellings.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr and University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Stephen Parker will on Wednesday sign a Statement of Strategic Intent, committing the government to legislative changes that vary the Crown lease and Territory Plan to allow massive commercial growth within the university's Bruce precinct.

The new statement details how the government will enable the UC to diversify its operations, develop its campus and attract like-minded organisations to share its largely undeveloped 120-hectare site.

In December, Mr Barr announced the government would seek planning changes to facilitate UC's vision for a technology park, aged-care facilities, a private hospital and housing developments that could be linked to course work in research, design, planning and related fields. 

The government will vary the campus Crown lease to modernise it and to enable the university to use the land for any purpose permitted by the Territory Plan.

A new precinct code will be created under the Territory Plan that is consistent with the university's Campus Master Plan and Implementation Plan.

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"Economic balance" would be created by limiting non-student residential development on campus to no more than 3300 dwellings and restricting the number of such dwellings that can be offered for sale in a 12-month period to 200 or another number as approved by the government.

UC would be able to unlock the potential of the campus while preserving its perpetual Crown lease by restructuring the titling model to allow particular subleases granted by the university to be unit titled.

Mr Barr said senior government representatives would work with the UC to oversee the plan and he would meet personally with Professor Parker as redevelopment was rolled out.

"Consistent with my government's plans to diversify the economy and to foster development of the higher education sector as an area in which we have a competitive advantage, I am committed to boosting economic growth and facilitating major projects and job opportunities. By removing some unnecessary constraints on the university and amending the University of Canberra Act to clarify, modernise and adjust functions and governance, we will pave the way for the UC to achieve the vision set out in its master plan," Mr Barr said.

The government will introduce the suite of legislative changes over the next six months, with Mr Barr saying he was confident the move would create a greater range of economic opportunities and stimulate economic activity in the ACT region. 

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