The government's focus will now shift to finalising the precise plans and technical specifications needed to launch a new outcomes-focused planning system, after laws were passed to overhaul the way developments are approved in Canberra.
A planning bill, which will significantly recast the way the ACT's planners consider proposed plans, was passed in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday after a detailed debate on more than 120 amendments.
Labor and the Greens voted together to work through the significant list of amendments, including allowing appeals of greenfields development, which Labor supported with "some reservations", and housing affordability principles.
Planning Minister Mick Gentleman said the district strategies, territory plan and technical specifications would be released in about a month.
The documentation will guide the territory's planning authority to assess development applications when the new system comes into effect, which is expected later this year.
The territory plan will be the subject of an Assembly inquiry, chaired by the Greens' planning spokeswoman Jo Clay.
Mr Gentleman on Tuesday defended the government's record on community consultation.
"This bill today will put the main bones in place for us to do that territory plan and the district strategies, ensuring we can deliver better outcomes for the future: more housing for Canberrans in better circumstances," Mr Gentleman said.
Mr Gentleman said targeting infill housing development around local centres and transport corridors reflected international best practice.
"What we've seen is incredible growth in our population across Canberra and we need to provide more housing for those people," he said.
"We have indicated from 2018 that it will be a form of 70 per cent of urban growth and 30 per cent in the greenfield areas. And we've targeted areas to have that growth."
Amendments to the planning laws included the introduction of housing affordability principles as a criteria by which development applications will need to be considered. The Assembly will also be able to overturn territory priority project declarations, which enable projects to be fast-tracked.
The laws say: "Planning strategies, plans and policies should support the delivery of reforms that improve housing access, affordability and choice" and those documents "should support more housing options for people who have a low income".
Mr Gentleman said the changes to the planning system would result in better outcomes in the environments Canberrans lived in.
"We're looking at not just the building that you live in, but the way you live around that building, the way the community interacts," he said.
Mr Gentleman described the current system as putting a ceiling on development opportunities, and the new system would replace it with a floor, from which developers could produce better buildings.
Ms Clay said the government now needed to get on with the rest of the planning system overhaul job by looking at the accompanying statutory documentation.
"I'm confident that this package of amendments will give us the right architecture for the planning system," Ms Clay said of Tuesday's debate.
"We've got design guides and technical specifications that actually bring in a lot more requirements to make sure our development is the right kind of development for Canberra."
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The opposition spokesman on planning, Peter Cain, said he wanted the debate on the bill to be adjourned because it could not be considered in its entirety with the proposed territory plan, technical specifications and district strategies.
"Everyone is concerned about what happens around them, around their home, whether it's their apartment, a townhouse, a standalone home. Everyone is entitled to have a view on what happens near them," Mr Cain told a press conference.
"So everyone's a bit of a NIMBY, if I could put it that way, because it really is about, 'Where do I live and what's happening to the areas around me?'"
Mr Cain said Canberra's bush capital character was worth striving for an enhancing, and rejected the suggestion this would come at the expense of housing affordability because it would prevent more homes being built.
"I think people appreciate being in a beautiful city, not just being surrounded by high rises, blocking out sunlight, creating wind tunnels. I think we can do better. My message is not anti-development - [we need a] development that enhances our standing as a bush capital, both nationally and internationally," he said.
The Canberra Liberals did not call divisions through the debate, and Mr Cain only spoke once in the Assembly during the detail stage debate on Tuesday. The Liberals proposed no amendments to the bill.
Acting Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson told the Assembly the process to consider the bill had been a "dog's breakfast" and an "absolute mess" with so many amendments brought forward by the government.
The planning bill was introduced into the Legislative Assembly in September 2022, following a multi-year consultation and reform project.
The Greens initially criticised the bill, setting off a process which meant the party's three cabinet ministers, including leader Shane Rattenbury, were removed from cabinet discussions on the bill.
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