Debate is raging in Canberra after ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja released a thought bubble advocating for a new greenfield development to the west of the Murrumbidgee River in Tuggeranong. Senator Seselja and I rarely see eye to eye, but we do agree on the need for something to be done to revitalise the Tuggeranong Town Centre.
However, I do not believe developing West Tuggeranong is the answer. A new West Tuggeranong development is a long-term project that will be costly, have a significant environmental impact, and would likely involve the development of a new group centre that may take business away from the Tuggeranong Town Centre.
What the Tuggeranong Town Centre needs is a viable short- to medium-term solution, and there are plenty of options. Urban infill is a more efficient way to bring people to the town centre. This is already occurring with the exciting South Quay development, and more infill developments in and around the town centre and in existing Tuggeranong suburbs are a smart idea. To address the significant amount of empty office space in the heart of Tuggeranong, I have also proposed a 'Postcode 2900' development to turn empty commercial space into residential space. The ACT government has already announced measures to make these sorts of conversions possible. The ACT government has also announced a CIT for Tuggeranong, providing a substantial boost to the local economy. I have asked the ACT government that instead of considering a new build on the outskirts of the town centre, CIT should occupy existing buildings in and around the heart of the town centre.
West Tuggeranong is an expensive pipe dream. We need a solution now. I urge Senator Seselja to join me in advocating for short- to medium-term realistic solutions based on best practice urban design principles of infill and density.