Planning – Page 2 – Kim Fischer

RiotACT post: How UC plans to become a world-ranked university by 2018


Photo courtesy of UC

University of Canberra landscapes

Photo courtesy of UC


Recently I attended a meeting where Stephen Parker outlined his latest plans for the University of Canberra. I was impressed by the vision and wrote about it for the RiotACT:

UC has outlined an ambitious program for transforming itself into a world-ranked university that supports a wide range of teaching, research and development programs run by both public and private enterprises. This will reshape the suburb and the Belconnen town centre forever.

Read more here

How to get better consultation between Federal and ACT governments on job locations

Over the last few years re-location of Federal government employees has been a big issue in Tuggeranong, and now in Belconnen, with potentially 4000 Immigration staff moving out of the Belconnen Town Centre.   This move would be devastating to the local community.

After sending an open letter to the Chief Minister and relevant Federal Ministers, the ACT Chief Minister’s response states that there have been motions in the Assembly on maintaining immigration in Belconnen, and letters have been written to the relevant Ministers. However, to stop rogue Federal Department Secretaries destroying communities and to genuinely accommodate ‘local interests’, the ACT government and Federal government MUST work together. I am suggesting that:

  • The Federal Government should notify the ACT Legislative Assembly of any potential movements of 100 or more Federal public service employees.
  • The Federal Government should provide the ACT Legislative Assembly with a list of upcoming lease expirations that would affect staff of 100 or more.
  • A bi-annual committee should be established comprising of representatives of the Federal Department of Finance and representatives of the ACT Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate to discuss any possible responses to any movements of 100 or more public service employees.

RiotACT post: Why we should encourage MLAs to venture beyond Civic Square

In this post I discuss how we could increase engagement of MLAs with their electorates, particularly with the switch to 25 seats:

After 25 years of self-government, it is an opportune time to rethink how we expect our Assembly to operate.

At the moment there is an ivory tower mentality held by many in the Assembly. Uniquely amongst parliamentary systems in Australia, members are not allocated local electorate offices. This means that MLAs and their staff can work in the Legislative Assembly every day and virtually never see their actual electorates.

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RiotACT post: Tired Telstra Tower has sky high possibilities

I had fun writing this RiotACT post about finding better ways to use our charmingly 1980s Telstra Tower. I didn’t know that our first Chief Minister Rosemary Follett led the protests against the construction of the tower! But we really do need to fix it up:

Chief Minister Andrew Barr is on record as wanting Canberra to be the “coolest little capital city”. And while the tower might have seen better days, it is iconic and will continue to attract tourists. As one of the first experiences that many tourists have of Canberra, let’s use some creativity and investment to make it unforgettable.


RiotACT post: Time for the Commonwealth to stop trashing Canberra’s town centres

I have been asked to contribute some guest posts for the RiotACT. My first post continues the push for the Commonwealth to adopt a more consultative approach if it wants to move departments around the city. Here’s an excerpt:

The Federal Government is by far the largest employer in the ACT. Precisely because of these large potential impacts, the local governments of most cities with a single major employer remain in constant conversation about employment and investment decisions. Yet the ACT Government remains strangely disengaged about this whole affair, and appears to be just hoping that things work out.

I have been campaigning over the last few months for an improved and permanently agreed process for handling Commonwealth department relocations.  Any such process should routinely include conversations with affected staff, the Chief Minister, and the local community.

[Source: The RiotACT]

Open letter on the future of the Department of Immigration in Belconnen

This open letter has been sent to:

  • Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance
  • Hon Jamie Briggs MP, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development
  • Andrew Barr MLA, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
Open letter Immigration tearoff

(click to view PDF)

Dear Minister Cormann, Assistant Minister Briggs, and Chief Minister Barr

The potential move of 4000 Department of Immigration and Border Protection employees out of the Belconnen Town Centre would be devastating if it went ahead. As the employer of more than one-third of all Canberra workers, the federal government has a unique duty of care to Canberra citizens.

Now that Finance has taken responsibility for the Commonwealth property portfolio, it is pleasing that Minister Cormann’s press release of 11 May 2015 agrees that ‘local impacts’ need to be taken into account. However, the Commonwealth can still unilaterally act in a way that seriously damages the ACT.

As such I am requesting three commitments from you:

  1. To amend the National Capital Plan so that all major proposals to change Commonwealth employment arrangements in the ACT are first subject to consultation with the ACT Chief Minister and affected communities.
  2. To rule out any move of Immigration employees out of the Belconnen Town Centre.
  3. Should the Commonwealth want to consolidate Immigration and Customs into one location, that it will first consult the ACT government and community on the option of moving Customs to Belconnen.

I look forward to your response.


Kim Fischer

UPDATE: The Chief Minister responded to my open letter on 30 June. His full reply can be viewed here.

Question to the National Capital Authority on protecting Belconnen employment

I asked the National Capital Authority at their Annual Public Forum on Thursday what they were planning to do to respond to the potential move of the Department of Immigration out of Belconnen. Specifically, how they intended to make it so that Canberra wouldn’t be left in this situation in the future.

I wasn’t very impressed with their response. Apparently Belconnen is in the Parliamentary Triangle now?

Gough Whitlam to have suburb named in his honour

Canberra to have suburb of Whitlam
Needless to say I approve. I really want Whitlam to be a Belconnen suburb since its key construction period was during Gough Whitlam’s time in parliament. I still think the idea of the Gough and Margaret Whitlam walk raised as part of my Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan 2015 submission has legs:

Much as part of the walk around Lake Burley Griffin is named after former Prime Minister Robert Menzies, I think it would be fitting for a part of the Lake Ginninderra Walk to be named the “Gough and Margaret Whitlam Walk”.

– Kim Fischer, Belconnen Town Centre Master Plan Submission.

Better playgrounds at the Florey shops

The Florey shops are due for redevelopment, but this doesn’t include an upgrade to the playground. Contact your local member to let them know that Florey deserves better play equipment!

Chris Bourke:
Mary Porter:
Yvette Berry:
Alistair Coe:
Vicki Dunne:

Full contact details at ACT Legislative Assembly