Coe Stands Up Against Draconian New Laws

Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Alistair Coe will today try to block Draft Variation 306 which has been widely condemned by the building industry. The Government’s changes to the planning rules will result in additional costs and sub-standard building outcomes as a result of heavy-handed, ideologically driven rules that will massively impact all new and existing homes.

“Peak groups such as the Housing Industry Association, Master Builders Association, Planning Institute, Property Council, Institute of Architects and Institute of Landscape Architects have all expressed their serious concerns with the implementation of the Variation,” said Mr Coe.

“Whilst there may be positive aspects to the Variation, on balance, the changes are destructive and do not fufill the intentions of the policy.”

Significant issues that will affect Canberrans in further developing or extending on their own property include:

  • A building cannot over-shadow their neighbour by more than a 1.8 metre fence (as of the winter solstice) – this is made very difficult on sloped blocks where shadows extend further.
  • The ‘wedding cake’ effect whereby the second-storey of a house is a much smaller floor space than the lower floor so that the shadow does not extend beyond the shadow created by the ground floor.
  • If a house is extended by more than 25%, then at least one 2000 litre water tank must be installed and connected to a toilet, laundry, cold water tap or external tap.

“What is most worrying is the fact that the impact and relevance of these changes will not be noticed by Canberrans until they put in a development application for a pergola or extension, and find many new regulations restricting their plans,” concluded Mr Coe.