On Monday 23 March 2020 at the Albert Hall, 100 Commonwealth Ave Yarralumla from 6.00pm to 8.00pm for a public forum on the implications of Canberra’s planning decisions for the bush capital, has been organised by the Canberra Planning Action Group (CPAG) and the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA).

The aim is vital to revive debate and discussion about what Canberra was supposed to be, what it has become, and where it should be heading. In the lead-up to the 2020 election, the Chief Minister’s claims for Canberra cannot remain untested.

CPAG was formed in early 2019 in response to discontent by community groups and many individuals. with the ACT Government on planning matters, including urban densification, transport, affordable housing, green infrastructure, approvals processes – the list goes on and on. This discontent is not new but it is widespread and growing, as the very things that make Canberra a uniquely liveable city are being destroyed at an alarming rate.

CPAG seeks a Canberra-wide perspective and a more united voice by all who want to see a more considered, people and nature-friendly approach to a growing Canberra.

A flyer advertising the forum is at this link.

CPAG is also receiving donations to defraying the expenses incurred in staging this forum.

If you require further information please contact:

Susan Gray on 0401 445 312 or Anne Forrest on 0417 686 955.

Registration link is here


Beautifying La Trobe Park 

Adopt a Park Proposal fails to gain support

DRA was unsuccessful in its application to the ACT Government Adopt a Park program. We had sought support for the formation of a local Volunteer Group to assist the ACT Government authorities in the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the Park.
Considerable interest has already been expressed and a DRA subgroup formed to take the project forward.

The Friends of La Trobe Park sub group would monitor the health of the park and assist in planting of trees and in weed control.  Additional trees have been planted over the years but many of

these have died and need replacement.  See photo – like many in Deakin they need water.

The Scout Group located in La Trobe Park is potential collaborator in the project particularly controlling weeds as well as  rubbish control.

To help with these tasks DRA sought assistance in the provision of garden tools, tree seedlings and weed

poison. The provision of some benches or seats  throughout the park would also enhance greater community use of the park. We plan to seek guidance from professionals in the department on these matters.

DRA also planned to draft material to commemorate Charles La Trobe after whom the park is named. He was appointed in 1839 superintendent of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales and, after the establishment in 1851 of the colony of Victoria, he became its first lieutenant-governor. He oversaw the establishment of the Botanical Gardens. Many institutions commemorate his name.

The proposal also sought funding support for a community barbecue and meeting in  2020. The purpose would be to meet residents interested in improving La Trobe Park and discuss their thoughts on what might be done. We will gauge community interest in activities such as reinstalling a barbecue, and reopening the toilet block.

Please respond if you would like to pursue these ideas.

Melbourne Avenue

Progress has been made in protecting eucalypts on Melbourne Avenue which is a National Avenue. Following discussion and joint meetings initiated by Forrest Residents Group, DRA is pleased to

as Ia see government efforts to mulch around trees and protect soil from compaction. We welcome governmental assurances that there will be monitoring to prevent illegal parking.

Light Rail Stage 2

The Business Plan for ACT light rail stage 2 (Civic – Woden), is available. It raises the issues of

• Damage to cultural landscapes, notably, most of Commonwealth Avenue’s famous trees, and open space character.

• Filling the median strip of Commonwealth Avenue with tram tracks and the possibility of a total bridge replacement. To learn more about that and the existing symmetry with Kings Avenue bridge join Graeme Kelleher who was the Supervising Engineer for the construction of Commonwealth Ave Bridge in the 1960s

Sunday 23 February, 9.30 am – Heritage Walk  Two Bridges and a Lake.  While the two bridges look similar from a distance in forming the Parliamentary Triangle, they are quite different in design and construction.  The walk will be led by Keith Baker from Engineers Heritage Australia.  For detail and bookings go to

• Complying with the ban on overhead wires

• Traffic disruptions during construction.

• Difficulties in capturing land value especially at south-facing West Basin, and along Commonwealth Avenue north.

• Massive costs of the project including the above for limited benefit.

The Federal Government decisions about the assessment process under Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 for

• Stage 2A  is a controlled action and the assessment will be by way of an examination of preliminary documentation.

• Stage 2B is a controlled action  and the assessment will be made by way of an Environmental Impact Assessment to be be conducted by the ACT Government – Major Projects Canberra.

DRA, along with ISCCC, had submitted that the Stage 2B assessment should be way of independent public inquiry. This request was rejected.

While DRA fully endorses the objectives of Light Rail we remain skeptical that the current proposal will achieve its objectives

Objective 5: deliver an affordable project solution to the Territory that drives innovation and provides a value for money outcome.

Objective 4: provide Canberrans with an attractive, convenient, efficient and reliable integrated public transport system that facilitates choice, increases public transport patronage and reduces car dependency.

We believe further investigation is needed of the option of trackless trams currently under consideration in Sydney

The Federal Government has made decisions about the assessment process for of the Light Rail Stage 2. The delegate has determined that under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 construction and operation of

  • Stage 2B of the Light Rail proposal is a controlled action and the assessment will be made by way of an Environmental Impact Assessment to be be conducted by the ACT Government – Major Projects Canberra.
    • The controlling provisions were National Heritage places, listed threatened species and communities and Commonwealth land
  • Stage 2A of the Light Rail proposal is a controlled action and the assessment will be by way of an examination of preliminary documentation.

DRA along with ISCCC had submitted that the Stage 2B assessment should be way of independent public inquiry. This request has been rejected.

While DRA fully endorses the objectives of Light Rail we remain sceptical that the current proposal will achieve its objectives. 

Objective 5: deliver an affordable project solution to the Territory that drives innovation and provides a value for money outcome.

Objective 4: provide Canberrans with an attractive, convenient, efficient and reliable integrated public transport system that facilitates choice, increases public transport patronage and reduces car dependency.

We ask if the current express bus to Woden and local Deakin bus services will operate after Light Rail is built.


The ailing oak trees at the Deakin shops are responding to watering. They are being supplied with 500L per tree by a contractor. The ACT Government is buying lake water for the purpose

The eucalypts are also in urgent need of similar attention. Without it they must soon be candidates for removal

Would DRA like to support water purchases? Perhaps the commercial members and patrons of our terrific cafes and restaurants would back the initiative.

In the meantime DRA has been using watering cans to help the agapanthus on the Hopetoun Circuit roundabout to survive.

9 Jan / 2020

State of Alert

 A State of Alert was declared for the ACT on Thu 2 Jan 2020.

ACT Emergency Services Commissioner Georgeina Whelan has been appointed the Emergency Controller.

BE PREPARED:  The ISCCC encourages all Canberrans to develop a Bushfire Survival Plan and discuss with family and friends what you would do in the event of a bushfire.  A carefully thought out plan could save your life, the lives of family members, your neighbours, your pets and farm animals and your home.

The ESA advises the State of Alert is about preparedness. There is no immediate threat to the Territory. As a community we must all be prepared ahead of more extreme weather conditions that are forecast for the ACT and our surrounding region in the coming days, especially Friday.

The State of Alert that has been put in place will ensure that ACT emergency services are able to be as responsive as possible to any risks of bushfire in the coming days.

For all updates in relation to the State of Alert, please visit the ESA website at or follow ACT ESA on Facebook and Twitter.

and on the RED CROSS website at:

With bushfires currently in the surrounding region, it is important to keep up-to-date on the changing conditions via the ACT ESA WEBPAGE at  More frequent updates are provided on the ESA FACEBOOK and TWITTER sites.

STAY INFORMED WITH APPS you can download onto your phone.

To stay informed of fire activity in our region and around the country, we recommend:
FIRES NEAR ME: at  This app is constantly updated by NSW Rural Fire Service and will provide you with a map of fire activity. When you click on an icon shown on the map, you can read a brief description of the status of that fire.
ABC LISTEN APP: The official emergency broadcaster. Click on ‘Edit Stations’ in the top right-hand corner of the home page to select the station/s you want to listen to.

AIR QUALITY: With more smoke expected to descend upon Canberra at around 4:00pm on Wednesday 8 January you can monitor air quality at:
For regular updates on Canberra’s air quality go to:
Don’t forget to check on elderly and vulnerable neighbours during these extreme weather events.


Emergency Services have asked that you only phone 000 if you can actually see FLAMES from a fire or have a life-threatening emergency.
Please do not phone 000 to report smoke.


The ACT Government has announced that P2/N95 masks are being delivered to pharmacies and will be available for people at risk of the health impacts of exposure to the smoke from 7 January 2019. Masks will also be available through the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service for their clients.

The groups of particularly sensitive individuals who will be able to access these masks, if they choose, include:

  • People with existing chronic lung and heart conditions, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema, and heart disease
  • All pregnant women, and
  • People over 65 years of age.

Each eligible person will receive two masks at the pharmacy.

ACT Health recommends that people with lung conditions, such as chronic obstructive airways disease, asthma or emphysema, and people with chronic heart conditions, should seek advice from their medical practitioner prior to using these masks.

For further information visit the ACT Health website at:…/heavy-smoke-and-hot-conditions-…

In regards to retail sales of masks, some are available at Canberra pharmacies and hardware stores.


The Annual General Meeting of the Deakin Residents Association was held at the Bridge Club, Duff Place, Deakin on 7.00 p.m. 20 Nov 2019

The Draft Minutes and the President’s report are at this link.

The meeting was preceded by a presentation from guest speaker Mr Chris Steel MLA  Minister for Transport and City Services; Community Services and Facilities ; Multicultural Affairs in the ACT Government. He spoke on the Light Rail proposal, the potential impact on existing bus services and travel times between Woden and Civic. He discussed the health of trees particularly at the Deakin shops. We were also able to raise with him our concerns about traffic volume, speeds and parking.


12 Dec / 2019

Trees at Deakin shops

Deakin trees continue to deteriorate. In his presentation before the AGM Minister Steel said they had been unable to diagnose the what was ailing the oaks at the shops.  Mulch had been applied to assist water retention.  But first we need rain.

The Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC) invites you to have your say on what you value about your local area, suburb or the inner south generally, what you would like to change, or to be protected, to make it a better place to live.

The results will be discussed at the ISCCC AGM Tues 12 Nov 2019, 7-9pm Eastlake Football Club (Duffy Room)
3 Oxley Street, Griffith.

In particular, ISCCC is seeking your views on planning and development issues, as the ACT Government is undertaking the most comprehensive review of the planning system in over a decade.

The ISCCC is a volunteer-run association and peak body of inner south residents groups. It aims to improve the social, cultural, economic and environmental well being of Inner South Canberra and the Inner South Canberra community.

Inner south suburbs are Barton, Kingston, Griffith, Forrest, Deakin, Red Hill, Narrabundah, Yarralumla, Oaks Estate, Fyshwick, Symonston.

To do the survey click this link:

Some very unhappy Deakin residents are concerned about the size of  communications tower that has been constructed on the Deakin Oval. This eyesore can be readily seen from many parts of Deakin and  is unacceptable visual pollution and further erosion of our objective of enhancing the residential, suburban, social and environmental qualities of Deakin, consistent with garden city planning principles.

Why TPG needs a separate tower when there are already towers in Deakin, presumably owned by competing companies, at both bottom and the top of Gowrie Drive. We understand that ACT Government is not responsible for competition in the communication industry but we regard such triplication as just another example of appalling national policies on Communication (and Energy). We have competing poles and wire and now we have competing towers!

DRA understands that the development proposal for the communication tower involved a pre-consultation process and a formal consultation process from 2 August 2018 to 3 September 2018. However, the Deakin Residents Association was not informed by the developer, not invited to the pre-consultation process and not advised by the ACT Government of any subsequent consultations. After hearing through informal channels of a discussion of some form of development for the Deakin Oval, and unaware of what that might be, on 3 December 2018, the Deakin Residents’ Association wrote to EPSDD to seek information.

We have now seen correspondence from the tower provider, Catalyst One Pty Ltd, to EPSDD dated 1 August 2018 advising that the planned tower was to be a ‘new 20 metre monopole to replace an existing 20 metre light pole to establish a telecommunications facility located in Deakin’. However this advice is misleading as the documentation (attached) shows the top of the huge communications panels at 22.85 metres and the top of the tower itself beyond that, so the height in total is far above 20 metres. The girth of the tower is also massively larger than that of other light poles on the Deakin Oval. We are continually confronted by developments that ‘slightly’ exceed what is legal and or that have been approved in this case  22.85 m is not 20 m let alone the facility on top.

Comments from residents are welcome and will be passed to the Minister to whom we have written and who will be at our AGM on 20 Nov.