DRA would like to draw your attention to a paper that analyses if Light Rail Stage 2 is the most effective way to achieve the ACT Planning Strategy 2018 for the integration of land use and transport to make Canberra a more livable city. The full paper is at the link.

Analysis of the costs and benefits of light rail vis-à-vis electric buses is negative.

The Productivity Commission states it “will leave it to the (Joint Standing) Committee to ponder the relative attractiveness of light rail when such projects have consistently seen major cost blow outs (see the Sydney light rail project currently underway). Government resources are limited and there are many other calls on the public purse that are likely better value than the ACT light rail project.

The ACT Auditor-General states the cost of light rail to Commonwealth Park may have been be underestimated and the project’s economic benefits overstated. He recommended that the economic analysis be reviewed and updated, including assumptions behind costs and benefits. He added that this analysis should be made publicly available.

Light Rail and/or electric buses will not greatly redduce the great dependency on cars that people have as not only do they have to travel to work but they need to drop off/pick up their children at day care centres/schools on their way to and from work.

The current COVID19 pandemic has shown that emissions from private vehicles (69%) are effectively reduced by working from home. As Professor David Hensher, Founding Director of The Transport Opinion Survey, says “Beyond the COVID-19 period, we can expect commuting activity to decline by an average of 25 to 30 percent as both employers and employees see value in a work from home plan”.

The ACT Auditor-General considers that demand for public transport may not be as great in future due to changes in the way people work, with many continuing to work remotely.

The capital cost of Brisbane Metro network is $944 million over 21-kilometres of existing busway infrastructure. In comparison, ACT Light Rail Stage Two will be 11 kilometres long (actually, 10.7 Kilometres) at an estimated cost of $1.9 billion in 2020 figures.

Brisbane Metro is expected to return $1.91 of benefits for every $1 spent. ACT Light Rail Stage 2 is expected to return $0.40 to $0.60 of benefits for every $1 spent a figure that includes very doubtful “Woden Development benefits”. The Auditor General’s report expected a return of $0.20.

The Productivity Commission stated in its submission to the (Joint Standing ) Committee that “The ACT Government’s decision to proceed with a light rail project appears to be an example of where the results of cost-benefit analysis have been ignored without a valid explanation”.

The ACT Government argues that it’s too late to change. However installation of the light rail infrastructure (wire free tracks, etc.) for Stage2A (to Commonwealth Park) is scheduled to start in 2024. The rest of Stage 2 (Commonwealth Park to Woden TC) is not programmed at all. There are still huge problems to resolve as well as a lengthy approvals process – hence the $93M design contract to AECOM. The Commonwealth Government and the Parlaiment of Australia itself has to approve passage of the line throught the Parlaimentary Zone.


A telecommunications network base station facility is proposed near the southwest corner
of Deakin Oval. The proposed facility will replace an existing light pole, with the
existing lights to be relocated onto the new monopole.  More details at www.rfnsa.com.au/2600028

The proponents have invited comments on the proposal byFriday, 18th March 2022.
Send to  submissions@bmmqroup.com.au

More detail in the flyer at IMG_20220310_0003

Residents are concerned about:

  1. Unacceptable appearance of the proposal

In comparison with the existing telecommunications tower in the south-east corner of the Deakin Stadium Oval, the proposed Telstra tower presents an even more intrusive and invasive visual blight as it is located right in the centre of the public park in full view of residents in an aged residential village (The Grange), public housing, townhouses, apartments and house blocks.

  1. Need for a separate tower?
    If telecommunications equipment must be located in Deakin, why not co-locate it on the existing pole to minimise the visual impact, as that unacceptable aesthetic is already in place?

Has consideration been given to locating such telecommunications equipment elsewhere in the area, for example at the top of Red Hill, where its impact is further away from residents, and the height of the tower would make it more effective?

  1. EME levels
    We note that the EME levels are calculated to increase due to the new tower by 64.5% at 100-200 metres distance from the tower, which is exactly where the children’s playground is situated. This is a concern for the health and safety of children and the community.
  2. Concern for wildlife
    On summer evenings, fruit-bats and birds flock from Commonwealth Park over Deakin, and we are concerned that the impact of a tower of the height proposed will have on these and other wildlife.
  3. Lack of consultation and disruption caused
    With regard to the existing telecommunications tower, we did not receive prior notification of that development, and we are aware that residents at The Grange, and on Newdegate St and De Chair St were similarly not consulted. Furthermore, when it was constructed, the trenching spoil was illegally dumped in the park for weeds to grow over, trenches were dug and not re-instated so that weeds grow over, bollards were removed to provide access, but not reinstalled, and lie to this day on the ground next to their original placement. Despite complaints by residents to the ACT Government, nothing was done to rectify this. We are concerned that the proposed development would result in similar levels of disruption and disregard for the condition and amenity of the park.


8 March 2022 concerns of the Deakin Residents’ Association

Report by John Bell, President, to the
Inner South Canberra Community Council

Non-Standard blocks: Currently there are two redevelopment proposals is Deakin which are of concern. One of them involves a non standard block. Essentially, a standard block is one intended for a single dwelling. Anything else is non standard. The problem is that non-standard blocks are exempt from some of the key provisions of the Multi Unit Housing Development Code.

A variation to the Territory Plan, DV350, was supposed to fix this loophole in the Territory Plan. It did not. We have discovered that there are non standard blocks in other parts of Canberra that are causing similar problems to what we are facing.

In Deakin suburb, the proposal is to cram 4 town houses on to a regular block in the middle of our RZ1 zone. The Proposal is in breach of a number of provisions of the code and overlooks the neighbours. We have lodged an objection to the development. You can read more about this on the DRA website or our Facebook page. We are also exploring possible solutions that the government could use to remove this loophole.

Raising London Circuit: Let me remind you – the proposal is to remove the current underpass and raise London circuit so as to create an intersection with Commonwealth Avenue controlled by a new set of traffic lights. It will enable Light Rail Stage 2A coming around the west side of London Circuit to get up to the level of Commonwealth Avenue. This is part of yet another attempt to get rid of the traffic cloverleafs so that the land can be leased for high rise development. This would destroy the vistas that the Griffins thought important. Can you imagine the Washington DC city administration ever allowing this to happen on the banks of the Potomac?

RLC will involve a 2-year construction period. During this time, traffic capacity on Commonwealth Avenue will be reduced by 80 per cent. There will be a major loss of parking in Civic, increased travel times and increased emissions of carbon dioxide. Some 60,000 tonnes of fill will be trucked in. To try to figure out how to manage this, the ACT Government has established the aptly named Disruption Taskforce.

You won’t want to try to find parking near the Canberra Theatre. Some traffic will be redirected via Coranderrk Street to Parkes Way. Traffic lights will be installed on Parkes Way at the large roundabout with a pond in the middle. One likely impact of all this is that Inner South residents will no longer bother to try to get to Civic to shop.

The ACT Government is currently seeking works approval for RLC from the National Capital Authority. The ISCCC has provided a submission which can be accessed on our website or, unformatted, on the NCA website. The proposal has attracted strong opposition. We shall await the outcome of the NCA’s deliberations with interest.

Of course, raising London Circuit would be completely unnecessary if the Government had decided to adopt modern electric buses instead of Light Rail. We were pleased to see the Government calling tenders for the supply of 80 electric buses and disappointed when it subsequently cancelled the tender and announced that it would buy a much smaller number of these buses. In the meantime, Brisbane and Perth are going ahead with the purchase of electric buses, having found that earlier proposals for Light Rail were not economic.


The developer proposing a four townhouse development on a 967 square metre block in Deakin is exploiting a planning loophole that the ACT Government needs to close, the local residents association says.

The proposal for the two-storey project at 27 Lawley Street (Block 11 Section 14), on the corner with Norman Street, is on what is known as a non-standard block in the RZ1 suburban zone, where housing is low rise and predominantly single dwelling and low density in character.

It is currently occupied by a single residence that will need to be demolished.

These non-standard blocks are former public housing sites where the leases allowed two dwellings and now appear to be exempt from some important provisions of the multi-unit code.


An artist’s impression of the proposed Deakin townhouses. Image: Cox Architecture.

Deakin Residents Association president John Bell said it was a situation the association thought had been put to bed with the 2019 Draft Variation 350, which is designed to protect the suburban nature of RZ1 zones being compromised by denser development.

“It was all supposed to be solved then and we weren’t supposed to have suddenly popping up people wanting to put four townhouses on a rather ordinary-looking block in the middle of an RZ1 zone,” Mr Bell said.

He said the owners of these legacy blocks were entitled to put two dwellings on them, but the Lawley Street proposal was outrageous and completely out of keeping with the garden city character of the neighbourhood.

The proponent has applied to change the lease from two to four dwellings.

The peppering of Deakin with these kinds of developments would be disastrous and destroy the planning fabric of the suburb, Mr Bell said.

“We want these non-standard blocks to be subject to the multi-unit housing code,” he said.

“There is no reason why they should be treated any differently, and given this is in RZ1, you can do two.”

He said both the Planning Minister Mick Gentleman and the Chief Planner Ben Ponton had told an Assembly committee in 2018 that DV350 would deal with inappropriate multi-use development on certain blocks in some older Canberra suburbs.

Mr Ponton had also expressed concern that proposals were being submitted that took advantage of this “loophole”.

“In terms of the amenity, as I said, RZ1 zoning is about suburban development. The government has made the decision that in those zones we want to see a particular type of development which is low-scale,” he said at the time.

The DA prepared by Purdon Planning insists that the Deakin proposal is low-scale, will deliver urban infill with “minimal adverse impacts”, and fits with the government’s infill goals.

It says the building will respect the low-scale landscape values of the suburb at less than 8.5 m high, provide 40 percent open space on-site, vegetation to the boundaries, separation from adjacent dwellings, minimal overlooking opportunities, and minimal overshadowing effects.

“This development will provide substantial residential amenity for those on-site, through large three-bedroom dwellings, with double garages for storage, multiple living areas across differing levels for relaxation, and private open spaces commensurate to the size of these dwellings,” the DA says.

But Mr. Bell said trees were often the first to go with these kinds of developments, including those affected by excavation and shadowing.

The Association’s representation to the DA says a number of trees and their root zones will be impacted.

It also raises a number of compliance issues with setbacks, building envelopes, above-ground floor heights, courtyard walls, fence heights, building facades, and insufficient space for vehicles in the basement garages.

The landscape plan shows most of the open space is paved or concreted and two of the units have plunge pools. It also shows evergreen native shade trees on the verges, shrubs, and groundcovers.

Floriade bulbs have been lifted from the Macgregor St beds. The car park and Double Shot beds have been weeded and those bulbs will come out in few weeks. All bulbs will be available to DRA members to plant on their nature strips and elsewhere in winter to supplement Floriiade in Spring 2022.

The Deakin Residents Association is concerned about the growing expense and damage that will result of the construction of a Light Rail through the heart of Canberra, compared to the benefits of transport alternatives such as electric buses and improved cycleways. While the matter is a local one for the ACT, it is also a matter for all Australians because it will disrupt heritage vistas and damage sites of national importance. The Australian Government can be stop it by refusing to let it pass through national land such as the woodland surrounding Parliament House.
Our estimate is the second Stage of light rail will cost at least $3bn or $300m a kilometre.  Land sales and redevelopment that supported light rail Stage 1 do not apply. We are alarmed at information we have heard about the ACT’s budgetary situation. The heavily indebted ACT Government seems incapable of reviewing the decision made years ago to build it. So we are seeking public support for our campaign for government to not proceed with light rail stage 2B and to consider alternatives.
DRA believes that the new line will be too slow, – taking twice as long as existing bus services, locks the ACT into outmoded single-track technology and makes it impossible to maintain an express service from Civic to Woden such as the one that currently operates.
Light Rail construction will be severely disruptive – requiring several new bridges including one over the Lake Burley Griffin that will take years to complete. It will cause more pollution than is ever likely to be saved, and it will damage major heritage and scenic values of the Parliamentary Zone.
The first stage of light rail Gungahlin to Civic has been successful. Our case is that the reasons for this success do not apply to Stage II. There are a few opportunities for infill and land sales to offset its costs which are very much larger.
Also on our website is a video report of a meeting in October 2021 that Deakin Residents Association organised. In it we consider in more detail the transport, economics, heritage, and environmental damage caused by the Light Rail Project.
Join DRA Mailing List
to stay updated

DRA believes the National Capital Authority (NCA) should not grant Works Approval for Raising London Circuit (RLC) because it is part of Light Rail stage 2A. Consideration should only take place in the context of a fully documented Works Application for Light Rail Stage 2. It should also await a full response to the Auditor General’s report on Light Rail Stage 2A. This position supports the Inner South Canberra Community Council submission

To view the plans and comment yourself, visit the National Capital Authority and make a submission which closes on 24 Dec 2021

Other points

  •  If the ACT Government needs the revenue from leasing the land within the cloverleaf ramps, it could do so without RLC
  • The RLC proposal makes unsubstantiated and/or unsupported claims about how the RLC proposal is consistent with the National Capital Plan . These need to be examined critically.
  • Claims of “future proofing” the transport network through a massive investment in light rail (which suffers from inflexible routes, inability to provide express services, and high track construction costs with significant greenhouse gas emissions) should be rejected.
  • On its own, RLC will not improve connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians and will not improve access to Lake Burley Griffin
  • There will be significant adverse impacts (traffic, noise, parking, travel time, pedestrian access, greenhouse gas emissions and road damage) during the extended period of RLC construction
  • In particular, the loss of a large number of parking spaces in the CBD will adversely impact on workers, shoppers, businesses and theatre goers.
  • Travel time between north and south Canberra will be increased
  • RLC will have a negative impact on the landscape and vistas that are an essential element of the Griffin design.

Notice of 2021 Annual General Meeting

This is to notify all Members of Deakin Residents’ Association Inc of the 2021 Annual General Meeting of the Association on Wednesday 24 November 2021 at 6:45 pm at the Canberra Bridge Club, Duff Place, Deakin ACT.

Doors will be open from 5.30 pm to enable the sign and observation of COVID-19 precautions. We encourage attendees to arrive early.

The meeting will be accessible by Zoom and will be recorded.

Join Zoom Meeting    https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84885497036

A Public Meeting will precede the AGM with a talk by a guest speaker Senate Candidate, Kim Rubenstein


This Notice attaches the following documents:

  •  The agenda and draft Minutes from the previous AGM;
  •  A nomination form for candidates for election to the Committee
  •  A proxy form for any members unable to attend;
  •  An RSVP form –- the capacity of the venue is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions;  so we request that attendees advise of the intention to attend. Seating will be reserved at the meeting for those who RSVP in a timely manner.
  • Treasurers report

Due to COVID restriction, it is not possible to serve refreshments and attendees are welcome to bring a bottle of water. There will be a very limited opportunity to meet Committee members or other DRA members before or after the meeting.

Nominations for Committee positions:

All committee positions are open for election and members are strongly encouraged to nominate. The DRA can only serve its membership and the community to the extent that individual members are willing to contribute time, effort and ideas to taking the association forward.

We are a happy group that does most of it work by email.  We need 10 committee positions and welcome nominations.

Members considering nomination are welcome to contact the Secretary, secretary@deakinresidents.asn.au to discuss how you might contribute to help the DRA function at its best. 

Public meeting 24 Nov 2021

Bridge Club, Duff Place, Deakin

6 00 pm  Kim Rubenstein, Independent ACT candidate for the Senate is a law professor, author, citizenship expert, human rights advocate. Kim will share her view that the Australian Constitution is out of date, our Parliament is unrepresentative, there are much needed policy changes on climate, on childcare, on gender sensitive budgeting, on where, when and how we work, on inclusion and reconciliation, on moving toward a republic.

She says she is running for the Senate to help foster and encourage a different style of politics.

Annual General Meeting

1.  Welcome and apologies
2. Declaration of conflict of interest.
3. Proxies
4. Confirmation of Minutes of Annual General Meeting of 18 November 2020
5. Reports 

  • DRA President, John Bell – President’s report, to include an update on the Light Rail Stage 2 and·       the proposed densification of the light rail corridor.
  •  Treasurer’s Report

6. Election of Committee Members and Office Bearers. All positions are vacant. A
nomination form is below.
7. Other Business
8. Close of Meeting


Nomination for Office Bearers & Other Committee Members

Note: The Rules of the Deakin Residents’ Association Inc require that nominations for candidates for election to the Committee or specific Offices of the Association should be received by COB 23 November 2021 by the Secretary, (secretary@deakinresidents.asn.au) . However, if insufficient nominations have been received to fill all the positions, further nominations can be accepted at the Annual General Meeting.

Committee positions comprise the four named Office Bearers, plus up to six other Ordinary Committee Members


We the undersigned members of the Deakin Residents’ Association Inc nominate the following Member for election to a Committee position:

Name of Member nominated ………………………………………………………………(please print)

Position for which Member is nominated (please circle):

President   |  Vice-President  |  Treasurer  |  Secretary  | Other Committee member

Names and signatures of two Members nominating candidate (nominations need to be signed by two current Members of the Deakin Residents’ Association Inc ):

Name 1: …………………………..……… (print)    Signature 1: …………………………….………Date:       /    /2021

Name 2: …………………………………. (print)     Signature 2: ……………………………………..Date:     /     /2021

I consent to the above nomination:

Signature of Member nominated: ………………………………….. …………..Date:    /     /2021

Please return nomination by email (attach a photograph, PDF or scan showing signatures) to secretary@deakinresidents.asn.au.

Nominations can also be sent to PO Box 9056, Deakin, ACT, 2600.


Deakin Residents’ Association Inc

Reg No: A05199

I (name)……………………………………………………………………………

of (address) ………………………………………………..……………………….

being a member of the Deakin Residents’ Association Inc hereby appoint


(name)………..……………………………of (address)………………………………….

as my proxy to vote for me on my behalf at the Annual General Meeting of Deakin Residents’ Association Inc to be held on 24 November 2021 and at any adjournment thereof



the Chair of the meeting to vote on my behalf

[strike out or delete whichever of the above does not apply]


this…………………………..….…..day of ………………………….…….…..2021