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The Barr Government is expected to declare a second 'urban renewal precinct' to encourage development along the stage two light rail corridor to Woden, but it could be three years away.
The creation of the precinct is understood to be part of the government's long-term plans, despite Chief Minister Andrew Barr's spokesman saying there was no intention to declare it "for some time".
Such a zone would likely mirror a similar precinct declared under the City Renewal Authority laws earlier this year, which is expected to lead to higher density commercial and residential development along the stage one route and Dickson shops.
Mr Barr took control of the new City Renewal Authority in June, despite saying at a ministerial reshuffle last year that Planning Minister Mick Gentleman would be responsible for the authority.
The Chief Minister had said the embattled Land Development Agency would be split into two agencies, in line with an election pledge, with Mr Gentleman in charge of the CRA and Housing Minister Yvette Berry running the new Suburban Land Agency.
The split of the old LDA followed an audit of controversial land deals involving the now-defunct agency, which is now being examined by a Legislative Assembly committee, with hearings expected later this month.
A second Auditor-General's probe is also underway into the now-defunct LDA's rural land purchases since 2012, while a third audit is also on foot into another land deal between the LDA and Tradies Club in Dickson.
Once the laws for the two new agencies were passed in June, Mr Barr took oversight of the CRA, a ministerial responsibility he held for the LDA before the reshuffle.
Mr Barr's spokesman said it was unlikely there would be any move to declare further urban renewal precincts "within this decade" - or before the end of 2020.
He said regardless of the creation of precincts under the Authority, all developments in the precincts must meet territory planning laws and regulations and National Capital Authority rules, where relevant.
"Urban renewal projects will continue to be undertaken right across Canberra both inside and outside of the City Renewal Authority-managed precinct," he said.
"The Planning Directorate and the Suburban Land Agency will manage ACT Government involvement in those projects."
All declared precincts must promote "urban renewal" and meet at least one of the following conditions: that it "facilitate" integrated commercial and residential development; integrate development with public transport or have benefits to the community, economy and environment.
Changes were also made this week to the laws governing the territory's CRA and Suburban Land Agency, giving Mr Barr powers to give both agencies directions around any land purchases the bodies may make.
Those powers include being able to direct both agencies to ensure the respective boards formally approve land acquisitions and extend to outlining the requirements around government land purchases 'of a particular value'.
Those changes is part of broad efforts to improve transparency and governance around government land deals, in the wake of the last year's audit report and a governance review of the LDA that followed it.
The extra powers are consistent with the Treasurer's existing responsibility over both agencies' involvement in subsidiaries, joint ventures and trusts; changes which both the ACT Greens and Canberra Liberals supported.
This article first appeared on www.canberratimes.com.au
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