The ACT Government has undertaken a series of Master Plans in Belconnen. These include two in West Belconnen: Macgregor Local Centre (2001) and Macgregor Local Centre Amendment (2002) and four in the wider Belconnen area: Belconnen Lakeshore (1998), Belconnen Town Centre (2001), Jamison Group Centre (2002) and Lawson Concept Planning Study (2009). The Master Plans do not identify capital works expenditure for future budget consideration and do not provide an indication of cost or likely timing of capital works.
The ACT Government plans for the supply and release of land, taking account of factors such as forecast population changes, household changes, demand for land and the capacity to cost effectively deliver key infrastructure and services.
The four year Indicative Land Release Program is an enabler of the Government’s economic and social strategies for the community. The 2014-18 Draft Land Release Program as indicated in the 2014-15 Budget has foreshadowed land release of 48,815 m2 of commercial land; 48,300 m2 of community land and 3,061 residential dwellings. Much of this development is earmarked for the new suburb of Lawson.
Like all land releases in the ACT, West Belconnen land releases are determined according to the land release principles, which include promoting the economic and social development of the Territory and meeting the demand for residential land in the Territory.
The 2014-15 ACT Budget includes capital works funding (land release program) for feasibility studies for West Belconnen for roads and traffic; and for Stormwater, Hydraulic and Utility Services. The Budget also includes planning for a new sub-acute public hospital at the University of Canberra.
The Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate conducted community engagement activities with the Higgins and wider Canberra community in late 2013 on the development of the former Higgins School site (Block 2 Section 11) and the adjoining decommissioned oval (Block 19 Section 10). Development options include housing and a community park.
Lawson is a new suburb with approximately 1850 dwellings being developed by the Land Development Agency (LDA). Construction of the first stage commenced in September 2013, the first single residential blocks and medium density sites were released in December 2013 and construction works are anticipated to be completed by the end of 2016.
Section 48 Belconnen is located in the Belconnen Town Centre adjacent to the Canberra Labor Club. The Land Development Agency (LDA) proposes to redevelop the site for high density residential development and ground floor commercial space. Under the Indicative Land Release Program the LDA is committed to release 350 dwellings and 1000m2 commercial gross floor area in Section 48 Belconnen from 2013-14 to 2016-17.
2012 ACT Government Election Commitments
The ACT Government made eight election commitments to Belconnen, although none are specifically for West Belconnen. These include: expansion of services at enhanced Belconnen Health Centre, walk in centre at Belconnen Health Centre, replacement of Kese (Kaleen) disability respite property, upgrades to Belconnen High School, restoration of Weetangera Oval, oval irrigation and surface improvements at Hawker District Playing Field, Sports Hub at University of Canberra, investment in Calvary Hospital and a new Emergency Service Authority station at Aranda.
Social Infrastructure - Public and community housing
As at 31 May 2014, Housing ACT’s total stock holdings in West Belconnen was 1,104 which includes public housing, Housing Asset Assistance Program (HAAP) managed properties head leased to community organisations and HAAP managed properties head leased to Disability ACT.
Flynn Community Centre
The Flynn Early Childhood Education Centre commenced operations on 16 January 2012 and provides 115 childcare placements. The remainder of the building has been upgraded to provide accommodation for community organisations, community service providers and locally based community organisations to deliver services to the local and broader Canberra community. Currently Marymead and Belconnen Community Service have been allocated tenancies within the Centre. Further Expressions of Interest have been received and are being assessed from community organisations seeking to occupy space at the Flynn Community Centre.
Holt Regional Hub
Regional hubs provide tenancy for community organisations, enabling them to deliver accessible services to local communities. There are four hubs in Canberra: Chifley, Cook, Holt and Weston. Organisations in the Holt Regional Hub include Carers ACT, Anglicare, Sharing Places, National Brain Injury Foundation, and Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT. The Holt Neighbourhood Hall is also available to hire and is managed by Anglicare.
West Belconnen Child and Family Centre
The West Belconnen Child and Family Centre (WBCFC) assists parents and families with a range of information, support and services. It provides services based on the needs of children and their families, with a strong emphasis on providing services in homes, schools and the community.
While the ACT Government does not provide child care services it is responsible for licensing centre based care services and family day care schemes under the Children and Young People Act 2008.
The following child care facilities are owned and/or maintained by the Education and Training Directorate (ETD): Cooinda Cottage (Charnwood), Baringa Child Care Centre (Spence) and Spence Children’s Cottage (Spence). Baringa is owned by Territory and Municipal Services Directorate (TAMSD) but maintenance is carried out by ETD.
Communities@Work coordinates a range of family day care and after school care programs in West Belconnen and adjacent suburbs.
All ACT Government preschool education programs are part of an ACT Government Primary School. Pre-schools tend to be small in scale and distributed across the suburbs. The ACT Government provides seven pre-school sites within West Belconnen to children four years of age on or before 30 April. These sites are: Charnwood Dunlop School (Dunlop), Cranleigh School (Holt), Fraser Primary School, Kingsford Smith School (Holt), Latham Primary School, Macgregor Primary School and Mount Rogers Primary School (Spence pre-school). Cranleigh School caters for children aged 3 12 with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities.
Of the four preschools in Belconnen with the highest attendance, three are in West Belconnen (Macgregor, Charnwood-Dunlop and Kingsford Smith).
Capital works funding is provided in the 2014-15 Budget for the Community Services Directorate for the refurbishment of Holt Preschool.
Adjacent to West Belconnen, the Southern Cross Early Childhood School in Scullin caters for children from birth to eight years, and offers integrating services including child care, Preschool to Year 2 education and a range of community programs. Anglicare run the Early Learning Program at Southern Cross, for children aged 6 weeks to 5 years, as well as an Out of School Hours Care program.
Two non-government pre-school operates in West Belconnen. St. Thomas Aquinas Primary School established an Early Learning Centre (ELC) in 2011 and is situated on the Primary School campus on Lhotsky St, Charnwood. Brindabella Christian College established an ELC in 2012 as well as a primary (Kindergarten) class. The ELC is situated inside the Canberra Christian Life Centre, 46 Lhotsky St, Charnwood.
Primary and secondary Schools
There are eight schools in West Belconnen, with the ACT Government providing six of these. The majority of ACT Government schools are primary schools, which tend to be distributed evenly across the suburbs.
West Belconnen contains the following schools:
ACT Government Schools: Charnwood Dunlop School, Fraser Primary School, Kingsford Smith School (Pre-school to Year 10), Latham Primary School, Macgregor Primary School, and Cranleigh School- Special Needs School (is not specifically for
West Belconnen residents).
Catholic Primary St Thomas Aquinas Primary School, Charnwood
Independent Primary: Brindabella Christian College
Table 4: Breakdown of ACT Government and Private Schools in West Belconnen
K – 6
Note: Cranleigh School includes a mainstream preschool but is counted as one school. Kingsford Smith School is a K-10 school and includes a Koori preschool, but is counted as one school.
In addition, in the wider Belconnen area there are the following schools, 12 Government primary schools, five Catholic systemic primary schools, four Government high schools, one Catholic systemic high school/college, three Government colleges, and
The Belconnen School Network is one of four ACT Government School Networks, designed to facilitate a more comprehensive approach to school accountability and improvement. Schools are organised into networks based on geographical location.
School Network Leaders work with principals to ensure each ACT public school has a clear focus on improving the learning opportunities and performance of their students, and that each school has the support required to do it. Network Leaders develop partnerships within and across the four school networks and discuss with principals the performance of their schools and ways to enhance collaborative learning cultures that maximise student learning.
It is recognised that there are alternative educational pathways for students to undertake school level courses other than by attending an ACT public or non-government school. For students residing in the ACT as at February 2014, 177 were home educated. In addition, a further 309 students, who were of school age, undertook school equivalent courses at the Canberra Institute of Technology.
Canberra Institute of Technology
The nearest Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) campus to West Belconnen is located at Haydon Drive, Bruce. It is one of six CIT campuses in the ACT. The 2014-15 ACT Budget included funding for capital works and services upgrades at Bruce CIT.