Project status: Closed


How you had YourSay:

The Better Suburbs Statement was tabled in the Assembly on Tuesday 18 September 2018 by the Minister for City Services, Chris Steel, after being developed through a new model of engaging with the community – deliberative democracy.

The Statement reflects the value the community places on the different city services provided by the government and identified the efficiencies that could be drawn from this.

To develop the Better Suburbs Statement, there were three rounds of consultation:

  • Phase 1 – where the community was asked to provide feedback on city services
  • Phase 2 – built on findings from Phase 1 to develop the Kitchen Table Discussion Guide to better understand the city servicing priorities that are important to the community and stakeholders
  • Phase 3 – a Citizens’ Forum of randomly selected participants from the community who worked together to develop the content for the Better Suburbs Statement.

The Better Suburbs Program then continued with shared decision making about play space funding allocations being undertaken with a smaller community forum, which included members of the Citizen’s Forum. This participatory budgeting activity identified the allocation of 2018-19 Better Infrastructure Funding for play space infrastructure improvements in Canberra.

An independent evaluation of this participatory budgeting trial has been completed by Magical Learning Pty Ltd and can be found here.

We began a rolling process to implement the Statement’s directions as we move towards a more resilient and sustainable future for Canberra’s city services. In each annual Budget round we will progressively adjust our investment so that over time it aligns with the priorities and focus areas outlined in the Better Suburbs Statement. The Better Suburbs: Making Progress document provided details on the funding commitments in the 2019-20 Budget.

We looked at:

Canberra is expected to be home to about 500,000 people by 2030. Our suburbs will look and feel different and our city services will need to respond to changing expectations. How we use our land for housing and other purposes, move around our city, care for our environment and have services and space that allow us (and our animals) to be social will be different.

Decisions about our city services need to be made now for the future. They will have to balance community needs with being financially sustainable. This Better Suburbs Statement gives us a shared vision for city servicing in 2030.

Most – but not all – city services are within the scope of the Better Suburbs Program. The services included in the program and the Statement are:

  • Domestic animal services
  • Construction and maintenance of footpaths and cycle paths
  • Construction and maintenance of roads
  • Parks and public amenity
  • Shopping precincts
  • Recreational facilities
  • Stormwater management
  • Street lighting
  • Traffic management
  • Trees and shrubs
  • Waste management

Your views were used to:

Your feedback from Phase 1 and 2 consultation were used to present discussion topics in Phase 3, the Citizens' Forum.

The survey findings, Kitchen Discussion Guide feedback and Citizens' Forum discussions contributed to the development of the Better Suburbs Statement.

The Better Suburbs Statement was drafted and presented by a Citizen’s Forum to the then Minister for Transport and City Services, Meegan Fitzharris, MLA on the last day of Forum proceedings. The Statement is now publicly released.

Following the release of the Better Suburbs Statement, play space reviews in Waramanga, Torrens, Narrabundah, Higgins and Richardson began. These reviews informed preliminary sketch plans for feature play spaces based on the outcomes of the community engagement process. The designs for each play space are below.

Construction has now been completed!

There are elements for swinging, climbing and exploring, with plenty of space for relaxing under shaded seating areas and teenage hang-out areas. Other elements featured across the new play spaces include a climbing net, log steppers and basketball court at Torrens, dirt bike track, accessible spinner and picnic shelter at Higgins, nature play circuit, climbing slope and birds nest swing at Narrabundah, skate ledges and ramps, nest swing and spinner at Richardson.

Nature play spaces were also identified as great additions to our extensive playground network. In late 2018 pop-up sessions, co-design workshops and an online survey were used to inform final designs for nature play spaces. Construction is complete for the three nature play spaces in:

  • City – Glebe Park
  • Woden – Eddison Park
  • Farrer – near the shops

Each of these nature play spaces provide creative and imaginative play experiences. Fireman’s ladders, ropes, climbing nets and beams have been installed to encourage exploration and play outdoors. They each use elements from the landscape, such as rocks and logs to encourage children to climb, jump and explore!