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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Doma to develop Brickworks precinct

Canberra property developer Doma has been announced as the successful tenderer to restore and redevelop the Yarralumla Brickworks precinct.

Doma will undertake heritage conservation works of the Brickworks, its Quarry and Railway Remnants, and a residential development of 380 dwellings.

“The restoration of the much-loved Brickworks precinct will bring it to life again,” said ACT Urban Renewal Minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith.

“The proposal for an onsite museum, new recreational uses and a mix of stand-alone houses, terraces and apartments will be sympathetic to the historic landscape and continue to tell the story of the Brickworks.”

The works will now move towards the detailed design development phase, which will include community engagement. Doma have been tasked with delivering the project within the next five years.

Doma’s Managing Director, Jure Domazet, said their masterplan “preserves and respects” the site’s heritage, and will include the retention of most of the existing structures which will be repurposed into commercial and retail spaces, or left as relics “evidencing the industrial history of the site”.

“The scale of the site allows us to approach the Brickworks as a landscaping project that happens to include beautiful, boutique, low-density dwellings. A significant proportion of the site will be earmarked for parks, green space and a lake that will be accessible by all, not just precinct residents. A collection of some of Australia’s best architecture firms will work collaboratively on the project, but each will be assigned a specific building with an emphasis on high quality design and referencing of the history of the site.”

Doma will now prepare a Conservation Management Plan and present its tender concepts to various agencies including ACT Heritage.

Changes to ACT rental system

The Tenants’ Union ACT (TUACT) and the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) have welcomed improved protections for renters introduced into the Legislative Assembly by ACT Attorney General Gordon Ramsay MLA on 26 September.

Key changes will: increase the notice period from four weeks to eight weeks required for landlords to terminate a periodic lease where the landlord or family member wishes to move into the premises; reduce the maximum rent payable in advance to two weeks; provide a right for a tenant to terminate their agreement if they are accepted for a social housing dwelling or a residential aged care facility; and making a start on the introduction of minimum standards for rental properties.

Minister Ramsay said the measures would allow vulnerable tenants to terminate fixed term leases in order to move into social housing or aged care facilities that are better suited to their needs. Amendments would also ensure that tenants only have to pay a maximum of two weeks’ rent in advance, allowing them more flexibility by easing cost of living pressures.

There are also changes that strengthen the way in which the ACT Administrative Tribunal can alter tenancy agreements in family violence situations.

Furthermore, the changes contain additional safeguards for landlords should their properties be used for illegal activities.

Minister Ramsay said the Bill reflects community expectations, protects the interests of landlords, the rights of tenants, and modernises the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

“This Bill contains a balanced and considered suite of amendments that I am confident will make our rental laws better for our community,” he said.

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