The Urban Development Institute of Australia (Northern Territory) perspective
The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Northern Territory strongly supports the concept of a carefully and strategically planned future for the Greater Darwin Region. To achieve this we believe this plan needs to address:
- Immediate (short term) identified growth needs (for example what do we do to accommodate the arrival of INPEX?)
- Medium term growth needs (the primary focus of the existing plan); and
- Long term growth needs (this aspect is not given sufficient focus on the current Consultation Paper).
UDIA (NT) believes that a key element of good planning is customer focus. That is, planning needs to address current and future demographics and the needs and wants of each demographic group. Hence we advocate a greater emphasis on research to identify who is likely to move here, the specific developments these new arrivals will need, how the existing population is changing (for example through ageing) and the future needs of this group. We believe the plan currently focuses on available supply, rather than current and projected needs and wants.
A critically important aspect of any future planning for Darwin’s growth is provision of efficient and effective transport infrastructure which is appropriate to our specific needs and will help to manage our ecological footprint into the future. The UDIA (NT) questions whether the development of a new satellite population centre at Weddell is consistent with this concept. In fact when considered against the seven Strategic Directions for the region identified on pages 34 and 35 of the Consultation Paper, it is unlikely an objective planning process would choose the
Weddell option to achieve Greater Darwin’s growth.
Other critical infrastructure needs such as water and power also need to be delivered in an efficient and timely manner and there is considerable scope to identify innovative solutions to achieve more sustainable service delivery, thereby assisting to achieve more affordable housing. A greater emphasis on infill, as well as development of previously undeveloped areas which are located close to existing infrastructure, is consistent with the most efficient and environmentally sound use of existing infrastructure. The UDIA (NT) strongly supports the need for more research on the available options for accommodating the growth of Greater Darwin and the best “fit” each of these options has to the efficient and environmentally sound delivery of infrastructure.