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Barr discussing ACT border expansion with NSW ministers

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The Canberra Times 27 Dec 2023 By Lucy Bladen

Chief Minister Andrew Barr is raising a potential border change with senior NSW ministers, ahead of formal negotiations between the ACT and NSW governments.

The ACT is pushing to expand its border in the north in Ginninderry to allow the whole housing development to be within territory borders.

NSW has indicated its decision on moving the border would be based on an analysis considering service provision for the development.

The land, located in Parkwood, is within the Yass Valley Council and the council has been considering the possibility of the ACT building a water pipeline to Murrumbateman to offset any lost rates revenue.

Parkwood would form part of the ACT government's joint venture Ginninderry development, in west Belconnen.

The ACT has long pushed for the border to be expanded in this region and has even bought land in this area for future expansion plans.

Former NSW premier Dominic Perrottet gave the green light for negotiations to start about the move last year and had indicated in principle support for the expansion of the ACT's borders.

Mr Barr has continued to raise the matter with NSW Premier Chris Minns, who was elected in March, and other NSW ministers, an ACT government spokeswoman said. However, no decision has been reached on the proposed border move.

The Chief Minister has previously expressed strong confidence that the border would be moved, saying in 2022 he had the "formal tick of approval" and "it's going to happen".


NSW Premier Chris Minns and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr. Picture by Karleen Minney

When Mr Barr was asked about the border move he said the ACT continued to work with NSW on a range of issues.

"We continue to work very constructively with the NSW government on a range of cross-border issues and that covers everything from planning for future population growth to water supply issues to transport connectivity across the ACT and NSW," he said.

"A project I am very focused on is improving the Canberra-Sydney rail corridor."

There is no timeline set for the move of the border but there have been concerns land constraints could force the move of the border to come forward.

Development of the land was not expected to start until 2032 but documents released under freedom of information, earlier this year, showed territory officials were considering whether work needed to start earlier. Officials said this was due to delays with developing land on the ACT side of the border.

The ACT government spokeswoman said any decision from NSW would be based on analysis that is underway.

"NSW officials have advised the ACT that future options analysis by NSW government on a border move for Parkwood will be informed by work currently underway to consider service provision for the development in NSW," the spokeswoman said.

The NSW Parkwood land was rezoned in 2020 to allow for the development of 5000 homes for about 13,000 residents.

There are expected to be about 30,000 residents and 11,500 homes across Ginninderry when the ACT side is taken into consideration. The development would span about 1600 hectares across the ACT and NSW with homes to be built on about 800 hectares.

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