Oct 112009
 
ASIO Building

Artist impression: ASIO New Central Office from Constitution Avenue (Source: ASIO)

If you are concerned about the construction of the ASIO building adjacent to Campbell on Parkes Way and Constitution Avenue, whether because of its size, because of the inappropriateness a security agency in such a symbolic location, or because of the almost total lack of public consultation, then please look at some of the suggestions below as to what you can do, to either turn the tide or to help guarantee better consultation in future.

On 5th June 2009, ABC Stateline (ACT) ran the “ASIO Bugs Canberra” story that gives a good background on the community concerns regarding the building and the development approval process. (includes story transcript, and links to ASIO New Office website / video)

On 21st August 2009, “ABC Stateline (ACT) ran the Canberra tips on Murrumbateman” story that gives some insight into weed and asbestos contamination at the New ASIO building site. (includes story transcript, and video)

THINGS YOU CAN DO:

Write letters to all of the following:

  • A sample letter can be found at the bottom of this article.

1. The Minister for Home affairs Brendan O’Connor.

The Hon. Brendan O’Connor MP
Minister for Home Affairs
Po Box 6220
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2601

Email: brendan.o’connor.mp@aph.gov.au

2. All members of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories, starting with the Chair, Senator Kate Lundy.

See website for individuals’ details:
http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/ncet/members.htm

Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories
Department of House of Representatives
PO Box 6021
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Suggested plan for a letter expressing your concern regarding the construction for the ASIO building:

Request:

  1. Possible re-siting of the ASIO building or reduction in its size, especially height;
  2. Improvement in public consultation and transparency of the planning processes for buildings in Canberra within areas of Australian Government responsibility.

Key points:

  1. The building is massive and will have a hugely negative impact on the landscape and on heritage views. It is contextually incongruous with the Griffin plan’s ideal of balance within its parkland environment.
  2. The building runs counter to Griffin Legacy Amendment 60 which recommends, among other things, a “vibrant, mixed-use boulevard” for Constitution Avenue, not a giant precinct housing a single security agency, which by its nature will be impenetrable. The indicative drawings show at least seven smaller buildings for this site.
  3. The ten-day public consultation period was woefully inadequate, allowing the project to develop ‘under the radar’ with minimal scope for the expression of the public’s opinion.
  4. There will be a significant increase in traffic in adjoining suburbs. The building will house a proposed 1800 workers. Director of Roads ACT Tony Gill admitted at the September NCCC meeting that no study of the impact of traffic on nearby suburbs has been undertaken.
  5. Given the National Capital Authority has as some of its goals “the retention and enhancement of Canberra’s unique landscape character” and “to restore… the spirit and intent of the Griffin Legacy”, why has it failed to stand up to proponents of the ASIO building? Ask for an inquiry into the role and efficacy of the NCA

Conclusion: Romaldo Giurgola, the architect for Parliament House, has recently stated it is not too late to stop the building. At the very least, take it down a couple of storeys as suggested by Senator Humphries. Building plans can be amended even during construction, as was the case with the National Museum.

3. Roads ACT

Mr. Tony Gill
Director, Roads ACT
Department of Territory and Municipal Services, ACT
Locked Bag 2000, Civic Square ACT 2608
Phone: 02 6207 6588
Fax: 02 6207 6162

Email: tony.gill@act.gov.au

4. The National Capital Authority

Professor Don Aitkin AO
Chairman
National Capital Authority
GPO Box 373
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Email: natcap@natcap.gov.au

Website:
http://www.nationalcapital.gov.au/

5. ACT Federal Parliamentary Representatives

Mr. Bob McMullan MP – Member for Fraser
Email: Bob.McMullan.MP@aph.gov.au

Senator Gary Humphries – Senator for the ACT
Email: senator.humphries@aph.gov.au

Senator Kate Lundy – Senator for the ACT
Email: senator.lundy@aph.gov.au

Postal Address:
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Offer your help by contacting the people in the list below:

Contacts

Andrew Schuller

Ros Gordon

Catherine Doherty

Some useful Links:

Sample Letter :

  • As submitted by Andrew Schuller to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories regarding the ASIO building

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You can also read related articles that either mention or relate to the ASIO building on this site.

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