A coalition of community and industry organisations is today calling on the ACT Government to embrace more missing middle housing as part of its response to Canberra’s growing housing crisis.

In an open letter, members of the ‘Missing Middle Canberra’ coalition are backing changes to allow more private, public, and community-owned duplexes and townhouses across Canberra by upzoning RZ1-zoned areas to the RZ2 standard. The open letter also calls for planning changes to allow for more homes to be built around and on top of local shopping centres, along with a reduction in mandatory parking requirements to 1 space per unit.

The letter comes as Canberra’s rents have risen by 17% over the past five years, with low vacancy rates and a growing social housing waitlist leading to a rise in housing stress among lower-income Canberrans. A lack of well-located homes in inner suburbs has also put at risk the Territory’s climate and sustainability goals by increasing the length of commutes and reducing use of cleaner public and active transport options.

Quotes from signatories:

“The ACT will need to house at least a hundred thousand new Canberrans over the next decade. Universal suburban upzoning is the fairest, cheapest and most effective way to build homes close to jobs and amenities, and has driven a decline real rents in Auckland since 2016. Missing Middle Canberra is the reform package we need to ensure our city has a home for every Canberran.” - Howard Maclean, Convenor, Greater Canberra

“We must move beyond a business-as-usual approach to housing. Increasing the supply of ‘missing middle’ housing in convenient and central locations must be on the table for planning reform if we are to address the increasing levels of housing crisis and homelessness among a growing cohort of Canberrans.” - Frances Crimmins, CEO, YWCA Canberra

“Most people ride or walk to work or the shops if they are a short distance away. However, that is often impossible in our spread out city, meaning Canberrans are stuck relying on cars. Increasing density will give more people the option to experience the health and environmental benefits of riding and other forms of active travel.” - Simon Copland, Executive Director, Pedal Power ACT

The Missing Middle Canberra open letter will remain open for individuals or organisations to sign until 2 March, when it will be submitted to the consultation on the new Territory Plan. To read the full letter or sign on, visit https://missingmiddlecbr.org.au.

Media enquiries

For media enquiries, or to get in touch with other Missing Middle Canberra signatories, please contact [email protected].