Election policy: 10 more community gardens across Canberra

If re-elected in 2012, ACT Labor will fund 10 more community gardens across Canberra in existing suburbs to make our community places and spaces even better.

We will provide an additional $200,000 over four years in capital funding to establish the community gardens through a new Community Garden Funding Program.

This funding commitment is in addition to our existing commitment to cut red tape in the establishment and operation of community gardens.

The 14 community gardens already operating in the ACT, provide opportunities for urban and suburban residents to grow their own fruit and vegetables and enjoy gardening activities in a social setting, as well as creating a greater sense of community.

Growing food locally in this way provides benefits in building community health and wellbeing, which in turn contributes to the liveability of our city.

The ACT Labor Government recognises the increasing popularity of community gardening, and values the contribution it makes to a healthy society and a more sustainable environment.

Community gardens are generally community-initiated, and managed by community organisations on behalf of their members.

The ACT Labor Government has already responded to the increased demand for community gardens in our new and established suburbs by cutting red tape and making it easier for community groups to set up a garden.

This funding commitment is in addition to our existing commitment to cut red tape in the establishment and operation of community gardens.

Policy costings

ACT Labor’s plan fund more community gardens across Canberra


2013 – 2014

2014 -2015

2015 – 2016

2016 – 2017


Recurrent funding






$0.2 million






$0.2 million

How will it work?

A Community Garden Funding Program will be established to provide $200,000 over four years to establish the gardens based on criteria developed through feedback on the Community Gardens Discussion Paper.

The funding will cover the costs of setting up a garden, such as establishing the water supply, providing fencing and basic infrastructure including equipment sheds and garden beds, and any initial set up costs.

Recognising the strong interest in our community for people to be involved in communal gardening activities, we will make sure that residents in our new and developing suburbs also have access to this type of facility. That’s why when we plan for new suburbs in our growing city we are identifying suitable sites for community gardens.

We have already allocated $100,000 to establish a community garden in each of the two new suburbs of Coombs and Lawson in the Molonglo Valley as an integral part of developing sustainable suburbs for Canberrans.

ACT Labor will also involve residents in choosing the final community garden sites, and for the first time, enable Canberrans to nominate and vote online for preferred locations of a garden in their local area.

Siting gardens locally supports our objectives of reducing the Territory’s ecological footprint and carbon emissions, producing food locally, and engendering social inclusiveness and a sense of belonging.

What we are already doing

ACT Labor knows that community gardening improves community health and well-being, food security, lowers natural resource consumption and builds community resilience.

We’ve helped established up to 14 community gardens across the ACT – in Charnwood, Cook, Cotter, Dickson, Erindale, Holder, Kaleen, Kambah, Kingston, Mitchell, Oaks Estate, O’Connor, Narrabundah and at the ANU. Eleven of these are managed by the Canberra Organic Growers Society (COGS).

The typical Canberra community garden has individual garden plots for 20 or more members, plus communal areas. There are also many kitchen gardens associated with schools and productive gardens within some public housing complexes.

More requests are being regularly received from the gardening community for suitable land to be set aside in new estates and in established neighbourhoods.

ACT Labor has already;

  • Amended the Planning and Development Regulations to exempt community gardens on unleased Territory land for the need to gain development approval;Waived the licence application fee for community gardens (previously $1500);
  • Begun establishing a ‘one stop shop’ for the processing of any matters relating to community gardens, including a single entry point on the ACT Government website;
  • Commissioned a research study by the University of Canberra on the demands for and benefits of community gardens to the Canberra community, to inform future policy and grants programs; and,
  • Released a discussion paper (Community Gardens in the ACT: Draft Site Selection Criteria for Future Locations) to get the public and stakeholder views as to where and how such gardens should be established (available at http://www.actpla.act.gov.au).

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