Common Ground for the common good

Released 12/09/2019

The ACT Government has today announced the next steps for Common Ground in Dickson with the release of the pre-Development Application consultation, the Territory Plan Variation consultation as well as asking for interest in philanthropic partnerships to help deliver this important project.

The ACT Government is committed to addressing homelessness and supporting low income and disadvantaged Canberrans.

The Common Ground housing model transitions people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing with the support they need to stay housed, to improve their connections to health, education and employment, and to live independently.

Common Ground Dickson will provide long-term housing for people facing chronic homelessness, focusing on supporting women and children, families and single parents, and older women—growing cohorts in need of assistance.

In July 2019 the ACT Government released a study exploring high and complex needs of people who are often chronically homeless.

This study, undertaken by the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Queensland, identified gaps in the services available and endorsed the development of a second Common Ground project for Canberra including the important wrap-around support services it provides.

Through sensitive design, Common Ground Dickson will provide 40 social and affordable homes with a mix of one, two and three bedroom units to support the needs of a mix of tenants.

The pre-Development Application design has brought together the views of the Common Ground board, the housing and homelessness sector, and insights from the University of Queensland study. The nature of the facility, the differing needs of the future residents and services that will be provided have influenced the building design and the ACT Government welcomes community feedback through the consultation process.

In order to build Common Ground and the additional community uses such as a café and social enterprise spaces, a variation to the current zoning under the Territory Plan is required. The ACT Government has started this work and is asking for community feedback through the statutory consultation process.

As with Common Ground Gungahlin, the Common Ground board is asking for local builders, businesses and community groups to support and contribute to the delivery of this important project.

Common Ground Dickson builds on the success of Common Ground Gungahlin, with the latest data showing 50 per cent of the social housing tenants engaged in employment, 25 per cent engaged in education or training and 40 per cent engaged in case management.

Quotes attributable to Yvette Berry, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development

"A good secure home is fundamental to so many parts of life. Common Ground is about more than just putting a roof over someone’s head, it is about building community and building real support for people in need.

“Common Ground is different from traditional homelessness support services because it locates safe and secure accommodation alongside vital supports and services that help tenants break from the cycle of homelessness.

“The Canberra community has always shown its willingness to give to the greater good and a key to the success of Common Ground Gungahlin was the positive community response and I hope that will be repeated in Dickson.”

Quotes attributable to Rachel Stephen-Smith, Minister for Urban Renewal

“Common Ground Dickson’s proposed design reflects what we have heard the community wants to see in Section 72.

“It comprises primarily low to medium-rise elements of up to four stories, and will deliver a social enterprise, café, communal green space and more trees. Common Ground Dickson has been designed to integrate into a broader redevelopment of Section 72, creating a safe and inviting environment and improving access and amenity for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Quotes attributable to Diane Kargas Bray AM, Chair of Common Ground

“I’m delighted that a commitment to a second common ground supported housing model has been agreed for Dickson. We know the Gungahlin Common Ground is very successful providing residents with a home and support enabling them to grow and flourish and build a sense of belonging.

“I think it is also a commitment of the Gungahlin community who has supported and welcomed the residents. This is a new opportunity for homeless individuals and families as well as low income earners to grow and flourish.”

Common Ground Dickson will deliver a key 2016 election commitment as well as part of the ACT Greens and ACT Labor Parliamentary Agreement.

More information on Common Ground Dickson concept designs, and engagement opportunities and the Territory Plan Variation consultation process can be found at

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Section: Yvette Berry, MLA | Media Releases

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