Where is the CSIRO Ginninderra Field Station?

The Ginninderra Field Station is located in northern ACT. Covering 701 hectares, the site is bordered by the suburbs of Fraser, Spence, Evatt, McKellar, Giralang, Crace, Hall and Nicholls.


Canberra CBD to Ginninderra Field Station

Draft Concept Plan

Downloadable maps

Canberra CBD to Ginninderra Field Station [PDF, 4MB]

Draft Concept Plan [PDF, 1MB]

Why did CSIRO request the land at Ginninderra be included in the National Capital Plan Amendment?

We identified through our review process that the site at Ginninderra was underutilised for CSIRO’s research. CSIRO requested the amendment to the National Capital Plan so that we could understand what opportunities exist to optimise the value of the site.

We always look for the best possible use for each of our sites around Australia and when it is obvious that a site is no longer being fully utilised we review our options.

On Thursday 5 May 2016, Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government Paul Fletcher approved Amendment 86 to the National Capital Plan. This decision has classified the land at Ginninderra Field Station as ‘Urban’.

How long has CSIRO owned this land?

CSIRO acquired the Ginninderra Field Station in 1958 as a site for agricultural research. Before this, agricultural research took place on land which is now the Dickson shops. The site was moved from Dickson due to the encroachment of urban development, similar to what has now been encountered at Ginninderra.

What will happen to the profits CSIRO makes from this project?

While we are still in the early stages of this project, any profits CSIRO makes from the project will be reinvested into CSIRO. The revenue will be used to reinvest in our research facilities and programs.

We continually review our property holdings to make sure they fit with our organisational priorities and science objectives to make sure our investments and infrastructure meet these priorities.

What are CSIRO’s long term plans for this land? How long will CSIRO stay involved in the site?

CSIRO remains committed to the Canberra community, and thus committed to the successful and sustainable redevelopment of the Ginninderra site. Our hope is that it becomes an exemplar, both nationally and internationally, with a community that’s proud of its place in the ACT.

We plan to employ science to push design and delivery to new limits and realise improved social, economic and environmental benchmarks and outcomes.

Consequently, as we move forward in our venture, we are seeking a partnership where we maintain involvement and use the site to demonstrate world’s best practice in sustainable urban design.

CSIRO will be involved from the start to the end to ensure we achieve the outcomes that we’ve set out to achieve in our aspirations.

This means that any joint development partner will be a partner with CSIRO for the life of the project.

What is the next step for the Ginninderra Project?

In 2016 we approached the market for Expressions of Interest from suitably qualified development partners and shortlisted suitable respondents. In 2017 we will ask them to respond with a Request for Proposal, which will include a draft development control plan. Our joint-development partner will also assist us in ongoing discussions with the community and government (both at a territory and federal level).

Will anyone lose their jobs? How many CSIRO staff will have to move?

No staff will lose their jobs as a result of the relocation. We are currently in discussion with effected staff as to their future opportunities within CSIRO.


Has CSIRO spoken to the ACT Government? What is the ACT Government’s involvement?

Yes, we have had discussions with the ACT Government to understand how Ginninderra fits within current and future land release opportunities which may benefit both parties. We look forward to continuing these discussions into the future.

Are you speaking to the local residents about this? Will there be further community consultation and what form will this take?

We have engaged with the local residents from an early stage on this project and will continue this approach.

Letters were sent to all residents neighbouring the Ginninderra site along Owen Dixon Drive, while three drop in community sessions were held during September 2015 at Gold Creek, Evatt and Charnwood. Two further drop in sessions were held during August 2016 in Gold Creek and Evatt.

Contact was also made with more than 30 community groups who have an interest in the site to ensure the best community outcome for the site in the future.

The consultation process to date has been designed to consult and improve, given the early stage of the process.

We will be providing further opportunities for the community and other stakeholders to collaborate in subsequent stages of this long process, especially around planning and design of any new development.

Which electorate area will the new development belong to?

At present, the Ginninderra site fits within the Yerrabi Electorate for ACT elections and the Fenner Electorate for Federal elections.

Will the new area be in Belconnen or Gunghalin?

The Ginninderra site is located within the Belconnen region of the ACT, and is adjacent to the Gungahlin region.

Will the site be opened to an international design competition?

To realise our vision of a new benchmark in sustainable urban design, we are keen to implement an Australian design that is backed by the best Australian and international science and technology and harnesses the best ideas from the community.

Residential use

Will the land be developed for residential use and when will people we able to live there?

Urban classification allows for future uses including residential, commercial, community services, recreation and conservation areas.

At this point in time, we’re focusing on the second stage of development partner procurement with the hope of developing the site primarily for residential use.

We expect and hope that we’ll be in a position to deliver opportunities for people to live in this community starting in 2021/2022.

How many people do you expect to live there?

As the land was classified as ‘Urban’ in May 2016, it’s far too early to estimate how many people could live there.

How involved will the joint development partner be? Will there be targets set for them to meet?

Rather than a ‘property developer’ per se, we are seeking a partner that will be able to help us realise a sustainability vision through practical planning, design and on-ground application of the science from the very initial stages of planning.

We have examined successful international design models and developed sustainability benchmarks and targets which will be included in the tender documents to inform our joint-development partner.

Find out more about our targets here.


We are interested in purchasing. How will we know when blocks will go on sale?

We are in relatively early stages of planning so at this stage, we are not able to provide a date for when blocks will go on sale.  We have further investigations, planning work and approval processes to be undertaken before any building work could start.  We will keep the community updated on the project through our website and regular newsletters.

Will there be housing suited for older people and downsizers – for example, small easy-to-maintain blocks, accessible single level homes, close to community facilities?

We have heard a lot of feedback from community members about the need for appropriate housing for older residents and people looking to downsize to smaller homes.  Our intention is to provide a range of housing to meet the diverse needs of the community.  We are also committed to creating neighbourhoods where recreation, community facilities and shops are accessible to all residents.

Will there be big blocks for families that want a backyard?

While we are still to undertake the detailed planning and design of the future community, we envisage there will be a range of block sizes on offer to meet the different needs of the community. As well as hearing about the aspirations of families looking for space, we have also heard from older residents and first-home buyers looking for more compact blocks, and we look forward to a community where people from all stages of life can find a place to call home.

Can the housing be designed to fit in with the environment rather than the 'legoland' and 'multi-level, ticky-tacky shoeboxes' we see in other places?

CSIRO is committed to a community where residential living complements the natural environment and we will welcome the community’s feedback and ideas on how this can best be achieved now and as we undertake detailed planning and design with our future development partner.

Will there be affordable housing? Are you open to consider new ideas, such as the tiny house movement and shared equity?

CSIRO is committed to helping to address the challenge of affordable housing in the ACT.  CSIRO held an Affordable Housing Think Tank in April 2016, which brought out a wealth of ideas from an impressive gathering of industry, government, research and community experts. A range of ideas were discussed and there was strong encouragement for the Ginninderra Project to deliver affordable housing that best meets the diversity of societal needs. We will look at how this can be practically delivered as part of the detailed design and planning stages.

Community facilities

What recreation and sporting facilities will there be?

CSIRO’s aspiration is for an environment and community that encourages active and healthy living, with recreation areas being integrated into the planning for the site.  The nature and extent of sporting facilities will be discussed with the ACT Government and local sporting and community groups, and will take into account the facilities in surrounding suburbs.

Will there be open spaces for recreation, including parks and equipment?

Yes, over 30% of the site will be conserved to protect ecological values forming a core part of the open space network and providing opportunities for the community to enjoy passive recreation. Additional areas of open space including parks, playgrounds, walking and cycling paths, and barbeque/picnic areas will be incorporated into the urban development. We will be seeking community input on this when ready to undertake detailed planning and design.

Is any retail development being planned within this area – e.g. shops, restaurants?

Our preliminary planning includes provision of land for retail development on the Ginninderra site. This will be explored further in the detailed planning and design process.

Will there be a community spaces, such as a community centre and community hall?

There will certainly be community meeting and gathering spaces on the site and we will be seeking further community input on the types of facilities to be included during the detailed planning and design phase.  These discussions will take into account the availability of community centres and halls in surrounding suburbs and consultation with the ACT Government.

Will there be medical services?

We envisage that there will be medical and health service opportunities within the development and to that end we will make land available for private operators wanting to provide primary health care on the site.  Residents in the new community will also be close to Calvary Hospital and community health facilities in Belconnen and Gungahlin.

Hoping for new leisure areas such as parklands with wide paths to accommodate bikes plus strollers, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, etc.

CSIRO’s intention is for recreation spaces to include walking and cycling paths that are accessible for people across all ages and capabilities.

Will there be a registered club within the precinct?

There has already been some interest from community clubs and discussions will continue through the detailed planning and design phase. These discussions will take into account the presence and operations of existing clubs in surrounding suburbs.

Will there be ‘aged care’ facilities?

CSIRO is committed to seeing a community that provides a range of lifestyle options for all ages, and welcomes the interest that has already been shown by aged care providers.  These discussions will continue through the detailed planning and design phase.

Will there be a school?

We recognise the important role that education plays in our community. There has been quite a lot of interest in whether there will be schools or educational facilities on the site as well as how the development might connect with existing schools in surrounding suburbs. Preliminary discussions regarding education have taken place with the ACT Government’s Education and Training Directorate. The discussions will continue during the detailed planning and design phase.

Could the area adjoining Evatt become part of Evatt Primary School’s “Primary Enrolment Area”, and could consideration be given to using the existing Hall Primary School buildings to meet education needs of the new population?

How the Ginninderra development will contribute to the educational needs of the community and how it connects with and complements existing schools and facilities is a matter that we will continue to discuss with relevant ACT Government agencies and the community through the detailed planning and design phases.

It would be nice to have an area that is a community garden that the school kids from Evatt Primary and other local residents could become involved with. Please consider a market garden to employ unskilled workers and sell produce and flowers from the site.

Some local residents have expressed interest in community gardens on the site and this will be taken into account and explored further in the detailed planning and design process.

Can you think about the option of prayer/religious buildings as attractions in the region which will make the most of the natural beauty of the site?

Consideration of space for places of worship and other community uses will be done as part of the detailed planning and design process. Already there has been some interest expressed by faith-based organisations in being part of discussions about the site.


What is CSIRO planning to do to fix the traffic problem?

CSIRO recognises that there are a number of existing road and traffic concerns in the vicinity of the Ginninderra site and already a number of works and proposals for addressing these. Our due diligence studies and traffic modelling software enable us to look at likely future impacts from the new development and to understand the sort of measures that may be needed to address these. We are committed to working with ACT government agencies and the community through the detailed design and planning stages to ensure the project makes an equitable contribution to these works for the benefit of the community.

Will CSIRO upgrade the surrounding roads before work commences on the site?

The surrounding roads are owned and managed by the ACT Government. CSIRO will continue to work with ACT Government agencies so that the project makes an equitable contribution to these works. CSIRO has factored in contributions to these off-site works and would want to see these works commence at the appropriate stage in the project to support the increased traffic movements.

I am a long-time resident of Owen Dixon Drive and it is already difficult to get on the road during peak hour traffic. Is there provision for a service road when houses face the existing road? Is there provision for double glazing and/or sound breaking walls?

We are aware of current traffic impacts and local community concerns regarding Owen Dixon Drive and other roads in the local area. We are also aware of a number of current and proposed road changes that may help alleviate these concerns. As further development at Ginninderra will result in more vehicles on the local road network, we are keen to keep working with the local community and the relevant ACT government agencies through the detailed design and planning stages to ensure the best outcome for the community.

William Slim Drive is at its full capacity and would be further overloaded as a result of the proposed development. It is crucial that this road is duplicated and signalisation of William Slim Drive and Dumas Street intersection is undertaken way before the development commences.

We are aware of the congestion and community concerns about traffic on William Slim Drive. Roads ACT has identified the need for the duplication of William Slim Drive and the detailed design was completed in October 2013. This project will include the duplication of William Slim Drive and includes the signalisation of the William Slim Drive/Dumas Street intersection. The work will be completed when funding is available.

Kuringa Drive in its entirety needs upgrades for safety. Traffic control at the intersections of Owen Dixon Drive and Kingsford Smith Drive is poor and either roundabouts or traffic lights are needed. There is also no pushbike provision from the Barton Highway to Tilliard Drive along Kuringa.

Current and proposed changes such as the duplication of William Slim Drive and completion of changes to the roundabout where William Slim Drive meets the Barton Highway are likely to bring some reductions of traffic on Kuringa Drive and Owen Dixon Drive as well as Copland Drive. We are committed to keep working with the community and ACT Government agencies throughout further detailed planning stages for Ginninderra to see how what we do on and around the development can deliver the best traffic outcomes for road users, cyclists and the residential community.

CSIRO research

What research has taken place at the Ginninderra Field Station?

The purpose of the site in Ginninderra has been research into agriculture. Ginninderra has provided space for multiple research projects including testing varieties of crop seeds, animal farming and other agricultural experiments.

The site has contributed to major progress in Australian science including the development of BarleyMax and dual purpose wheats, crop and pasture improvement, sustainable farming, plant breeding and the effects of climate changes on crop production and soil carbon.

What will happen to the research taking place at Ginninderra?

We have purchased a new farm at Boorowa to continue the research currently taking place at Ginninderra. It is likely that we will take a staged approach to moving the research to the new site.

We have consulted with senior researchers at CSIRO about the opportunity and the impact of moving the farm. It is an opportunity to move closer to our clients who are farmers, as well as to use the latest digital farming technology. CSIRO remains committed to the research conducted on this site and will deliver on all contracted work.

What process is CSIRO following in regard to genetically modified crops on a small part of the site?

CSIRO has done some research into genetically modified crops at the Ginninderra property. CSIRO operates within strict guidelines, laid out by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR), which ensures the safety of the community and the environment, and also ensures rigorous scientific practices are followed.

As standard practice, CSIRO will implement the monitoring process as specified in our licence with OGTR. The team responsible for future planning of the Ginninderra site is fully aware of the minimum 24-month monitoring period for this area of the site and planning will proceed in accordance with that understanding.

On our current timelines, the earliest that development could commence on any part of the Ginninderra property is in 2019.

What will happen to the sheep and other livestock at the Ginninderra Field Station?

It is expected that the sheep and livestock will be moved to the new site. We will require livestock to remain at Ginninderra for the next 10 years in order to maintain the site. Over this period of time current livestock will progressively be either relocated to the new farm at Boorowa, to another location or sold.

Environment and heritage

What environmental studies have been done at the Ginninderra Field Station? What constraints have been identified on the site?

We are currently conducting environmental studies to ensure ongoing protection of areas that need to be protected for the future use of the site. We need to understand what the environmental impacts are for any development of the land. Species such as the golden sun moth and the box gum woodlands are on the site and will continue to be protected. For further information, refer to our Ecological Values Report or the Site-Wide Environmental Investigation Report which will be released once the Remediation Action Plan (RAP) is complete.

Can I get a copy of the environmental studies? Is there soil contamination from the research undertaken on the site? If so what will be done to remediate it?

Multiple environmental investigations have been undertaken at the site since 2013 to identify any potential contaminants that might exist.

At this stage, we are still working on the environmental studies for the site. We will be happy to make these studies available at the appropriate time.

Most recently, CH2M was engaged by CSIRO to conduct a Site-Wide Environmental Investigation spanning from late 2013 to November 2016.

CH2M performed preliminary planning (preparation of safety, environment, heritage management and sampling plans); site works (site walkovers, underground services searches and intrusive investigations of soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water); laboratory analysis of selected samples and data interpretation.

Field observations and reported chemical concentrations indicate that approximately 99.8 % is suitable for the proposed residential redevelopment.

The remaining 0.2% will be managed by a Remediation Action Plan (RAP) which is currently being developed under the guidance of the approved Auditor. This will stipulate how each area will be remediated, with most requiring additional observation and sampling works.

What are you doing to protect the native environment at Ginninderra? Will the green space and agricultural history of the site be maintained? Will the existing bushland be preserved? What will be done to ensure protection of Halls Creek? What will happen to the all the wildlife – birds (cockatoos), kangaroos etc? Will there be a connection to other parks and green spaces in surrounding suburbs, such as Mt Rogers reserve?

The primary use of the Ginninderra field research station has been in agricultural and farming research. During this time, CSIRO has also been careful to protect native protected species such as the golden sun moth and the box gum woodland. We will ensure the continued protection of these species is a priority for the future use of this land. Several ecological protection and research projects have already begun in the preservation areas of the site.

Based on studies so far, approximately 150 hectares of the land is unlikely to be developable due to its topography, heritage and ecological values, and will likely remain open space. Find out more about the environment here.

What will happen to the Indigenous artefacts currently on the site?

The 1216 artefacts salvaged were mainly flaked pieces from scatter sites that were used in the manufacture of stone tools. There are numerous such sites in the Ginninderra area. There were also some broken hammer stones recovered.

The artefacts that were recovered were initially analysed on-site which enabled evidence-based decisions regarding the quantity of artefacts at each archaeological site and immediate input from Aboriginal stakeholders. Laboratory analysis is yet to undertaken.

With the salvage complete, plans for relocating the artefacts are in progress. While the final site is still to be determined, the most likely location will be outside but very close to the Ginninderra property.


What is the endangered species list and human impact on them?

CSIRO engaged local ecological consultants to prepare a report on the ecological values of the CSIRO Ginninderra Field Station. This report lists all species recorded on the site as well as threatened ecological communities.The area of land to be conserved for ecological values and persistence of species is over 30% of the site, and includes all of the ecologically significant areas of Box Gum Grassy Woodland and wildlife habitat. CSIRO is developing ecological principles to maintain the viability and integrity of these areas, which will help build resilience to human impacts.

What can you tell me about Eriocaulon, Centrolepsis?

Eriocaulon are small herbaceous grass like plants with four species recorded as present in NSW and one species recorded in the ACT (Rough Pipewort, Eriocaulon scariosum) which grows in bog communities and drainage areas, often in running water. Two of the NSW species (E. australasicum and E. carsonii) are classified as endangered, but they have not been recorded in the ACT. Centrolepis is another type of plant, with the Hairy Centrolepis (Centrolepis strigosa subsp. strigosa) being the only one found in the ACT. It is an uncommon plant, but has a widespread distribution in woodlands on the Southern Tablelands. Neither Eriocaulon nor Centrolepsis have been found at CSIRO Ginninderra.

Why not declare (red and orange) areas as nature reserves?

CSIRO has mapped the conservation and development potential of the site. Red areas are designated conservation areas and are primarily Box Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland in a range of condition classes. Red areas contain species or ecosystems that are protected under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) or ACT Nature Conservation Act 2014 (NC Act). Orange areas are additional areas that CSIRO has identified as important to further protect ecological values of the Ginninderra site. Over 30% of the site will be protected. CSIRO does not have authority to formally designate these areas as nature reserves, but this is something that is being considered and will be discussed with ACT Government.

Why not plant new trees and shrubs?

Shrub and tree species including the Nodding Chocolate Lily, Bulbine Lily, Billy Buttons and Common Everlasting Yellow Buttons have been planted strategically in areas across the whole of the Ginninderra site as part of the planning to develop a liveable, sustainable and resilient development.

These were planted by volunteers from the Ginninderra Catchment Group, universities and environmental groups as part of the Ginninderra grassland project in November 2016.

This was a follow-up to the autumn burn grassland restoration trials set up across 13 sites (five of them on the CSIRO Ginninderra property) in the Ginninderra catchment in April 2016.

More information can be found here. Further plantings will occur throughout the project.

Will CSIRO consider long term monitoring programs in place for species diversity and changes in microclimate?

Being able to safeguard and monitor ecological diversity over time is a key driver for the ongoing involvement of CSIRO scientists at Ginninderra. There are a range of projects currently being scoped for implementation on the Ginninderra site to monitor the woodland and grassland community as well as wildlife through methods such as on-site cameras and seasonal bird surveys. More broadly, consideration is being given to the development of sensor networks for key environmental indicators such as microclimate on the Ginninderra site. CSIRO already operates and maintains a range of microclimate sensor networks in other locations, and we hope to draw on and apply these applications at Ginninderra.

How many kangaroos are on the farm now? How many were shot on 3 July 2016 (or near that date)? How many will live on the present farm area after redevelopment?

CSIRO continues to manage the Ginninderra property as an agricultural research farm. We maintain sheep on the property as an important part of pasture and dual purpose cropping research consistent with mixed farming in temperate Australian agriculture. Areas of native grassland are not used for agricultural research, but managed for the conservation of an endangered vegetation community – the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands and its diverse ground layer of wildflowers and native grasses. The native grasslands are currently overgrazed by kangaroos and this not only impacts sensitive species, but increases levels of soil erosion.

Kangaroo management is an important part of the overall management of the Ginninderra property, just as it is on many Australian farms. Kangaroo numbers are managed in line with strict protocols and guidelines, which are based on a growing body of evidence that too many kangaroos can harm the environment and biodiversity. CSIRO adheres to the licence conditions specified by ACT Parks and Conservation and this includes an obligation to inform the ACT Government and contact ACT Police. The aim is to support a more sustainable and healthy population of kangaroos on the Ginninderra property both now and into the future.


What reports have been released?

We are committed to carrying out all the of necessary due-diligence reports and releasing them publicly when finalised.

The Ecological Values of CSIRO Report is available here and features research that has been undertaken over a series of years on our site.

We have also released reports that summarise the neighbourhood drop-in sessions held in 2015 and 2016.

What are the results of the Ecological Values Report?

The area of land to be conserved for ecological values and persistence of species is over 30% of the site. This will provide valuable recreational and conservation areas, as well as preserve some of the views of the hills and ridges currently experienced by adjoining suburbs. These open spaces will also allow for wildlife to continue traversing the property.

What are the results of the Site-Wide Environmental Investigation Report?

The assessment was conducted from late 2013 to November 2016. Overall, the site was found to be largely free of significant contamination of soil, groundwater, surface water and sediment. Field observations and reported chemical concentrations indicate that approximately 99.8 % is suitable for the proposed residential redevelopment. The remaining 0.2% will be managed by a Remediation Action Plan (RAP) which is currently being developed under the guidance of the approved Auditor. This will stipulate how each area will be remediated, with most requiring additional observation and sampling works.