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Fat Awards and Bruce Mathiske will play the guitar. First,

the Australian dream of home ownership was at its peak in the decades following the 'home' was a detamped house on Second World War. And the

a quarter acre block,

surrounded by garden, complete with a Hills and room for a cricket match. with a Hills hoist, barbecue

Now is over and higher densetive living is the way of

future. living is the way of the program Government announced its

collaboration between builders and the land development agency to provide house and land packages priced under $300,000. Affordable, yes - but is it live yanl? How will life

in these new suburbs change? And where will the children

play? Craig Allen reports on

the Canberra housing market and

the incredible shrinking block. the Canberra housing market and

From small beginnings the city and the en vierons spreading in all directions.

Now suburbs are springing up Canberra is growing faster than any other any other capital city of

Aussie backyard was Australia. For baby boomer, the

utopia. It was the great Australian dream. But for children of that generation, modern reality is a harsh wake-up call. So, look at the wake-up call. So, Craig, if you

house here to the fence to the look at the distance from the

neighbouring house, you're look at something that is very indicative of the we're building. Welcome to indicative of the usual homes

Canberra's suburbia of the 21st

environment most of us are century. It's not an

and more are expected to live. familiar with. Bit's one more

In We're in one of Canberra's

newest suburb, Forde. It's subdivision being aimed at young families but there's not a lot of room for kids to play. Around the back you've got the cricket pitch but there is no outfield. This is really close in slips with

the marking tends to guard. From I suppose a lot of

the marking tends to suggest

it's not about having a

within walking distance to a backya,d it's about being

common facility. I know in this suburb in Forde, which has been very popular, they suggest that from any particular block you're within 20 200m walking distance to an open area where the kids can play. So the new suburbs effectively mean an ends to backyard children can't make to it the communal play ground they're forced inside in front of the boxtor home computer. It's a suburbs which were often far cry from Canberra's earlier

of quarter acre block, roughly planned around neighbourhoods

100 square meters. There was plenty of room to kick a plenty of room to kick a footy

or duck under a pre water restriction sprinkler. Today home buyers are lucky to get a

plot half that size and many are much, smaller. Probably more are much, much

decade and a half where

even the average household block go from 100 meeters to something around 700 or less. As part of that whole change process is the radical

shift to very small block sizes

to around 250 square meeters in

some cases. Still, builders are are really pushing the

client s behest. envelope, mostly at their

plonking the biggest client s behest. They're

possible on im possibly small

blocks. But as a guide you're looking on one side 1.5m, so on your garage side 1.5 from the boundary and on the other side you're look at 3m to the of the home 3m and you're look at 3m to the rear

what suburb you're talking about you're looking at 5 or 6m from the front . You're smelling your neighbour's barbecue and hearing your

flush. Definitely. neighbour's toilet

that's just the norm, that's flush. Definitely. Again,

what's happening. And I get the feedback from the generations they certainly feedback from the older raise their eyebrows at that concept. I can see for how for

see there has been a change in long-term Canberrans they would

years of age and have the city. For someone who is 35

living in Canberra since years of age and have been

living in Canberra since 1977,

perspective on how this city I have a slightly different

should Minister Andrew Barr says committed to offering maximum housing choice. That means a quarter acre block, if you can

find it, and afford it, or a

that's what the buyer wants. smaller compact allotment if

But the reality is too many large offer. Your standard too many large blocks on

residential inner suburb in Dickson where I to 800 square meters. So it has come down a little but the nature of the housing depends on the suburb and on

type. The house that we're

current ly dis playing here is on a 590m block. Not so long ago that was a small block.

That is not the case. If someone walks in the they're excited they of land and it's 500-plus they're excited they va block

metres we consider that to be a bigger block these what is this new era of medium bigger block these days. But

Canberra's quality of density living doing to

Some say the amenity of the Canberra's quality of life?

city is go to these kind of tiny city is suffering. The more you

blontion you which you allow people to build very large opportunity for you to trees and reasonable trees and reasonable sized shrubs which in turn means you don't have any bird life. I just dis appears. habitat for the flora and fauna just dis appears. There's no

in which which live. So so it produce an environment ally

arid kind of place. We don't need to re-create in Canberra the deslation

the deslation of the Baghdad which is what we're

of low rainfall area. Emeritus happily doing in the same kind

Professor Patrick Troy is one of the country's leading thinkers on suburban and he's scathing about the way the Government the Government is carving up paddocks sized blocks. Wa>> what we're

now doing is trying to force a contrained choice, force people into small box s

subject to the pressures and complaints an rules established by people in bodies corporate and the like and where their kids in order to secure the safety of their kids they have

to keep them inside. This is nonsense. It is not a way a civilised community should be

looking at the way they develop

and it's not sustainable in any sensible use of

sensible use of that

term. City planners argue much of this change is of this change is market driven. That's to say people

increasingly want to live in way. It is not to say there isn't still demand isn't still demand for the largest house blocks but that

is reducing if that demographic

is skewing away from the larger blocks which are costly to maintain and they're after a different product It's fundamentally a

fundamentally a bullshit argument because the supply is the determinant here. The demand is demand is big but people will take whatever housing they

get. If the supply of appropriate parcels of land is

contrained, they will of course express a preference for flats or immediate yam sense ity housing because there is nothing else and they live on the streets. The building industry

building industry has long been critical of the Government's land release policies saying land is being drip fed to the market in the knowledge that developers and home buyer also snap it up at a premium price, regardless of how small the blocks are. The blocks are. The ACT Government have got a parcel of land and let's call it they look at it and go how can we divvy this up to maximise the profits? You have a situation in the ACT where land development agency land developer. And, yeah, I just person ally and feedback we're getting is it's very much about the case of how do we maximise the return on this particular dirt. Do think developers are being

greedy trying to squeeze in as many blocks in their subdivision as possible? No, I

don't think we can say thaifrmt's a combination of

both market force and Government policy that is bringing about this change. And whilst it's not to suggest that the property sector doesn't derive more income from getting more - a greater yield on the

land, it's not necessarily

they're being driven entirely by their interest in making more profit out of the land. As if to Professor t Government's point, buyers are lapping the blocks up, even the tiny ones. Not because the land is necessarily cheap or necessarily cheap or because they want a they want a small block, but simply because it's available. Some of the available. Some of the small

est blocks are being sold as affordable housing plot, purportedly to help first buyers crack into the extremely tight Canberra market. Sitting where I sit talking to potential customers who have

just prmp add block of land in some cases now less than 300m - 300 square meters, calling it a housing block, it's housing block, it's just phenomenal. If you do the maths you can work out they haven't got a bargain, they've just got a very small block of land at

the same metre rate as the bigger blocks of land. Government bod sis say there's a strong environmental reason for smaller blocks because it's force Canberran into a small er footprint. We need it to be small er to reach a number of important environmental goals around the impact our new suburbs have on 2 environment. It more sustainable place

but will it be a happier place to live? Is that the $64,000 question? No-one can re dict that. I - dr predistinct that.

I think climate change raises all sorts of prospects of the individuals are going individuals are going to have to change their behaviour, change their consumption patterns. The economic crael ly - reality is the ACT Government relies heavily on cash land sales to pay for services we all

off the farm", the quicker it run s out of a valuable revenue splie. There is clear evidence that we just cannot continue with a suburban sprawl on quarter acre blocks that might have been a planning and have been a planning and social outcome of the past. Canberra will eventually of course run

foreseeable future, get used to. This You would have to know your neighbours pretty well You would have to get on with them

pretty well. John, pass the salt! Danie Mellor's work includes kangaroos, made out of ceramic, wood and feathers. If you saw the culture warriors exhibition at the National

Gallery you won't have missed him. Danie Mellor has just received a major

Canberra. He commutes to teach at Sydney ufr and has also just completed his doctorate. His

home in Kambah is also his studio and I met him there for

a chat about life and art. And a warning to indigenous viewers - this story contains images of a person who has died. My feeling My feeling as an artist is almost like it's a reflective medium in on individual sense and also in a broader sense as well. So it can reflect individual values, attitudes and

and beliefs and so on and in a broader sense it can reflect those of society those of society or nationality and so on. It's his own rich cultural heritage mix from which Canberra-based artist Danie Mellor draws inspiration. His father is an American-Australian, while mother is Irish-Aboriginal. mother is Irish-Aboriginal. The Australian landscape and indigenous themes feature strongly in his

s are kind s are kind of based on

indigenous shields from the rainforest area which is where my mother's family comes from. I began to make shields but they were made have a they were made have a very different contemporary different contemporary sort of material, which is reframed steel. These were cut from

travel ing trunks. The patternation and the destience metal shields have mimicked in some way the dresses that women

in my mother's family would wear for photographs. And these sort of old dresses sort of old dresses were kind of a presentation, they were incongress rouse because they were black women in this incredibly formal sort of - I am not sure how you would describe it - almost like a

photographic get-up. Part of the Australian landscape has to do with the preference of other culture and people. Prior to settlement it was settlement it was a landscape people by Aboriginal people since 1788 we do have a shared history. Some of history. Some of it not so happy, some of it happier. In

that sense what is important I guess in the work that I'm doing is to introduce the

concept of shared history.

It's a concept that's

proving a hit with art lovers

and cretics. Danie Mellor's work is sold and exhibited overseas and in most major galleries around the country. He has just won a national

award for this piece - 'An Unsettled Vision'. The picture itself shows two koala

s, a mother and a child climbing up a uk leaptus branch. In the back ground

there is a conglomerate of design, Gothic English architect ure, it's interested that the pattern design s were mix and mismavend I quite like that in terms of sort reverns to different cultures and different parts world and bringing it in

relation to one of Australia's the co Wala. - koala. It talks about incongress ruity and how the Australian landscape was change and the place that

wildlife, flora and fauna have in that settled landscape. To some ex tent it is a little bit tongue in cheek and kitsch. The backdrop of much of Danie Mellor's work is influenced by all things the family Chinand its screen prints from old fashioned dinner sets. How hard is it to keep generating the work? It's hard. (Laughs) So so is that why you work like this and have set up as a stud you? Absolutely. I find that

working at home is a very comfortable and comforting thing to do. In that sense it becomes less difficult. We tend to use different poorvets the hois for different things. If we need we need some quiet time, we might go to a different part of the house. I always sort of usually end up working and the kitchen or in the kitchen or on a wall near

you're chopping the vegetables. It has been to happen. So this kitchen wall really is your studio. Part of it. Tell us about this pirct. This is where I do my drawings. At the moment I am

working on a set of drawings for the show Holmes-a-Court gallery. Describe it for gallery. Describe it for us. Have you got a title for

it? It's

'Joe Joe the joey' . And there are Joeies of the kind throughout Danie Mellor's home studio. signature piece of his. Some made with chips of China or slivers of gold China or slivers of gold plated

material. What makes a good

artist? Someone who is able to

make ideas visible. And with some degree of truth and integrity to that. It's really important that I guess the translation of concepts and invisible ideas are made concrete and real through the simplest way to put it is simplest way to put it is is the art materials and to

things that can be spoken about and shown and discussed and

enjoyed and it's important that all of that process is fun.

Now we're going to see the Institute of Technology has

just held the annual awards for their film and television sponsor of the awards and part

of the win er ease prize is an internship with us here at the program. I was on panel and was really impressed with all the films an it's a pleasure to introduce the winning entry. It's a mini thriller, or is it? Watch the ending closely. It's 'Payola', and Peter Cosgrove

was the director. He - Max Kosturko was the director. He also operated the cam remarks did the sound, was the editor and wrote the music and the pseudoephedrine play so I think we will when he joins us. Here is his



Where did you find the money? I had to sell most of our stocks. What? You mean my stocks? They were transferred to me as part of the

but, doll, you know I couldn't

raise it by myself what with the maintenance and the kids back at scoo. And you doesn't change anything with them. You still only get them every second tsh - second weekend. I didn't do this for us or for the kids. I wasn't trying to be a hero trying to be a hero and win you back.

What did you do with it?

He counted it while I was there to be there to be sure. And then? And then I dropped him off fashion. LOUD MUSIC Is that how hand as well? Someone from next door got out while I was water

The engine was playing up again. It got messy. Something to do with the fuel line, I think. I thought you got that fixed. I think I'm going to be sick. Are you away, don't watch me. Go away,

go down dl. - go down there.

Can you help me? That Can you help me? That guy's crazy. I don't know what he's

going to do. Please!



'Payola', by Max 'Payola', by Max Kosturko. The The winning film in the Fat Awards and he will be a to watch. You often hear the talent of Bruce Mathiske. We play his music a lot here on Stateline. It's often in the background to many of our stories. Bruce

visitor to Canberra, he's

performing at the Tuggeranong arts centre on Saturday night. But he came into our studios to play one of his compositions just for you. From me, until next week. Goodbye.

Hi. I'm Andy Muirhead and this is Collectors. This is a Hungarian bagpipe. Now, I'm not even gonna try to play it, although it is World Music Day tomorrow. Rest assured, tonight on Collectors, you're gonna see strange instruments from across the globe. THEME MUSIC

ANDY: 'This week, life in a bubble...' WOMAN: I think the pens are quite ridiculous. And I find most of the designs quite bizarre, which is part of the reason why I'm fascinated by them. 'Amazing instruments.' MAN: It's not a collection for the sake of collecting.

I was always looking for something interesting in music, looking for the most weird, distant, unusual things. 'Some time out with Gordon.'

Now, this clock fascinates me. Why? Because it defies all the rules.