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Purpose 3 – Plan

Strategic planning and oversight of the places and spaces of national importance in Canberra

Performance Criteria

Criteria Elements


3.1 Ensure the National Capital can continue to perform its national and international functions effectively and efficiently

Reviewing the Guidelines for Commemorative Works in the National Capital in accordance with the Government’s response to Joint Standing Committee’s on the National Capital and External Territory’s report, ‘Etched in Stone’

Partially achieved – in 2019-20, the NCA commenced liaison with the Department of infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications in preparation for this work to proceed in 2020-21.

Addressing the need for more land for diplomatic purposes, working, especially, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Achieved – in March 2020, the Australian Government declared approximately 31 hectares at North Curtin as National Land for the purposes of developing a new diplomatic estate. In May 2020, the NCA commenced the planning process necessary to change the land use policy of the Curtin site to allow for diplomatic uses.

Establishing a program of review of the National Capital Plan’s precinct codes

Not achieved – prioritisation of projects resulted in this work being rescheduled to commence in 2020-21.

Planning for effective and safe movement systems within the National Triangle, especially in relation to the ACT Government’s Light Rail and active travel plans

Achieved – The NCA continued to engage with the ACT Government to ensure appropriate planning, supported by robust data and analysis, is undertaken in the ACT Government’s Light Rail and active travel plans. The NCA has not yet received a works approval application for the next stage of work on Light Rail.

Assessing specific development proposals and works which may include developments around City Hill, on Constitution Avenue and at the Australian National University

Achieved – NCA officers have engaged with proponents and provided pre-application advice about the requirements of the National Capital Plan.

Proposals assessed and approved include significant development at Section 100 City 'The Barracks’, including the Edinburgh Avenue extension works, Section 3 Parkes ‘The Griffin’ on Constitution Avenue and SA8 student accommodation at the ANU.

Considering longer term plans for possible institutions in the National Triangle, such as a National Resting Place for the ancestral remains of Indigenous people

Achieved – NCA officers engaged with and provided advice to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies as an Initial Business Case was prepared to support a National Resting Place. The NCA was also represented on the National Resting Place Project Interdepartmental Committee.

3.2 Engage and consult the Australian Community on future plans for the National Capital

All required Plan Amendments, Development Control Plans, master plans and/or urban design guidelines have been prepared with input from the community in line with the NCA’s Commitment to Community Engagement policy.

Achieved – The following Plan Amendments, Development Controls Plans, master plan and/or urban design guidelines came into effect during 2019-20:

  Development Control Plan 19/01 for Block 12 Section 111 and Block 2233 Jerrabomberra

  Development Control Plan 19/02 for Blocks 4 and 5 Section 38 Campbell

  Amendment 92 – Uncommitted Land Adjacent to the Australian National University

  Amendment 93 – City and Gateway Urban Design Provisions Technical Changes

  Amendment 94 – National Arboretum Commercial Accommodation.

  Consultation on Draft Amendment 95 – North Curtin Diplomatic Estate and Urban Areas – commenced in 2019-20.

All consultation was undertaken in accordance with the NCA’s ‘Commitment to Community Engagement (August 2015)’.

3.3 Plan for a changing climate and its impact on National Capital landscapes, infrastructure and waterways

The National Capital Plan provides a leading practice statutory framework too guide urban development that respects environmental values and ensures resilience in the context of a changing climate

Achieved and ongoing – The Statement of Planning Principles in the National Capital Plan includes a principle requiring development to respect environmental values, including water catchments and water quality and ensure resilience to the impacts of climate change.

This overarching principle is subsequently reflected in more detailed provisions of the Plan, such as requirements for the design and siting of development to be responsive to microclimate issues, and include design measures to provide protection from sun, wind, heat, etc.

Future amendments to the National Capital Plan will include relevant consideration of a changing climate and environmental values.

Planning and design proposals are informed by policies on a changing climate and its impact on the natural and built environment

Achieved – An example of specific policy developed in 2019-20 is that incorporated into Amendment 94 – National Arboretum Commercial Accommodation. The design and planning of development proposals must address energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and incorporate water sensitive urban design measures, demonstrate consideration of climatic conditions including resilience to extreme weather events, and incorporate biophilic design principles including responsiveness to the natural environment.

The NCA Tree Management Policy was developed, with extensive consultation and finalised by the Authority in late 2019-20. The Policy addresses resilience and climate change by setting targets for increased canopy cover, identifying suitable climate-adapted tree species, engaging with water sensitive design and managing pests and disease

Changing climate and water quality predictions inform master plans for the National Triangle, including Barton, Lake Burley Griffin Foreshores and Aspen Island.

Achieved and ongoing – relevant environmental information is considered in developing master plans, development control plans, planning and design guidelines, and amendments to the National Capital Plan.

3.4 Encourage high quality design, landscaping, environmental management and heritage considerations in the National Capital

Works are recognised by industry and the community as being of high quality

Achieved and ongoing – the NCA receives positive feedback regarding design input and the outcomes of works approvals.

Works incorporate leading practice initiatives concerning environment management and sustainability

Achieved – the NCA Chief Planner, alongside the ACT Government Architect, co-chairs the National Capital Design Review Panel. The Panel works to improve the quality of design of the urban environment through inclusion of sustainability initiatives such as sun shading, cross ventilation, material selection and soft landscaping.

The heritage values of places managed by the NCA are integrated in relevant planning and management activities.

Achieved – the NCA has management plans (HMPs) to manage the heritage values for 19 of the 20 listed heritage places the NCA is responsible for. A rolling program of review and update is in place to ensure HMPs are current. Internal and external heritage advice, drawing upon HMP policies, was also provided to inform Aspen Island works, planning works for Kings and Commonwealth Parks, and Anzac Parade.

3.5 Assess and manage applications to undertake works in Designated Areass to ensure they are inn accordance with the National Capital Plan

All approved applications are consistent with the principles and policies of the National Capital Plan

Achieved – 390 applications were assessed as being in accordance with the National Capital Plan and approved.

A total of 63 applications were withdrawn or not supported.

At least 75% of Works Approvals applications processed are assessed against the National Capital Plan within 15 working days

Achieved – 376 (96%) applications were assessed within 15 business days.

The two highest fee payable applications approved in 2019-20 (totalling $292,903) were:

  Section 100 City ($152,119)

  Section 3 Parkes ($140,784)

Where possible, all applications are lodged, processed and managed using the NCA’s Works Approval eLodgement system

Achieved – 100% of applications were lodged electronically via the NCA’s Works Approval e-Lodgement system (WAeL). (Note: excludes event applications under 14 days.)

Analysis of Performance Against Purpose
The National Capital Plan (the Plan) is the overarching legal instrument giving effect to the Commonwealth’s interests and intentions for the planning, design and development of Canberra as the National Capital. The NCA has continued to review the Plan to ensure that it reflects contemporary planning practice and themes, and meets the evolving needs of a growing, modern city.

DID YOU KNOW? Bill Neidjie artwork at Reconciliation Place features the spirit warrior figure (Mabbuyu) is reproduced from an ancient rock painting located at Ubirr (Obiri Rock) in Kakadu National Park, of which Bill was a traditional owner.

The NCA shares planning responsibility for Canberra and the Territory with the ACT Government. The NCA worked collaboratively with the ACT Government to ensure that the NCA can continue to uphold its role in ensuring that suitable land is available for diplomatic purposes. Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Australia has an obligation to facilitate the acquisition of, or assist in obtaining, accommodation for diplomatic missions. This obligation was achieved through a land exchange whereby the Australian Government obtained approximately 31 hectares of land in Curtin for the purposes of establishing a new diplomatic estate. The establishment and growth of the diplomatic community in Canberra reflects one of the unique roles of the National Capital.

The NCA’s commitment to design excellence is evident in both planning policy prepared to guide development in areas of national significance, and the continuation of the National Capital Design Review Panel (DRP) in conjunction with the ACT Government’s planning authority. The NCA and ACT Government planning authority established the DRP with the aim of improving the quality of buildings, landscapes and public spaces across the National Capital.

Plan Snapshot Works Approvals - 390 applications approved (426 in 2018/2019) 96% applications assessed within required timeframe (76% in 2018/2019) 12 Public consultations Heritage - 4 Heritage Management Plans under review Diplomatic Land - 23 March - Secured 31.6 hectares for future diplomatic purposes Photo of Aerial view of central Canberra, photographed by Martin Ollman