Go to top of page

Purpose 2 - Place

Excellence in the care and stewardship of the National Capital’s special and symbolic places

Performance Criteria

Criteria Elements


2.1 Manage the NCA’s substantial and ageing assets and significant sites to ensure their national importance, useability, heritage values and significance to the National Capital is maintained

At least 90% of capital improvements are advanced within target timeframes.

Achieved – 98% of capital improvements were advanced in 2019-20. This criterion has been achieved through the NCA’s effective management, maintenance and renewal of sites and assets. The continuous assessment, prioritisation and refurbishment of significant assets is undertaken to ensure the usability and enjoyment of the National Estate, while protecting the special characters and values.

The strategic Asset Management System (AMS) is fully integrated and used to inform strategic financial planning and programming of works

Partially achieved - The AMS is used to support delivery and planning of asset maintenance and is integrated with the financial system. More work is underway including further integration and developing long-term management programs for significant asset classes.

2.2 Provide safe, functional, accessible and attractive public spaces and infrastructure in the National Capital for recreation and public use

All safety hazards are assessed and actioned according to their risk profile

Achieved - Based on prioritisation, resources and risk, hazards are scheduled and actioned, maintaining a safe National Estate. Status updates are provided at each Board meeting.

At least 90% of maintenance issues are addressed within target timeframes, according to safety risk and priority

Achieved – 95% of maintenance issues were addressed within target timeframes, either through being incorporated into a capital renewal program or as part of reactive maintenance, as appropriate

Injuries to visitors, contractors and staff are minimised through timely risk identification and mitigation

Achieved - Through the evaluation of identified hazards, analysis of risk and the assessment of consequence, appropriate mitigation strategies have been implemented or works scheduled. An online safety system has been implemented to improve management of hazards and risks. No major incidents were reported in 2019-20.

2.3 Protect and enhance the ecological integrity and resilience of land and waterbodies on the National Capital Estate

There is good accessibility and active use of National Land which allows the community to recognise and enjoy the natural environment

Achieved - National Land is managed and available for use. During the COVID 19 pandemic, NCA open space areas were used and valued as important assets for exercise and recreation.

Indigenous cultural heritage on National Land is identified, protected and valued

Achieved - Stakeholder consultation was sought to protect the indigenous values of Stirling Park prior to the commencement of work on the fire management tracks of this conservation area. An Indigenous cultural heritage study was undertaken in the lead up to planned development of a new carpark in Kings Park

Biosecurity and ecological risks are actively and effectively managed

Achieved - Invasive weed management through goat grazing and invasive pest management through rabbit culling were undertaken.

The efforts of ACT Wildlife volunteers (caring for the flying-fox camp in Commonwealth Park) following the January 2020 hailstorm were supported through the provision of supplies and equipment. Additionally, fruit was donated and collected for flying-foxes in the care of ACT Wildlife volunteers.

Analysis of Performance Against Purpose

COVID-19 Pandemic Response
The NCA and our maintenance and capital works contractors adapted work practices to continue to maintain and renew the National Capital Estate safely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The open space assets maintained by the NCA, including Commonwealth and Kings Parks, Lake Burley Griffin and surrounds, and the conservation areas of Stirling Park and Yarramundi Grasslands, provided vital amenity and recreational opportunities for the community during COVID-19 restrictions.

Asset Management System
The NCA has continued a three-year project to update its Asset Management System based on the review and recommendation outlined in the Asset Management Strategy. In 2019-20 the NCA:

  • implemented the Integrated Asset Register to align all the financial and operational attributes across the asset base, enabling efficient interfacing between systems
  • finalised strategic asset management plans for each asset class
  • prepared for implementation of a cloud-based asset management system.

Renewal of Ageing Infrastructure
A major hailstorm in January 2020 caused substantial damage to many NCA assets. Windows, roofs and trees were significantly impacted, with assessments and repair work continuing into the 2020-21 financial year.

The 2019-20 lake wall renewal program prioritised sections of the stone walls around Lake Burley Griffin, identifying areas which required stabilising. The work involved injecting expanding resin into the soil above and below the water line. The non-invasive technique was proven successful during a pilot study in 2019. This project will extend the useful life of remediated sections of Lake wall by at least 50 years.

Scrivener Dam continues to be operated and managed in an efficient, effective and safe manner. The NCA is compliant with the Australian National Committee on Large Dams Incorporated Guidelines and the Dam Safety Management Plan (DSMP). The quality of documentation, both technical and non- technical, and the ongoing management of this documentation is of a very high standard. The definition and accountability of tasks in the DSMP are clear. The standard dam operations and maintenance, and dam safety activities, including surveillance and emergency preparedness, meets current Australian National Committee on Large Dams and the ACT Dam Safety Code guidelines and standards.

The Dam Safety Team meets monthly to review and assess all programmed capital upgrades and projects, as well the monthly safety and surveillance reports.

The NCA refurbished 17 high mast light masts located on and near Commonwealth and Kings Avenue, to improve public safety. The project included two fully replaced poles and new, energy efficient luminaires.

Following approval from the Australian Parliament, the NCA commenced safety improvement works to the primary foreshore shared path adjacent the National Gallery of Australia. The works include new lighting, pathway widening and improved public amenity.

As part of additional commemorative works to the Australian Merchant Navy Memorial, the NCA facilitated improved safe access to the main commemorative apron for people with a disability.

The NCA prepared a detailed business case to strengthen and widen Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.

Community Collaboration for Ecological Outcomes
The NCA continues to collaborate with community groups to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. The NCA was able to continue work in conservation areas with the support of the Friends of Grasslands (FOG). In 2019-20 FOG conducted weed management and conservation activities in Stirling Ridge and Yarramundi Grasslands. FOG also lead community walks through these areas, explaining about the special histories, values, flora and fauna.

Today, the NCA is the custodian of more than 18,000 trees across the National Capital Estate, which provide a stunning setting for national institutions and memorials. Trees are also essential to the creation of the attractive parklands, streetscapes, and other spaces and the important provision of shade. To protect these valued assets into the future, the NCA has undertaken extensive community consultation across a range of stakeholders to develop a draft Tree Management Policy. The policy will provide a robust and consistent approach for the management of urban trees by the NCA in readiness for current and future challenges from the ageing tree population, climate changes, tree removal and replacement, water management, heritage preservation, and the development and utilisation of open space.

In accordance with the Tree Management Policy, the NCA removed 600 pine trees at Stirling Park between March and May 2020. Many of the trees were in decline, some had died and many were unsafe. In May 2020 the NCA, Friends of Stirling Ridge and Greening Australia planted 300 trees including native species found in the Box Gum Woodland on Stirling Ridge, an endangered ecosystem. More trees, shrubs and grasses will be planted in 2021 to complement and enhance the native vegetation on Stirling Ridge.

The NCA utilised goats for weed management in an area adjacent to Lady Denman Drive. Goats efficiently remove weed species with less environmental impact and significantly reduced costs than traditional mechanical clearing methods. The NCA also removed invasive weed tree species from Stirling Ridge, Yarramundi Grasslands and Attunga Point to improve natural species resilience.

To inform the draft Flying Fox Management Plan, the NCA undertook monitoring of the flying-fox camp in Commonwealth Park. Monitoring activities were to gauge the colony’s reactions to large events in Commonwealth Park as well as general park maintenance activities. Due to bushfire smoke and COVID 19, many planned monitoring events were cancelled as events and concerts were not able to proceed.

Photo of High Court and Lake Burley Griffin, photographed by Dom Northcott
The NCA wishes to thank the volunteers of ACT Wildlife, the ACT Government’s Biosecurity Veterinary Officer and other vets of the ACT who assisted in the response following the catastrophic hailstorm in January 2020. As a direct result of the storm, more than 600 grey-headed flying-foxes were killed in Commonwealth Park. ACT Wildlife volunteers cared for over 60 injured adults, juveniles or pups until they were fit for release.

Place Snapshot Design & Construction - 17 Feb Regatta Point Cafe Expansion started 18 June NGA Foreshore Upgrade started Lake Walls Renewal Program 4km+ reinforced 98% Capital Works in line with Annual Plans Wildlife Activities - Commonwealth Park grey headed flying-fox - 1800 population in Dec 2019, January hail storm - 640 estimated total loss, 100 in care with ACT Wildlife, Fires and drought also effected the flying-fox population before the hail storm Estate Maintenance Enquiries - 95% Maintenance issues addressed within target timeframes Photo of Aerial view of Springbank Island, Lake Burley Griffin, photographed by Martin Ollman