What is 'planning' and why should you care?

The challenge and how we solve it

Over the next 20 years Canberra’s population is expected to increase by over 40%. The city needs a planning system that can facilitate this growth without compromising the characteristics of the city that its residents hold dear.

Importantly, it needs a planning system that can deliver on the long-term vision for Canberra to be a city that is liveable, sustainable, resilient, and diverse.

The objective of the ACT Planning Review project is to develop a clear, easy to use planning system that delivers improved spatial and built outcomes across the Territory. In particular, the reformed system should:

  • facilitate development and housing supply while protecting those aspects of the city that made it an attractive place to live in the first place
  • instil confidence in the community through providing greater clarity of the desired outcomes
  • enable greater flexibility in the assessment of varying development types.

Desired outcomes of the review and subsequent reform include:

  • enabling the sustainable growth of the city without compromising its valued character
  • providing clarity of strategic direction, processes, roles and outcomes for the city’s community
  • providing flexible assessment pathways that are appropriate to the scale and scope of development

The Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988 states that there must be a Territory Plan and that plan must be consistent with the National Capital Plan (administered by the National Capital Authority), which sets out the broad planning principles and policies for Canberra and the Territory.

The Territory Plan was first introduced in 1993 (following the introduction of self-government) and many of the policies were carried over from the National Capital Development Commission. Since this time there has only been limited review and as a result, the Territory Plan we have no longer reflects contemporary best practice.

The Planning and Development Act 2007 requires the planning authority to consider every five years, whether the Territory Plan should be reviewed. In March 2018 the planning authority decided that a review of the Territory Plan would commence in 2019.

The ACT Planning Review is linked with our Better Building Quality program of reforms and the Managing Buildings Better reforms. These projects form part of our work to deliver a compact, efficient and sustainable Canberra, as outlined in the ACT Planning Strategy 2018. Considering these projects holistically allows us to improve the quality of development from planning, through construction to property management.

The outcomes of the ACT Planning Review will support the implementation of these reforms; the projects are linked by their shared aims to deliver quality built form within a responsive and clear planning system.