Project status: In progress

The ACT Government is improving our planning and building systems to help shape Canberra’s future as our city continues to grow.

Canberra’s population is growing by approximately 8,000 per year as more people choose to live here. With this growth, 100,000 new homes will need to be built in the next 25 years and most of these will be in existing urban areas.

Our 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.

An important part of the ACT Planning Review project is asking the community to identify the unique characteristics of local areas. This will help us to develop more detailed planning at local levels.

See the outcomes of engagement so far.

In the 10 years since the last major review of the Territory Plan the long-term aspirations for Canberra have evolved. Industry has questioned the contemporary fit of certain aspects of the system, and the community has expressed concern about the quality of development, impacts on landscape character and the ability to participate in the planning process.

The Government has also released several major policy papers that connect with planning such as the Climate Change Strategy, Housing Strategy and Transport Strategy. Together with the 2018 ACT Planning Strategy, this has changed the strategic context of planning for the Territory.

In response to the feedback and strategic policy updates, we are building a better planning system for the ACT.

Throughout 2019 and into 2020 we have conducted a review of the ACT planning system and benchmarked it against other national and international planning systems. This has involved consultation with the community through a number of activities and internal work to understand what changes could create a better planning system for Canberra. The outcomes of that review, and our proposals for reform into the future, are outlined in a series of policy direction papers:

ACT Planning System Review and Reform Overview

Paper 1 - System Structure

Paper 2 - Strategic Planning

Paper 3 - Development Controls

Paper 4 - Development Assessment

Paper 5 - System Operation.

We will work on the reforms proposed in these papers throughout the rest of 2020 and into 2021, at which point we will come back to the community for further conversations.

The Review Project will not consider the following topics:

  • The structure and role of ACT Government planning bodies
  • Incorporating the National Capital Plan into the Territory Plan
  • A developer contribution scheme
  • Incentive schemes
  • Creating suburb-specific plans
  • Removal of the leasehold system
  • An additional/alternative development approval model, such as planning panels
  • Changes to the ACT Planning Strategy 2018.