What is the Territory Plan?

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 challenges we have with the current Territory Plan, which this review seeks to address, are its complexity (2,700 pages with a large volume of codes and rules), lack of flexibility (the system doesn’t allow for consideration of both compliance and innovation in design applications) and ambiguity (the role of compliance is unclear).

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.

Building and Strata Reform

The ACT Planning Review is part of a larger focus of the ACT Government to improve planning and building in the ACT.

We are also looking at strata reform, specifically the legislation that guides mixed-use development. Our current system was developed envisaging single land uses (for example: for only residential buildings, or only office buildings) and does not acknowledge the emergence of mixed-use development. Mixed use precincts offer a lifestyle that many Canberrans are choosing. This project aims to deliver a more modern and robust framework that will articulate and protect the rights and responsibilities of both developers and purchasers buying units in these mixed-use communities.

Finally, the government is improving building quality by making better through a series of reforms which will strengthen protections for the community and create certainty for developers and builders in terms of what our regulatory system will allow for in Canberra.