About us

The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (the Directorate) aims to lead the nation in achieving sustainable outcomes; to be a ‘liveable and sustainable city’. The Directorate is responsible for developing and implementing a wide range of policies and programs across city planning and development, climate change and the environment.

One of the Directorate's core functions is planning for Canberra’s future growth in partnership with the community. A number of divisions within the Directorate work together to achieve this objective including:

  • the Planning Policy Division is responsible for the Territory Plan (which provides the policy framework for the administration of planning in the ACT), strategic planning, civil infrastructure planning and major projects as well as responsibility for land development projects including affordable housing, land economics, land strategy and policy and building policy
  • the Urban Renewal Division includes the Asbestos Response Taskforce and the Public Housing Renewal Taskforce as well as strategic projects and infrastructure and urban projects
  • the Planning Delivery Division administers the Territory Plan in terms of planning approval, leasing and deed management and environmental impact statements. This Division includes the Office of the Surveyor-General and Land Information
  • the Urban Renewal Division is responsible for driving the ACT Government’s urban renewal agenda by supporting major projects that aim to improve the liveability of our city and through the delivery of the Public Housing Renewal Program, Asset Recycling Initiative and Loose-fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme.

Under the Planning and Development Act 2007 the planning and land authority is required to:

  • administer the Territory Plan
  • continually assess the Territory Plan and propose amendments as necessary
  • plan and regulate the development of land
  • advise on planning and land policy, including the broad spatial planning framework for the ACT
  • maintain the digital cadastral database
  • make available land information
  • grant, administer, vary and end leases on behalf of the Executive
  • grant licenses over unleased Territory land
  • decide applications for approval to undertake development
  • regulate the building industry
  • make orders
  • provide planning services, including services to entities outside the ACT
  • review its own decisions
  • ensure community consultation and participation in planning decisions
  • promote public education and understanding of the planning process, including by providing easily accessible public information documentation on planning and land use

What we do

Planners guide and manage the way suburbs, cities and regions are built, making sure they are sustainable and pleasant places in which to live, work and play. Planners are involved in making decisions about the way land is used and other types of developments while balancing the needs of communities and the environment.

Planners advise the government on a range of decisions including:

  • shaping the form of neighbourhoods and cities
  • controlling the spread of urban regions
  • ensuring sustainable natural environments
  • working towards economic and cultural development
  • ensuring vibrant and liveable communities
  • providing advice on planning matters to the public and stakeholders

The role of planners is becoming more important as society places greater emphasis on balancing environmental and development issues, promoting liveable communities and securing high quality urban design. As cities and towns continue to grow, planners are in increasing demand to manage these changes.

The planning and land authority is not only responsible for planning. It is also responsible for lease administration, land information, development and building regulation. A full list of responsibilities can be found by viewing the individual legislation that the planning and land authority administers.

Our Ministers

Our directorate reports to these ACT Ministers:

  • Andrew Barr MLA - Chief Minister
  • Yvette Berry MLA - Minister for Housing and Suburban Development
  • Mick Gentleman MLA - Minister for the Environment and Heritage; Minister for Planning and Land Management
  • Gordon Ramsay MLA - Minister for Building Quality Improvement
  • Shane Rattenbury MLA - Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability
  • Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA - Minister for Urban Renewal
  • Susan Orr MLA - Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety

Corporate documents

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