The ACT Planning Strategy 2018 builds on the successes of the 2012 strategy to recognise and incorporate the social, economic and environmental changes occurring in our growing and thriving city. The Strategy reflects and integrates the vision and directions of the community and other ACT Government strategies, particularly housing, transport and climate change.

The Strategy was developed following extensive research, discussion with stakeholders and consultation with the community, including innovative engagement methods that reached across the city to hear from a wide cross-section of our residents with a wide range of views.

ACT Planning Strategy 2018 Vision

The vision of this strategy is to be a sustainable, competitive and equitable city that respects Canberra as a city in the landscape and the National Capital, while being responsive to the future and resilient to change.

This vision continues the original vision of Walter and Marion Mahoney Griffin of Canberra being a city within the landscape that celebrates its bushland setting. It protects and enhances the qualities that we value about Canberra while managing growth and change across the city.

Land-use planning underpins the development of the economic, social and environmental development of a city. As such, this Strategy has five related themes:

  • compact and efficient
  • diverse
  • sustainable and resilient
  • liveable
  • accessible.

Each theme has accompanying strategic directions, supported by actions that the government will report against annually. The themes, directions and actions are detailed further in the Strategy, but the following are of particular significance.

Compact and Efficient

Urban spread will be limited and growth catered for through increased density in appropriate places such as around town and group centres and along major transport routes. While up to 70% of new housing will be built within our existing urban footprint, new urban areas will be explored for future needs.

Care will be taken to retain the features of the city that people value, including the bush capital setting and access to green space.


Continued cooperation with neighbouring councils and regional partners will further strengthen Canberra’s role as the region’s hub and help to promote the liveability, economy and attractiveness of the whole ACT region, including leveraging off Canberra Airport’s international flights and 24 hour operations.

Sustainable and Resilient

Careful urban planning will improve our sustainability and resilience to climate change; protecting and expanding living infrastructure, managing our waterways, reducing emissions, protecting our parks and reserves for both for our community and our biodiversity, and reducing our ecological footprint. This can make our city a more sustainable and liveable place for current and future Canberrans.


Making Canberra a great place to live and work is essential. Planning can deliver a liveable Canberra through the development of social infrastructure, open space and public places, strong activity hubs and housing choice.


An accessible Canberra will have better integrated land use and transport, well-designed and safe public spaces, a wide range of housing choice, and be easily accessible by people of all ages and abilities.


The Strategy will be implemented by the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate in consultation with other ACT Government directorates and relevant stakeholders. Many actions will be implemented through the Territory Plan, the government’s key statutory planning document in the ACT.

It is expected the Strategy will encourage investment in Canberra by clearly showing the parameters for growth management and the infrastructure investment intentions of government.

We will support continued diversification of the economy by ensuring the supply of future employment lands, protecting existing employment areas and strengthening the role of centres and activity nodes across the ACT.

This Strategy replaces the 2012 strategy, but relies on the important background information and direction of that document. It will be reviewed again in five years, as required by legislation.

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