Why the refresh?

The 2012 ACT Planning Strategy was a guide for Canberra into its second century, showcasing the ACT as a unique place that protects and enhances the things we value, as well as empowering us to meet the social and environmental challenges facing all nations in the 21st century.

Much of the 2012 strategy remains relevant, but in 2017 it was determined the strategy should be refreshed to take into account significant demographic, economic and environmental changes in the ACT, including sustained population growth, and government commitments to a carbon neutral future, the light rail network and urban renewal. The refresh offered the opportunity to check that the strategy continued to align with the community’s vision for Canberra's future.

A 'refresh' means that existing government policy forms the foundation for this new strategy, but it has been updated and adapted to reflect emerging trends and priorities and community input.

The ACT Planning Strategy 2018 (the Strategy) outlines a strategic vision for planning in the ACT and provides the framework for a range of actions that will allow the city to respond to change locally, regionally and globally.

ACT Planning Context

ACT Planning Strategy

The Strategy is one of many ACT Government policies that will inform the future development of Canberra. It is the key strategic document for managing growth and change in the Territory and an important tool for coordinating growth with infrastructure, transport and community facilities.

Specifically, the purpose of the Strategy under the Planning and Development Act 2007 is 'to promote the orderly and sustainable development of the ACT, consistent with the social, environmental and economic aspirations of the people of the ACT in accordance with sound financial principles'.

This Strategy:

The Strategy will replace the 2012 strategy, however the 2012 strategy will continue to form important background reference material.

The Strategy takes a long term view as part of an ongoing continuum in planning. An opportunity is available every five years to consider whether a review of the Strategy is necessary

Relationship to other policies and projects

This Strategy recognises the important connections between government policy areas, and is aligned with and complementary to other strategies. The Strategy will guide the development of Canberra's urban structure and form to achieve a city that supports more sustainable behaviours and lifestyles. As such, its actions must integrate with land use, land supply, urban renewal, housing, transport, energy, waste and environmental policy and actions.

This Strategy has therefore been prepared alongside the new transport strategy and the new the ACT Climate Strategy to a Net Zero Emissions Territory. Other key companion policies include the ACT housing strategy, recent work on housing choices and other government policies.

The Strategy also has close links with a number of transformative projects that will help deliver many of the actions in the Strategy, including the City and Gateway project, light rail implementation and Eastern Broadacre planning.

Relationship to the Territory Plan and National Capital Plan

The 2018 Strategy contains a number of actions that will be implemented as part of the Territory Plan review, to begin in 2019. The Territory Plan is the key statutory planning document in the ACT, providing the policy framework for the administration of planning in the ACT, including controls for land use and development. It must not be inconsistent with the National Capital Plan.

The National Capital Plan is administered by the Australian Government and operates concurrently in the ACT. It seeks to make sure that Canberra is planned and developed in accordance with its national significance. The National Capital Plan provides a general policy framework for land use and planning in the Territory and, more specifically, guides the planning, design and development of areas of the Territory that have been identified as having national capital importance (Designated Areas). Amendments to the National Capital Plan may be required in implementing the directions of this Strategy.

Progress on the 2012 Strategy

Since 2012, Canberra has grown and matured, with the population increasing from about 375,000 in 2012 to 402,500 people in 2016. The population is expected to be 589,000 by 2041, growing by around 7000 people per year.

The 2012 strategy has guided much of the recent change in our city. New greenfield suburbs, such as Crace and the Molonglo Valley, have been developed. Urban intensification in town centres and transport corridors has enabled more people to live close to jobs, services and rapid public transport. Approximately 60% of new housing is now in existing urban areas, well above the target of 50% set out in the strategy.

The partner document to the 2012 strategy, the 2012 Transport for Canberra strategy, has guided the increased focus on and commitment to public transport to support an efficient and effective transport network. Construction of the first stage of light rail will be completed in 2018 and planning is underway for a second stage.

Many other key areas of government policy have progressed, enabling their consideration as part of the strategy's refresh, as shown in Canberra's timeline since 2012.

Canberra's Timeline since 2012









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