Entertainment areas

Nightlife in our city is more vibrant than ever, with restaurants, live music and other entertainment activity. Noise is part of city living; it's the trade-off for being close to where you can work and play.

As more people choose to live in our city centres, the ACT Government is considering how we balance a liveable city with one that delivers a vibrant and diverse night-time economy.

The ACT Government is considering noise regulation and planning through several projects which are summarised in the 2019 Entertainment Action Plan (PDF 3.3MB).

Understanding Entertainment

Our vision for Canberra as a sustainable and liveable modern city is one where night-time activities thrive and where people can enjoy the spaces where they live and play. A lively night-time economy with diverse offerings including restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, retail, cultural events and more is an important consideration as we plan for the future.

The 2019 Entertainment Action Plan identifies a number of avenues for the Government, community and industry to pursue to realise this vision. The factsheets linked below provide information about some of the elements to consider when planning for entertainment areas.

Urban Sounds

Urban Sounds looked at options for improving the planning framework to better manage noise in mixed use areas where commercial and residential uses coexist.

A dynamic Canberra means lively group and town centres during the day and into the evening. Through the Urban Sounds consultations and project we're extending daytime noise standards later into the evening on Friday and Saturday nights.

The new regulations, effective from late December 2019, will mean that on Fridays and Saturdays, entertainment venues and events in the City and our town centres in Woden, Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Gungahlin, will now be permitted to make noise as loud as 60 dB(A) up from the current 10pm until midnight. Venues and events in group centres, such as Kippax, Dickson, Kingston, and Mawson will now be permitted to make noise up to 55 dB(A) up from the current 10pm until 11pm on these nights.

Visit the Noise Portal for more information.

ACT Planning Review

We’re reviewing ACT's planning system to shape Canberra’s future as we grow. In consultation with the community, the ACT Planning Review will consider where entertainment can be best supported.

The first stage of the ACT Planning Review consultation will open shortly. Follow the project on YourSay to participate.

What We've Heard

In September we invited entertainment venues, music industry and property industry representatives to share their views on the draft entertainment action plan. The outcomes of that workshop have informed the finalisation of the action plan and we will continue to work with stakeholders to deliver our vision of a dynamic and liveable Canberra.

Read the workshop summary report (PDF 349KB) for further information.

Next steps

The Entertainment Action Plan (PDF 3.3MB) outlines a number of actions for Government to consider. Over the next 12 months, we will be talking to community about where entertainment areas might exist and how to deliver on our vision of a dynamic and liveable Canberra.

Some of these conversations will happen as part of the ACT Planning Review, which is looking at our planning system here in the ACT and considering what planning tools are needed to deliver on the Planning Strategy 2018.

Other elements of the action plan will be considered in projects already underway, and some require some further investigation.

Summer Trial - Canberra City Centre

Informed by the recent consultation on extending daytime noise hours in city, town and group centres and general community support for entertainment, the Government has identified a trial special entertainment area in the City Centre, as shown in the Entertainment Action Plan (PDF 3.3MB).

This trial will consider the previous noise monitoring undertaken to inform the extension to the daytime noise standards on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as business and community activity in this area. The evaluation will take place over the summer months when activity is known to be at its highest.

This will help Government to better understand land use compatibility and conflicts, noise levels, hours of venue operation and activity to inform the identification of entertainment areas.