Chairs Message

On behalf of the National Capital Authority (NCA), I am pleased to present the 2020-21 NCA Corporate Plan, which covers the period 2020-21 to 2023-24, as required under paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land of Canberra and pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging and recognise their on-going connection to country.

Canberra has been a special meeting place for tens of thousands of years. That role continues today as Canberra fulfils its place as Australia’s National Capital and the seat of the Australian Government. Canberra is home to the Australian Parliament, our Governor-General and the High Court of Australia. Canberra is where we present ourselves to the world and where we host the world’s diplomatic community. Canberra is home to some of Australia’s leading universities and where we house many of our important cultural institutions and collections that tell our national story.

The NCA’s mission is to shape a capital that all Australians can be proud of. We do this by making sure the National Capital is well planned, managed and promoted, consistent with its enduring national significance. It is the NCA’s role to consider the long-term needs of the Australian Government within its capital, while at the same time playing our part in contributing to a sustainable and well-managed local and regional city.

On 23 March 2020 the Australian Government, through an agreement with the ACT Government, secured 31.6 hectares of land at North Curtin that will facilitate the development of a new diplomatic estate to meet our national obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. A key priority for 2020-21 will be planning the future of this estate as a high quality, sustainable and attractive addition to Canberra’s landscape.

At the local level, the events of the past 12 months that included on-going drought, bushfires, a significant hailstorm and then COVID-19, remind us of the importance of a well-planned and well-managed place – particularly to the health and wellbeing of its citizens. At the national level, these events highlight the importance of our Australian democracy and our federated system of government in supporting all citizens and maintaining social cohesion. Fittingly, these are the principles and ideals that underpin the original Griffin plans for Canberra as the National Capital.

Throughout the past year the NCA prioritised the safety and wellbeing of the community and our staff and supporting ongoing economic activity wherever possible. We fast-tracked our business systems to digital platforms and implemented business continuity strategies to keep planning and approvals and estate management actions operating as efficiently as possible. We were able to support our major contractors remain at work and together we managed and enhanced key assets including Scrivener Dam, the walls of Lake Burley Griffin, the National Carillon and the iconic high mast lights along main routes to Parliament House.

As we move into the coming year, we will remain flexible and adaptive as we plan for a COVID-19 and hopefully post COVID -19 world. We know there will be changes in our operating environment, particularly in relation to who will be able to travel to the National Capital. At the same time we know we need to plan for an increase in people seeking to safely use the open spaces we manage.

The NCA’s key priorities for the coming period include:

• continuing to encourage high quality design, landscaping and environmental and heritage management

• designing a diplomatic estate that sits appropriately within Canberra’s high quality and unique landscapes

• managing and promoting safe and accessible places and experiences in the nation’s capital • enhancing Australia’s natural and cultural heritage in Canberra

• continuing a program of priority asset renewal and rejuvenation I commend the 2020-21 Corporate Plan to all Australians.

 

Terry Weber Chair, National Capital Authority

31 August 2020