Our functions

Under the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988, the functions of the Authority are:

  1. prepare and administer the National Capital Plan;
  2. to keep the Plan under constant review and propose amendments to it when necessary;
  3. on behalf of the Australian Government, to commission works to be carried out in designated areas in accordance with the Plan, where neither a department of State of the Commonwealth nor any Commonwealth Authority has the responsibility to commission those works;
  4. recommend to the Minister the carrying out of works it considers desirable to maintain or enhance the character of the National Capital;
  5. to foster an awareness of Canberra as the National Capital;
  6. with the approval of the Minister, to perform planning services for any person or body, whether within Australia or overseas; and
  7. with the approval of the Minister, on behalf of the Commonwealth to manage National Land designated in writing by the Minister as land required for the special purposes of Canberra as the National Capital.

Plan the Capital

The Australian Government is responsible for Canberra’s continuing national role and, as the guardian of the national interest in the Capital, is accountable to all Australians for decisions about their National Capital.

The National Capital Plan secures the Australian Government’s continuing interest in ensuring that ‘Canberra and the Territory are planned and developed in accordance with their national significance’. This recognises the value of the unique purpose, setting, character and symbolism of Australia’s National Capital.

The ability to prepare, administer and propose amendments to the National Capital Plan has been essential to the Australian Government’s abiding interest and commitment to the future development and enhancement of the National Capital. This involves assessing and approving applications to undertake works in designated areas, preparing development control plans, urban design guidelines, master plans and draft amendments to the National Capital Plan.

Promote the Capital

The NCA is charged with developing an understanding and appreciation of the role of Canberra as the National Capital. The NCA takes a strategic approach to fostering an awareness of the Capital through research; by encouraging participation, appreciation and celebration in the National Capital; by providing information and education about the Capital; and by promoting the attributes of Canberra that are of national significance.

Maintain and enhance the Capital

Advocacy, enhancement and management of the National Capital estate

The Australian Government has a direct interest in developing and maintaining the National Capital as an asset in which all Australians have a major investment.

The NCA manages and maintains assets on behalf of the Australian Government. Most assets are maintained under competitively tendered contracts and represent some of the Capital’s most nationally and culturally significant landscapes and attractions.

The diversity of these assets reflects the breadth of the Australian Government’s interests in the National Capital and provides the setting for ceremonies, activities and events that Australians expect to occur in their capital. In managing these assets the NCA seeks to ensure they are created, maintained and, if necessary, replaced to enhance and protect the unique qualities of the Capital, and to support activities and events that foster an awareness of Canberra as the National Capital.

Asset and land management and capital enhancement services

The NCA’s statutory functions enable it to ensure national assets continue to be created and maintained, are of an appropriate standard, meet the expectations of users, and support an appreciation and understanding of the role of the National Capital.

On National Land the NCA manages development and renewal projects for the special purposes of the National Capital. These works include regular maintenance, works to enhance or protect prior Commonwealth Government investment in national assets (eg refurbishment of monuments and fountains), construction of public infrastructure (eg roads, parking, pathways and lighting) and development of the landscape settings for new building sites, public parks and places, commemoration and celebration.

Our service standards

We will:

  • observe the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct;
  • monitor and report on all feedback and take this into account when reviewing and improving our services;
  • answer telephone enquiries within one working day where such enquiries cannot be dealt with immediately;
  • respond to enquiries, feedback or complaints within 15 working days; complex matters may require longer. In such cases, you will be advised of the estimated time required for the response;
  • publish and make available information about our activities;
  • refer you to the relevant organisation if we are unable to provide the specific advice or service you request;
  • provide correspondence and publications in English;
  • upon request, endeavour to provide information in other formats for people with disabilities or arrange a suitable alternative;
  • upon request, provide an interpreter when meeting with us;
  • respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
  • deliver the business objectives of the Commonwealth Government to agreed performance measures and targets; and
  • commit to the Commonwealth's Fraud Control Policy through the NCA's own fraud prevention and control arrangements

Planning and development approvals

Planning and development approval services provided by the NCA encourage development in Canberra while ensuring that it is in accordance with the Capital's national significance. These services include:

  • reviewing the National Capital Plan, and proposing amendments to the Plan;
  • providing advice on planning, urban design and development approval in accordance with the Plan;
  • assessing works applications for buildings and structures, demolition, tree felling, landscaping or excavation in areas which are designated as having the special characteristics of the National Capital;
  • co-ordinating parliamentary approvals for works proposed within the parliamentary area;
  • preparing lease and development conditions for sites in areas which are designated as having the special characteristics of the National Capital; and
  • preparing Development Control Plans for areas which have special requirements.

Information on the Service Charter for Planning and Development Approvals can be viewed as part of the NCA’s Commitment to Community Engagement

Your rights and responsibilities

As a stakeholder you may:

  • access our services by telephone, online via the website, in writing, or in person;
  • be provided with information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982; and
  • comment on the quality of our service to you.

To facilitate a successful ongoing relationship between the National Capital Authority and our stakeholders, we request that you:

  • treat our staff with courtesy;
  • attend scheduled meetings punctually;
  • respond to requests for information by us in an accurate and timely manner; and
  • abide by any legal requirements and other obligations relating to the services provided by us to which you seek access. For example, if you seek approval to carry out certain activities on land managed by the NCA, you must abide by any terms and conditions of that approval.

Feedback on our performance

We welcome feedback to assist us to monitor and improve our services and comment on our performance against the Service Charter in our Annual Report. We would like to know if you:

  • have received outstanding service;
  • have ideas on how we can improve our services to you: or
  • feel we are not meeting our service commitments to you.

If you would like any information relating to the functions of the NCA or if you have an enquiry, compliment, suggestion or complaint you can:

  • telephone our reception on 02 6271 2888 who will put you through to the relevant unit for handling by the appropriate person;
  • send the NCA an email;
  • write to us at National Capital Authority, GPO Box 373, Canberra, ACT, 2601; or
  • send a facsimile to 02 6273 4427

We will ensure you receive a response within 15 working days. If the matter is complex and we are unable to provide a response in 15 working days, we will advise you of the expected time of the response.

Further information in relation to the NCA’s feedback and complaint handling process may be found within the Commitment to Community Engagement document.

If you consider you have suffered detriment because of our unreasonable actions, omissions or decisions you may be able to receive assistance through the Australian Government’s Scheme for Compensation for Detriment.

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