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What we do

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

  • prepare and administer the National Capital Plan
  • to keep the Plan under constant review and propose amendments to it when necessary
  • 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;
  • recommend to the Minister the carrying out of works it considers desirable to maintain or enhance the character of the National Capital
  • to foster an awareness of Canberra as the National Capital
  • with the approval of the Minister, to perform planning services for any person or body, whether within Australia or overseas, and
  • 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

Australia’s National Capital has a unique purpose, setting, character and symbolism, and it’s important we make sure it continues to do so. Through the National Capital Plan, we ensure that ‘Canberra and the Territory are planned and developed in accordance with their national significance’. We do this by assessing and approving applications to undertake works in designated areas, and by preparing development control plans, urban design guidelines, master plans and draft amendments to the National Capital Plan.

Promote the Capital

We are responsible for developing an understanding and appreciation of the role of Canberra as the National Capital. We take 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.

We manage and maintain 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, we make sure 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 spread an awareness of Canberra as the National Capital.

Asset and land management and Capital enhancement services

The NCA’s statutory functions help us 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.