On behalf of the National Capital Authority (NCA), I am pleased to present the 2023-24 NCA Corporate Plan, which covers the period 2023-24 to 2026-27, as required under paragraph 35(1)(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act).
I acknowledge the traditional owners and historic custodians of Canberra, the Ngunnawal people and families, and pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging, and recognise their long-standing connection to the land and the region.
A colourful figure in the early days of the siting and development of Australia’s Capital City, King O’Malley, then Minister of Home Affairs, wrote:
We desire to have a city that will be the Gotham [an alternative name for New York City] of Australia ... [and] in a few years will rival London in size, Athens in art and Paris in beauty.’
The NCA’s mission echoes King O’Malley’s sentiment.
To shape Canberra as a capital that all Australians can be proud of by ensuring it is well planned, managed and promoted, consistent with its enduring national significance.
The NCA’s work retains and enhances Canberra’s substance and character as envisioned by its first architects and planners – Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin and other early visionaries who integrated the ideals of the City Beautiful and Garden City movements to form Australia’s famous bush capital. Importantly this early work set the human scale and size of central Canberra and its relationship to existing green spaces and new landscapes.
These green spaces and linkages are more important than ever as modern Canberra becomes the fastest growing city in Australia. More and more people are choosing to live and work here and, unlike the early days of the National Capital, we now have multi-generational families who call Canberra home, something quite rare even compared to only 30 years ago. This change requires thoughtful and proactive responses from the NCA and the ACT Government working together on many matters including the provision of a range of housing, transport, and social and environmental protection infrastructure. The NCA will work with the ACT Government to plan for the city’s growth in a sustainable way.
While our population grows, assets integral to the original form and civic functions of the capital continue to age and require repair. Over the next few years, the NCA will focus on the successful renewal of key assets, in particular the structural strengthening and upgrading of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge, and the consolidation of the safety and stability of Scrivener Dam. The renewal of these major infrastructure assets will ensure they continue their pivotal role in the National Capital. One of our greatest challenges is to engage Australians in the future of their National Capital. We are committed to trialling various methods to engage people to think about what is important about their National Capital.
We will continue to market and draw people to the centre of Australia’s national capital – to enjoy, celebrate and recognise Canberra’s unifying and aspirational role. We hope that when they visit, they are proud of the beauty of the city. We think the way we present Canberra in partnership with National Cultural Institutions can help all Australians navigate and engage in our collective past, present and, hopefully, future.
This year we look forward to participating in the current inquiry into ways to foster and promote the significance of Australia’s National Capital being conducted by the Australian Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories, and implementing Government decisions coming from the work of this important committee. We will also continue to embed and improve our procurement processes and practices, in line with recommendations from the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit.
Terry Weber Chair, National Capital Authority, 18 August 2023