Approval Date
19 October 2020
Purpose

On 19 October 2020, the Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories approved National Capital Plan Amendment 95. The amendment took effect on 28 October 2020.

The amendment as approved by the Minister is available to download below. 

Amendment 95 to the National Capital Plan (the Plan) changed the land use policy of Block 4 Section 106 and part Block 5 Section 121 Curtin to facilitate the development of a new diplomatic estate, and to create a new urban area adjacent to the estate.

The amendment was proposed in response to the pressing need to find suitable land to accommodate the long term growth in diplomatic missions in Australia’s national capital.

The unique role and function of Canberra was at the forefront of the decision to propose an amendment to the Plan to facilitate the use of the North Curtin Horse Paddocks for diplomatic use.

As the nation’s capital city, Canberra hosts a wide range of functions that are unique. These functions include the Seat of Government, and many of the nation’s government, judicial, cultural, scientific, educational, and military institutions.

Like other national capitals, many foreign governments seek to establish their diplomatic missions and residences here. Australia has an obligation to facilitate the acquisition of, or assist in obtaining, accommodation for diplomatic missions. The diplomatic estate is of national significance and supports Australia’s membership of the international community.

Demand continues for sites within the diplomatic estates. It is expected that growth in the diplomatic community will occur in both dedicated estates and in purchased and/or rented premises. The NCA cannot meet the future demand for sites within the current diplomatic estate.

Public consultation

The National Capital Authority (NCA) thanks the community for their interest in and feedback on Draft Amendment 95 – North Curtin Diplomatic Estate and Urban Area (DA95) to the National Capital Plan (the Plan). The NCA received 175 submissions in response to DA95 and a petition containing around 1200 signatures.

The public consultation process revealed community concern regarding the loss of green space, impacts of development on environmental values, and apprehension about the quality of any future development. Many submitters requested that the NCA find an alternative site for the future diplomatic estate.

Submissions provided valuable input that will guide future management practices, site investigation and development policy.

Changes to DA95 arising from public consultation include:

  • Strengthening provisions regarding the landscape qualities of each site. This includes expectations that sites are landscaped in a way that is sensitive to Canberra’s changing climate.
  • Increasing provisions related to building design so as to ensure higher levels of environmental sustainability and minimise use of non-renewable resources.
  • Strengthening carpark provisions for diplomatic sites, including detailed policy to define the location and landscape qualities of any car parking located within a site. Policies to encourage underground parking were also strengthened.  

The Consultation Report prepared by the NCA is available to download below.

Next steps

The NCA will undertake detailed site investigations and estate development planning for the diplomatic estate. This process will determine subdivision layout, infrastructure requirements, access arrangements, the location of open space, block sizes and the like.

Detailed planning for the new urban area will occur in the context of broader strategic planning investigations for the City to Woden corridor. Detailed conditions of planning, design and development for the new urban area will be subject to public consultation.

Community advice regarding the natural environment will inform future studies and design work. 

The NCA anticipates that community interest in development of the North Curtin Horse Paddocks will remain strong through the future stages of planning and development process. As the NCA undertakes further work and studies on this site it will ensure that the community continues to have opportunity for input on development of the site.

Ecological investigations will commence in late 2020, with further site investigations and estate development planning to commence in 2021.

Further information

Further information on Amendment 95 is available by emailing draft.amendment@nca.gov.au or phoning (02) 6271 2851.