Chapter 1 - National Capital Authority

Funding overview

Outcome

Manage the strategic planning, promotion and enhancement of Canberra as the National Capital for all Australians through the development and administration of the National Capital Plan, operation of the National Capital Exhibition, delivery of education and awareness programs and works to enhance the character of the National Capital.


Overview

The NCA is established under the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) 1988 Act.

The NCA performs a special role as trustee of the National Capital and in this capacity serves the interests of the Australian Government, the nation and its people. The NCA is responsible for shaping the National Capital into the future, as well as caring for the significant parts of Canberra and raising awareness of Canberra as Australia’s capital.


Vision

The NCA’s vision is for a National Capital which symbolises Australia’s heritage, values and aspirations, is internationally recognised and is worthy of pride by all Australians.


Mission

The NCA’s mission is to build the National Capital in the hearts of all Australians.


Goals

The goals of the NCA are:

  • to protect the national interest in the planning, development and heritage of the National Capital
  • to inform and educate Australians and visitors about the significance and role of Canberra as the National Capital
  • to develop and maintain the special character of the National Capital Estate.


Values, People and Service

The NCA values:

  • leadership, achievement, professionalism and innovation
  • a work environment which supports diversity, learning and trust
  • creative, communicative and productive partnerships
  • a professional and outcome-focused service for the public
  • a commitment to service and to stakeholder rights and responsibilities
  • feedback on performance
  • governance that sustains a proactive risk management culture.

Minister’s Powers

The Act establishes the NCA, prescribes its powers and functions and makes it subject to general ministerial direction. During 2014–15 the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Honourable Jamie Briggs MP, administered the Act.

The Minister has a range of specific powers under the Act. Amendments to the Plan are subject to the Minister’s approval. Sections 19–21A provides that the Minister, having considered a Draft Amendment to the Plan submitted by the NCA, may approve it without alteration or refer it back to the NCA with directions to consider it further.

Chapter 2 outlines details of amendments to the Plan in 2014–15.

Section 7(1) provides that the Minister may give the Authority general directions in writing about the performance of its functions.

The Minister also has powers under other legislation relating to management of National Land, namely the:

  • National Land Ordinance 1989 and applied provisions of the following:
    • City Area Leases Ordinance 1936
    • City Area Leases Regulations
    • Crown Lands Act 1884 (NSW)
    • Dedication by User Limitation Act 1902 (NSW)
    • Lakes Ordinance 1976
    • Leases Ordinance 1918
    • Leases (Special Purposes) Ordinance 1925
    • Leases Regulations
    • Protection of Lands Ordinance 1937
    • Public Roads Act 1902 (NSW)
    • Recovery of Lands Ordinance 1929
    • Roads and Public Places Ordinance 1937
    • Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1932
  • National Memorials Ordinance 1928.


2014–15 Milestones

During this financial year, the NCA achieved the following:

  • The National Capital Plan Exposure Draft was released for public consultation
  • Upgrade of car park infrastructure on National Land in Russell, Acton, Barton and Parkes commenced as part of an ongoing program to improve safety and amenity for all user groups.
  • The National Capital Exhibition welcomed 145,439 visitors to the exhibition.
  • The NCA’s pay parking scheme in the National Triangle commenced on 1 October 2014.
  • On 17 December 2014 contraflow traffic arrangements were introduced at Bowen Place Crossing, following construction of the project’s first road bridge in the westbound carriageway of Bowen Drive. On 5 June 2015 the replacement lakeside path was completed and reopened to the public.
  • The Pedestrian Crossing Upgrade Works at King Edward Terrace and King George Terrace commenced on 16 April 2015 and was completed on 29 June.
  • Extensive conservation works were completed on Blundells Cottage.
  • The NCA issued approximately 861 permits for events on National Land.


Australian Parliament

The NCA’s formal relationship with the Australian Parliament has two main elements:

  • Either House of Parliament may disallow amendments, either in whole or in part, to the Plan tabled by the Minister under the Act. See Chapter 2 for details of amendments to the Plan in 2014–15.
  • The Parliament Act 1974 requires that any work undertaken in the Parliamentary Zone must be approved by both Houses of Parliament. The NCA assesses such proposals and provides advice to the Minister and, through the Minister, may provide information to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories

Under section 5(1) of the Parliament Act 1974 the Minister has a responsibility to ensure no works are carried out in the Parliamentary Zone unless the proposal has been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament. The Parliamentary Precincts Act 1988 places this obligation, in respect of works in the Parliamentary Precincts, on the Presiding Officers.

In 2014–15 the Presiding Officers submitted one proposal for Works Approval within the Parliamentary Precincts for the following works:

  • Security upgrades to the Ministerial wing of the Australian Parliament House.

The NCA prepared one works proposal for the Minister to put to both Houses of Parliament in accordance with section 5(1) of the Parliament Act 1974:

  • Installation of a memorial to commemorate victims of the MH17 disaster in the Ukraine in the Formal Gardens of the Australian Parliament House.

Some works are not referred to Parliament because they are legally considered to be minor works. Legally, such works conform with the de minimis non curat lex principle of common law, whereby ‘the law is not concerned with trivial matters’. The NCA approved 23 minor works in the Parliamentary Zone under the de minimis principle and the Minister and the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories were duly advised (Table 1).


Delegations and Authorisations

Under section 49 of the Act, the Authority of the NCA has delegated its powers to the Chief Executive. The Authority has also delegated works approval powers to staff responsible for approving works in designated areas of the National Capital under section 12 of the Act.

Under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, the Chief Executive has delegated limited powers to the Deputy Chief Executive (Chief Planner), the Executive Director National Capital Estate, Directors and other key staff for the authorisation of expenditure of monies and to enter into contracts in accordance with Accountable Authority Instructions.

The Minister has delegated to the Chief Executive, the Chief Planner, the Executive Director National Capital Estate and key positions specific powers in relation to administering National Land under the National Land Ordinance 1989, including applied provisions of the Lakes Ordinance 1976, the Roads and Public Places Ordinance 1937, the Trespass on Commonwealth Lands Ordinance 1932, the City Area Leases Ordinance 1936, the Leases (Special Purposes) Ordinance 1925 and the Leases Ordinance 1918.

Powers under the Lands Acquisition Act 1989, relating to acquisition and disposal of land, have been delegated to the Chief Executive, the Chief Planner and the Executive Director National Capital Estate. These delegations provide the NCA with an efficient working environment in the service of the government and the community.


TABLE 1: NCA-APPROVED MINOR WORKS UNDER THE DE MINIMIS PRINCIPLE IN THE PARLIAMENTARY ZONE, 2014–15
Location Description Of Works
Block 1 Section 33 Parkes (Treasury Building) Installation of bicycle storage enclosure
Block 18 Section 29 Parkes (National Gallery of Australia) Installation of car park infrastructure, including signs and ticket machines
Block 2 Section 56, Block 15 Section 28 and Block 18 Section 29 Parkes (National Gallery of Australia, High Court of Australia and Commonwealth Place East) Installation of satellite dishes to buildings for National Gallery of Australia Contemporary Gallery
Dorothy Tangney Place and Block 2 Section 23 Parkes (West Block) Removal of two dead and dangerous trees
Block 1 Section 40 Parkes (Old Parliament House) Removal and replacement of dead Cupressus sempervirens ‘Stricta’
Block 1 Section 57 Parkes (Questacon) Installation of walkways to roof as part of photovoltaic panel installation
Block 2 Section 23 Parkes (West Block) Removal of a dead and dangerous Eucalyptus pauciflora
Block 1 Section 57 Parkes (Questacon) Installation of walkways to roof as part of photovoltaic panel installation
Block 2 Section 55 Parkes Removal of ‘Gallery of Australian Design’ signage at Commonwealth Place East
Langton Crescent Road Reserve Demolition of Langton Crescent bus shelter
Block 18 Section 29 Parkes (The Lobby Restaurant) Installation of blinds to the veranda
Block 15 Section 28 Parkes (High Court of Australia) Exterior lighting upgrade
Block 2 Section 55 Parkes (Questacon) Removal of dead and dangerous tree
Parliamentary Zone Removal and replacement of 37 trees
Block 1 Section 33 and Block 1 Section 37 Parkes (Treasury Building) Installation of CCTV cameras
Block 2 Section 23 Parkes (West Block) Removal of a dead and dangerous Eucalyptus pauciflora
Block 1 Section 38 and Block 1 Section 40 Parkes (Old Parliament House gardens) Installation of interpretive signage
Block 2 Section 23 Parkes (West Block) Decommissioning and removal of an underground diesel fuel-storage tank and basement-mounted generator
Parliamentary Zone Pedestrian crossing upgrades
Bowen Place Road Reserve Removal of Eucalyptus bicostata as part of Bowen Place pedestrian crossing works
Block 1 Section 57 Parkes (Questacon) Installation of outdoor exhibits, including relocation of existing and new installations
Removal of 12 trees and associated shrubs Installation of interpretive signage
Block 17 Section 28 Parkes (National Portrait Gallery) Replacement of external plywood panels on building façade – stage 2


Review of Operations


The Portfolio Budget Statements for the Infrastructure and Regional Development portfolio provide information on the NCA’s program structure for 2014–15 and the three forward years.

Figure 1: Outcomes Reporting Structure
Figure 1: Outcomes Reporting Structure

TABLE 2: Performance Information

Program 1.1 – National Capital Functions
1.1.1: Canberra and the Territory are planned and developed in accordance with their national significance
Deliverables 2014–15 Target 2014–15 Actual
Draft amendments to the National Capital Plan 2 0
Works Approvals granted 300 449
Master plans/development control guidelines/urban design guidelines 6 5
Key Performance Indicators 2014–15 Target 2014–15 Actual
Percentage of Works Approval applications assessed against the National Capital Plan within 15 working days 90% 85%
1.1.2: Promotion and awareness of the significance of Canberra as the National Capital
Deliverables 2014–15 Target 2014–15 Actual
Notified events on National Land (events organised by external parties) 1,000 861
Visitors to the National Capital Exhibition 160,000 145,439
Visits to online information and education materials on NCA website 6,000 3,439
Key Performance Indicators 2014–15 Target 2014–15 Actual
Percentage of surveyed National Capital Exhibition visitors who report an increased awareness of the special importance of Canberra as the National Capital 85% 96.3%
1.1.3: Advocacy, enhancement and management of the National Capital Estate
Deliverables 2014–15 Target 2014–15 Actual
Diplomatic rent reviews completed 2 2
Contract management peer reviews 5 4
Value of assets under NCA management $808m $950m
Key Performance Indicators 2014–15 Target 2014–15 Actual
Percentage of building and civil infrastructure maintenance issues resolved with required timeframes 90% 90%
Program 1.2 – National Capital Estate
1.2 Develop and renew the special character of the National Capital Estate
Deliverables 2014–15 Target 2014–15 Actual
Value of development and renewal works in the National Capital Estate $17m $17m
Key Performance Indicators 2014–15 Target 2014–15 Actual
Number of impaired assets on National Land 0 6

Figure 2: Departmental Income And Expenses 2014–15 And 2013–14 ($m)
Figure 2: Departmental Income And Expenses 2014–15 And 2013–14 ($m)
Figure 3: Departmental Assets And Liabilities 2014–15 And 2013–14 ($m)
Figure 3: Departmental Assets And Liabilities 2014–15 And 2013–14 ($m)
Figure 4: Administered Income And Expenses 2014–15 And 2013–14 ($m)
Figure 4: Administered Income And Expenses 2014–15 And 2013–14 ($m)
Figure 5: Administered Asset And Liabilities 2014–15 And 2013–14 ($m)
Figure 5: Administered Asset And Liabilities 2014–15 And 2013–14 ($m)

Financial Overview

As a not-for-profit independent statutory agency, the NCA’s primary source of operating revenue is departmental appropriation from the Australian Government. The NCA uses this funding to deliver its two programs: National Capital Functions and National Capital Estate, which includes administration and overhead costs required to run the agency’s operations. The majority of costs incurred by the NCA relate to the maintenance and preservation of National Capital assets under its control.

From time to time, the NCA also receives funding from non-government entities to facilitate construction activities on their behalf. Usually these projects relate to the construction of memorials in the National Capital. Any funding received for these activities is accounted for in the NCA’s departmental operations.

The NCA receives administered appropriations to carry out activities on behalf of the Australian Government. These activities primarily involve the construction and upgrade of assets in the National Capital, including the insurance and revaluation of these assets. The NCA also manages land for diplomatic use and collects rental income from embassies on the Australian Government’s behalf. In 2014–15 the NCA commenced operation of a pay parking scheme in the Parliamentary Zone.


Departmental Performance

In 2014–15 the NCA reported a departmental operating deficit of $0.943 million, which was less than the budgeted deficit of $0.983 million (Figure 2). After adding unfunded depreciation and amortisation expenses of $1.109 million, the NCA’s actual operating surplus was $0.166 million. Revenues and expenses both increased in 2014–15 compared with the previous year. This is due to a $0.69 million increase in appropriation funding with the May budget and the receipt of $0.75 million in additional funding for car park maintenance during the additional estimates budget round.

At 30 June 2015 the NCA’s departmental net assets remained mostly unchanged from the previous year (Figure 3). An operating loss of $0.943 million was offset by equity injections of $0.676 million and reserve increases of $0.248 million. Non-financial assets reduced owing to depreciation charges exceeding asset additions and the write-down of a number of obsolete assets. Liabilities remained mostly unchanged.


Administered Performance

In 2014–15 administered expenses increased by $0.62 million owing to increased depreciation charges of $0.74 million and decreased write-downs of $1.86 million associated with the replaced components of upgraded assets (Figure 4). Both of these expenses do not have an associated cash flow. Supplier expenses increased by $1.74 million owing to the introduction of pay parking operations for the first time.

In 2014–15 the new pay parking scheme provided additional $13.97 million in consolidated revenue for the Commonwealth. The NCA also recognised $3.23 million non-cash revenue for acquisition of assets for Boundless Playground in Kings Park.

As at 30 June 2015 administered asset values remained mostly unchanged from the previous financial year (Figure 5). The NCA’s non-financial assets include land, buildings, infrastructure, plant, equipment and heritage assets on the National Capital Estate, all of which are subject to revaluation annually by an external valuer. The net effect of revaluations in 2014–15 was $8.0 million. New asset additions of $17.1 million were offset by depreciation charges of $19.8 million and asset write-downs of $1.7 million.

Administered liabilities decreased by $1.6 million owing to a reduction in expenses accrued on a number of construction projects that were active at year’s end. Unearned revenue associated with a new diplomatic premium lease partly offset the decrease in accrued expenses.


Cost Recovery

During 2014–15 the NCA recovered a small portion of its costs through works approval fees and licence agreements.