Chapter 3 - National Engagement and Education

Program 1.1.2

Program 1.1.2

Promotion and awareness of the significance of Canberra as the National Capital


Section 6 of the Act provides for the NCA ‘to foster an awareness of Canberra as the National Capital.’

The NCA aims to increase Australians’ understanding of the special role and significance of Canberra. To achieve this objective, the NCA uses a variety of tools to inform and raise awareness of Canberra as the National Capital.

Our Outreach in Numbers

In 2014–15 the NCA’s Inform and Educate programs had great success, including:

  • The National Capital Exhibition located in Commonwealth Park had 145,439 visitors, of which 55,631 participated in an education program.
  • Other education programs such as guided walks of Anzac Parade and Reconciliation Place and programs at Blundells Cottage were presented to 1,680 people.
  • The Brick by Brick touring exhibition was viewed by 6,080 people across Port Melbourne, Bendigo, Port Macquarie, Tamworth and Lismore.
  • A Capital Collection touring exhibition was seen by 7,790 people across Melbourne, Mount Gambier and Adelaide.
  • Approximately 210 people participated in volunteer-led walks as part of the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival.
  • There were in excess of 3,400 visitors accessing the online education portal and online outreach tools.
  • The Canberra Guide app and mobile website, in which the NCA is a major partner, received approximately 38,488 visits and 211,411 page views.
  • The NCA’s Twitter account was followed by 2,276 people and organisations.
  • The NCE’s Brick by Brick Facebook page had 408 friends.
  • There were in excess of 1,300 active users on the consultation website, Have your say, before it was decommissioned.
  • The annual Public Forum had 35 people take part and nine following online.
  • There were 89 volunteers providing horticulture, interpretation and research services, with seven people volunteering in two programs.
  • The National Carillon program also saw the training and development of two adult student carillonists and two school student carillonists.

Five-Year Inform and Educate Strategy

In 2014–15 the NCA implemented the third year of its five-year strategy to inform and educate Australians and international visitors about the role and significance of the National Capital. There are four goals identified in the strategy:

  • improving the positive perception of Canberra as the National Capital
  • increasing the awareness of the unique characteristics of the National Capital
  • improving the understanding of past, current and future development of the National Capital
  • increasing the recognition of Canberra’s place in the history of Australia.

These goals continue to be revised and the Inform and Educate Strategy is fluid in its approach, taking into consideration market trends and new audiences

‘Under our Inform and Educate function, the National Capital Authority operates at a number of di erent levels in promoting Canberra as the National Capital, particularly around our involvement through our National Capital Exhibition at Regatta Point here on the Lake. That is a focus for quite a signi cant number of visitors, particularly school children, who come to Canberra to have an orientation, as it were, to the National Capital.’


National Capital Exhibition

The National Capital Exhibition (the Exhibition) illustrates the story of the National Capital – its past, its present and its possible futures. It features the people, events, history and designs which have contributed to the development of this unique, planned capital city. It is a place where Australians and international visitors can experience the history of the development of our nation’s capital.

The Exhibition is located on Barrine Drive in Commonwealth Park. It is open from Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm and on weekends from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. It is closed on public holidays (except Australia Day and Canberra Day) and during Christmas week. Admission is free.

The Exhibition was originally built in 1962, as a viewing platform for visitors to observe the construction of Lake Burley Griffin (the Lake). The first enclosed display was temporarily mounted for a visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in February 1963. Public enthusiasm at the time saw the temporary display become permanent.

A temporary exhibition was mounted in response to the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Lake; it comprised items from the restoration project, photographs and souvenirs from the NCA archives, and photographs of the Molonglo valley taken 50 years before the Lake was established and during construction. This display is still popular with adult visitors to the Exhibition.

The layout changes made in 2013–14 to allow for more visibility of the Lake and surrounds proved popular with visitors this financial year, resulting in more people engaging within the space for longer periods of time. Both international and domestic visitors have interacted strongly with the ‘Quote Unquote’ commentary wall, with more than 100 comments being collected.

Key Achievements

In 2014–15 the Exhibition had 145,439 visitors, representing a 0.2 per cent decline from the 2013–14 visitation figures. The total visitors comprised (Figure 7):

  • School groups: 50,643 school students (plus 4,988 teachers and accompanying adults), 96 per cent of whom were from interstate
  • International: 12,890
  • Domestic: 14,587
  • Free and independent travellers: 62,331.

Figure 7: National capital exhibition visitor attendance National capital exhibition visitor attendance

A key ambition for the Exhibition is to increase the awareness of Canberra’s special role as the National Capital. In 2014–15 exit surveys of visitors showed that 96.3 per cent of those surveyed agreed that their visit to the Exhibition had increased their awareness of the special importance of Canberra as Australia’s National Capital.

Note: School Participants includes students, teachers and accompanying adults.

Brick by Brick

The Brick by Brick: Build Your Own Capital exhibition has been open for two years. This activity space within the Exhibition allows visitors to create their own National Capital or replicate some of the significant buildings located in Canberra using LEGOTM or DUPLOTM. The DUPLOTM activity has proved so popular it is now available in its own space and has given rise to a regular monthly program for pre-schoolers (Little Griffins).

Eleven construction sheets are available, showing step-by-step instructions on how to build some of the national treasures located in Canberra. These include the Captain Cook Memorial Jet, the Australian War Memorial and Old Parliament House. Participants are encouraged to use the construction sheets provided when they visit the Exhibition or to take them away to assemble the designs at home.

Participants in the accompanying education program are asked to imagine the Canberra of the future and create new national institutions, memorials, artworks, or other buildings that will be important for all Australians. This program is popular with primary school visitors but has also proved to be educationally engaging for high school groups. The opportunity to engage in a hands-on activity as part of a school excursion to Canberra, rather than merely take a tour, is beneficial to many different types of learners. This is particularly true of visual and tactile learners, who might not otherwise participate in discussion or debate on the National Capital.

Little Griffins

The Little Griffins program for toddlers and pre-schoolers is presented at the Exhibition on the fourth Friday of each month during school terms. Children participate in a structured session based on the idea of building a city. These sessions last for one hour. Puppets, singing, dress-ups and DUPLOTM construction are used to engage the children. The program aims to establish an understanding in young children of the community in which they live, and provide opportunities for:

  • communicating with others
  • engaging in problem-solving
  • learning through play
  • displaying creativity and imagination
  • developing social skills
  • developing visual literacy.

Key Achievements

Launched on 22 July 2014, Little Griffins has had 146 participants, many of whom have returned to visit. The program has led to an increase in local visitor numbers within a demographic which has previously not been targeted with any formal programs and increased public awareness of the Brick by Brick exhibition and of the National Capital.

Figure 8: Blundells cottage visitor attendance Blundells cottage visitor attendance

Blundells Cottage

Built around 1860, Blundells Cottage (the Cottage) is the last remaining pre-Federal residence in the National Triangle. Once a workers’ cottage for several families on the Duntroon Estate, the Cottage now operates as a museum of the pastoral history of the National Capital.

The Cottage was closed in the six months prior to May 2015, while it underwent conservation works in line with the Blundells Cottage Heritage Management Plan. As part of these conversation works, gutters and downpipes were replaced, stonework was repointed, raw timbers were preserved, and the interiors were lime-washed.

In addition to preserving the Cottage, the NCA also collected oral histories from people associated with it to inform new installations. The new displays are being installed over two stages. Stage 1 was opened on 20 May 2015. These works included the development of new exhibits that reflect the story of the Ginn and Sainsbury families, the first and last families to occupy the Cottage. As part of Stage 2, the displays will be expanded to include Alice Oldfield and the Blundell family.

The Cottage is located on Wendouree Drive, Parkes, on the shores of the Lake. It is open for visitors every Saturday, excluding public holidays, from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm, with two scheduled tours at 11.30 am and 1 pm. It is also open on Thursdays for advance school bookings only. It is closed during Christmas week. Admission is free.

I am the former Chief Planner of England so this is an ambition realised, to visit Canberra as one of the world’s finest planned cities.’
Paul Hudson

Key Achievements

During 2014–15 the Cottage attracted a total of 2,710 visitors, of whom 1,005 were school students accompanied by teachers or parents. The decline in visitation on the previous year is attributed to the cottage being closed for restoration and redevelopment from 12 December 2014 to 7 May 2015, which meant it was open for just 59 days this financial year, down from 99 in 2013–14

‘This place is the heart of a nation I’m proud to call home. It’s a great place to be no matter what!’

Laura, NSW

National Carillon

Located on Lake Burley Griffin’s Aspen Island, the National Carillon (the Carillon) was a gift from the British Government to the people of Australia to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Capital. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II accepted the Carillon on behalf of Australians when she officially opened it on 26 April 1970.

With 55 bronze bells, the Carillon is large by world standards. The pitch of the bells ranges chromatically through four and one half octaves. The bells range in weight from 7 kilograms to 6 tonnes. Cast in England by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough, they are fine examples of the art of bell founding.

Regular concerts are performed from 12.30 pm to 1.20 pm each Wednesday and Sunday, with special concerts played on Anzac Day and as part of the Canberra International Music Festival. Themed concerts were performed for the 50th anniversary of Lake Burley Griffin, Christmas Eve, Australia Day, Valentine’s Day, Canberra Day and the Queen’s Birthday public holiday. A concert was also performed on 14 March 2015 for the large number of people waiting for Skyfire to commence. In 2014–15, 129 concerts were performed at the Carillon.

Key Achievements

In July 2014 NCA carillonists participated in a special concert in Ypres, Belgium, for the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Three works were commissioned for this performance. The NCA carillonists performed a 40-minute concert while others only performed for 15 minutes; this was a great honour in light of the extensive tradition of carillon music in Europe.

While in Belgium for the commemorative concert, the NCA carillonists also took part in a three-day, intensive study program at the Royal Carillon School in Mechelen, Belgium. Dr Thomas Laue (senior carillonist) took out third prize in the Queen Fabiola Carillon competition. The carillonists appreciated the support they received from the NCA regarding the overseas performance and professional development.

International carillonists, Philippe Buellens and Hans Hielsher, performed concerts at the National Carillon on 13 August 2014 and 14 March 2015 respectively. Emeritus Professor Larry Sitsky AM (renowned Australian composer and performer) wrote a duo for the National Carillon. This was performed by Lyn Fuller (lead carillonist) and Dr. Thomas Laue on Professor Sitsky’s birthday, 24 September 2014.

In 2015, as part of the Anzac Day anniversary commemorations, the carillonists again performed a concert in recognition of the service and sacrifice made by Australians during the First World War. Three reflective pieces were commissioned for the performance from Canberra composer Leonard Weiss. These pieces provided background for recitations by the British High Commissioner, Her Excellency Mrs Menna Frances Rawlings, and by Mr David Dewar, First Secretary of the New Zealand High Commission.

‘In my opinion, Canberra is the prettiest city in Australia; sensibly planned, stunning ornamental trees in abundance!’



The NCA’s library collection provides a comprehensive history of the planning and development of the National Capital. The library has a strong core of architecture and planning, landscape architecture and environmental planning material as well as capital city planning, development and maintenance material.

Visits to the library are by appointment. Admission is free.

Key Achievements

Over the course of six months, 12,500 negatives and transparencies were digitised.

In 2014–15 visitors of the Library were interested in material relating to:

  • major weather events in Canberra such as snow, floods, storms and drought
  • National Capital Development Commission and Planning Committee Meetings held between 1970 and 1983
  • Yarralumla Policy Plan and information relating to the Yarralumla Brickworks Development site
  • plans or drawings of the National Carillon
  • images of the Vietnam War Memorial on Anzac Parade
  • maps of the Lake
  • Heritage Assessment Plans
  • images listing the names on the Korean War Memorial on Anzac Parade.

Touring Exhibitions

During 2014–15 the NCA continued touring two exhibitions, Brick by Brick and A Capital Collection, as a way of raising awareness of the National Capital in metropolitan and regional areas of Australia. Touring exhibitions have again proven to be popular and have been successful at reaching Australians who may not have the opportunity to visit the National Capital. The touring exhibitions include specially written education programs and information support for the participating venues.

National Capital ExhibitionNational Capital ExhibitionBrick by BrickBrick by Bric class=National CarillonNational Carillon

A Capital Collection

A Capital Collection was developed to provide an innovative way to introduce Australians to the history of the National Capital through four landmark events during the 20th century:

  1. Commencement Ceremony in 1913, when the name of the National Capital was announced
  2. Opening of the first Australian Parliament House in 1927
  3. Inauguration of the Lake in 1964
  4. Opening of the current Australian Parliament House in 1988.

Visitors are given a sense of each occasion through displays on the fashions of each time, supporting documentation and memorabilia. Where possible, original garments on loan from local sources were used, but where that was not possible replicas were made.

The exhibition travelled to Williamstown Library in Melbourne, The Main Corner in Mount Gambier and the State Library of South Australia in Adelaide during the second half of 2014, attracting a total of 7,790 visitors, including many local school groups.

Brick by Brick

Following the success of Brick by Brick at the Exhibition, a duplicate version was created as a travelling exhibition and has toured southern Australia and northern New South Wales since January 2014. This education activity allows visitors to create their own National Capital, or replicate some of Australia’s national institutions and buildings located in Canberra using LEGOTM. It was designed to excite and inform school age children about the buildings in the National Capital through interactive play. The activity is also directed at older Australians through the material that accompanies the exhibition.

Since July 2014 Brick by Brick has been installed at the Australian Academy of Design, Port Melbourne, and the Bendigo Library in Victoria, and in the Port Macquarie, Tamworth and Lismore libraries in New South Wales.

‘The good will and training provided by the National Capital Authority was invaluable in providing inspiration and confidence for the running of the session and management of the program … As part of this education program, children and their families are asked to think about their future and their capital’s future, to explore what they would want to see in the Canberra of tomorrow. They can then let their ideas take shape and with over 30,000 LEGOTM bricks to play with, the possibilities are endless.’


Key Achievements

In 2014–15, 13,870 people visited an NCA touring exhibition:

  • 1,900 at A Capital Collection: the Hudson’s Bay Library, Melbourne
  • 853 at A Capital Collection: The Main Corner, Mount Gambier
  • 5,038 at A Capital Collection: the State Library of South Australia
  • 625 at Brick by Brick: Australian the Academy of Design, Port Melbourne
  • 2,267 at Brick by Brick: the Bendigo Library, Bendigo Victoria
  • 1,692 at Brick by Brick: the Port Macquarie Library, Port Macquarie, New South Wales
  • 821 at Brick by Brick: the Tamworth Library, Tamworth, New South Wales
  • 675 at Brick by Brick: the Lismore Library, Lismore, New South Wales. (NB: this exhibition opened on 11 June 2015 and will continue at this site until September).

‘The response was overwhelmingly positive, with many parents getting involved.’


‘The public was interested, engaged and treated the resources with respect. It was something different, which greatly added to the library visit experience. A lovely example of community engagement was an eightyear- old boy who was super-keen to visit the library regularly. On each visit he added to a massive and intricate black tower, which we kept on display. His design was remarkable, totalling about six hours’ work, which he derived a great sense of achievement, bringing in his while family to have a look.’


Of the school groups surveyed at the Port Macquarie Library, 92 per cent reported having learnt something new about the National Capital.

Education Programs

Onsite education programs are offered to school groups visiting NCA visitor attractions. These programs have included Imagining the Capital, Brick by Brick and Meet the Capital at the Exhibition, and Step Back in Time, Mechanical Toys and In Their Footsteps at Blundells Cottage. Since the renovation and renewal project at the Cottage, one new program, A Home for the Workers, has been developed.

A Home for the Workers

Through their participation in A Home for the Workers students discover the stories of the real people who lived in this 150-year-old stone cottage. Students explore the Cottage and its surrounds, comparing the landscape today and in the past to see how Canberra has changed over time. By actively engaging with hands-on objects, students gain an insight into how different families have lived in the Cottage over time, and how this compares with their own lives today. Through the program, they begin to develop an awareness of the historic significance of the Cottage as a reminder of the past before Canberra existed as a city, and throughout its development as our National Capital. Since May 2015, 348 students and teachers have participated in this new program.

The education resource kit for the Cottage has also been updated to reflect the changes to displays. Other education material that has been available on the NCA website is currently under review.

Key Achievements

Of the 145,439 people who visited the Exhibition, 55,631 participated in an education program.

  • 1,005 students and adults visited the Cottage as part of a school education program
  • 19,239 took part in the educational Brick by Brick activity at the Exhibition
  • 1,737 people took part in a Brick by Brick touring exhibition.

‘After many years of bringing students to Canberra, this was by far the most interactive and engaging visit.’


My Tours

The NCA uses this mobile application platform for self-guided education programs and tours of Anzac Parade. The app is available for free via iTunes and Google Play. It includes detailed information on each memorial, images and audio provided by the returned servicemen who were the original volunteer guides on Anzac Parade.

A total of 259 people downloaded the application this year, a substantial increase from the total of 32 downloads in the previous year.

The Canberra Guide

The Canberra Guide mobile application has now been in market since December 2012. The app is available for tourists to plan their visit to the National Capital. It is a joint initiative between the NCA, ACT Government and the National Capital Attractions Association. Since its initial development there have been a number of new initiatives featured within the app including advertising opportunities and the inclusion of hotels and events. With the latest changes the guide now includes attractions, events, food and drink, accommodation and public facilities.

Key Achievements

In 2014–15 The Canberra Guide achieved the following:

  • a total of 38,488 visits and 211,411 page views
  • 79 per cent of people accessing the guide were from interstate, of which 73 per cent were from New South Wales
  • of the 16,964 people who downloaded the guide on their device, 67 per cent accessed it via iTunes and 33 per cent from Google Play

In January 2015 iTunes featured The Canberra Guide as a suggested download for exploring Canberra.

Figure 9: The Canberra Guide Statistics The Canberra Guide Statistics

Self-Guided Tours

The NCA has four walking and two driving tour brochures available for visitors to explore the landmarks, special places and memorials in Canberra. These include self-guided walks of the Lake, Magna Carta Place, Anzac Parade and the Old Parliament House Gardens. Driving tours of the Yarralumla Diplomatic Estate and the military service memorials in the National Capital are also available.

Guided Walks

Regular monthly volunteer-led walking tours of Anzac Parade and Reconciliation Place are now available. Stepping Stones to Democracy will be offered throughout 2015, except in July and August. During daylight savings time, regular monthly tours of Old Parliament House Gardens and the Central Basin of Lake Burley Griffin will also be offered.

Stepping Stones to Democracy

To coincide with the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta at Runnymede, England, in 1215, a walking tour was developed in conjunction with the National Archives of Australia (NAA) and the Australian Parliament House. The tour includes an interpretation of Magna Carta Place and a brief history of Old Parliament House Gardens, the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage Commemorative Fountain and Constitution Place.

Participants then view the documents known as the Charters of Our Nation at NAA. These are not usually accessible, and space is limited so a maximum number of 20 persons per tour had to be set. Participants then walk up Federation Mall to the Commencement Stone and the forecourt of Parliament House. Inside Parliament House, the NCA volunteer guide takes participants to the copy of Magna Carta on display as well as to other significant documents. This walk is planned for 2015 only, but a request has already been made by a member of the public to make this a permanent tour.

‘Canberra is my home, my heart and my soul. Born and raised in this town of ours, I’ll never leave for too long … it’s good to be home!’


The NCA again took part in the Canberra and Region Heritage Festival offering 23 activities in the calendar:

  • National Carillon (eight tours)
  • Anzac Parade (three tours)
  • Stepping Stones to Democracy (two tours)
  • Reconciliation Place (two tours)
  • a special behind-the-scenes tour of the renovations to the Cottage (eight tours).

As always, autumn weather during the festival was changeable, but a total of 210 visitors took part in these activities.

As part of National Volunteers Week (11–17 May 2015) activities, NCA Volunteer Guides presented tours of the Cottage, Anzac Parade, the National Carillon and Stepping Stones to Democracy to 51 volunteers from other institutions in Canberra.

Two guided tours of the inspiring work of art that make up Reconciliation Place were held during Reconciliation Week and the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) celebrations.

Meet the Capital, a daily tour of the Exhibition, is offered every day at 11 am, but statistics of participants are not counted separately from those covering general visitors to the Exhibition.

Key Achievements

In 2014–15 at least 880 people participated in a guided tour of the central parts of Canberra, 210 of them on a walk offered as part of the 2015 National Heritage Festival:

  • More than 670 people joined a guided tour of the memorials on Anzac Parade.
  • More than 152 people attended a guided walk of Reconciliation Place.
  • A group of 33 people took the Stepping Stones to Democracy walking tour.

Social Media

The NCA actively participates on the social media platform, Twitter. The NCA’s Twitter account continues to engage with a growing local audience. Additional social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, are used regularly to promote Brick by Brick. Participants in the Brick by Brick program are encouraged to post photographs of their creations on Facebook (, Twitter (@NCA_media) or Instagram (#brickbybrick #buildyourowncapital).

Key Achievements

At the end of 2014–15 the NCA had 2,276 Twitter followers and 408 likes on the Brick by Brick Facebook page.


In 2000 the NCA established a volunteer program to complement its role of informing and educating Australians and visitors about Canberra as the National Capital. The volunteers come from the local community and contribute their experience and knowledge in a variety of ways.

Volunteers are provided with a range of training opportunities to assist them to successfully undertake their role as ambassadors for Canberra. Volunteers also have the opportunity to participate in professional development and group activities. These activities allow volunteers to expand their knowledge about the nation’s capital in an informal and enjoyable manner.

The NCA’s volunteer program is now divided into three separate teams: Horticulture Volunteers, Volunteer Guides and Research Volunteers. One Guide and one Horticultural Volunteer have also taken on a weekly shift documenting items held in Blundells Cottage.

‘An impressive city and a lovely inclusion of nature.’


Old Parliament Rose GardenOld Parliament Rose Garden
Horticulture Volunteers

In 2005 a Horticultural Volunteer program commenced to provide ongoing care of the Old Parliament House Gardens in conjunction with maintenance contractors.

These volunteers undertake defined gardening activities in the Gardens. Five teams of volunteers assist in looking after Broinowski and Rex Hazlewood Rose Gardens in the Senate Garden and Macarthur and Ladies Rose Gardens in the House of Representatives.

Key Achievements

At the end of 2014–15 there were 63 active Horticulture Volunteers involved in the program. Volunteers contributed more than 2,776 hours of work to the maintenance of the Old Parliament House Gardens, comprising the Senate Garden and the House of Representatives Garden, this financial year. The Horticulture Volunteers worked on projects such as lavender planting and the seasonal pruning of the roses, and also assisted with a rose audit.

The volunteers have received specialist training on correct pruning and health management of the roses, including identifying the different requirements for each rose breed. The volunteers have also begun training in budding and grafting.

‘A place where you are fascinated by our achievements, can reflect proudly on our heritage, and be inspired with HOPE for our future.’


Volunteer Guides

In August 2000 an interpretive volunteer program was established, now known as the Volunteer Guide Program. These volunteers share their time, skills and knowledge with visitors to the Exhibition and the Cottage. They also conduct guided walking tours of Anzac Parade, the Old Parliament House Gardens, the Parliamentary Zone (Stepping Stones to Democracy), Reconciliation Place, the central basin of the Lake and tours of the National Carillon on special occasions.

Key Achievements

At the end of 2014–15 there were 21 Volunteer Guides actively involved in the program.

The guides contributed over 1,124 hours in the financial year. These included taking tours and school programs at the Exhibition and the Cottage and guided tours as set out above.

The guides participated in the Volunteers Week events and activities run by the Volunteers Coordinator Committee. Events included the NCA volunteers taking guides from other national institutions on tours of the National Estate. It also gave the NCA volunteers the opportunity to see how volunteer programs are run at larger institutions.

Research Volunteers

Research Volunteers share their time, skills and knowledge on specific research tasks. In 2014–15 this included documenting all written works held in the NCA Library collection, extensive research related to the Blundells Cottage Project and hand-sewing replica costumes for the same project.

Key Achievements

During 2014–15 the Research Volunteers have achieved the following:

  • Four Research Volunteers have contributed over 534 hours in the NCA Library.
  • Six Research Volunteers have contributed five months working on the Blundells Cottage Sewing Project.
  • Two Research Volunteers have contributed 344 hours documenting the Cottage collection.

Commitment to Community Engagement

The NCA is committed to improving engagement with the community and the accountability and transparency of its decision-making.

The NCA’s Commitment to Community Engagement protocol was recently revised and uploaded to the NCA’s website for community consultation. The engagement strategy addresses:

  • the ability to nominate stakeholders to consult, depending on the nature of the proposal
  • the ability to assess works approval applications using a risk-based approach, to determine when and how public consultation is undertaken
  • consistency across the Territory in terms of consultation requirements on planning matters.

The NCA has embraced new communications technology including the use of social media to reach the NCA’s stakeholders and interested parties when undertaking public consultation. These online tools allow all Australians, regardless of where they reside, to have their say on topics released for public consultation.

The community is invited to comment via:

Early 2015 saw the public consultation website, Have Your Say, integrated into the NCA’s website. Having the one integrated website has allowed users to access one platform for all NCA-related communications. The NCA’s website hosts various discussions about the way Canberra is developed and managed as the National Capital. Online comments are published instantaneously and post-moderated to ensure a natural flow of conversation and ensure the NCA is responsive to public participation.

‘People give Canberra a bad rap. But the longer you stay, the more you discover the magic and the proud history.’


Key Achievements

Prior to the integration in January 2015 of the public consultation website and the NCA’s website, there were 1,300 registered users of the NCA’s public consultation website. Since the amalgamation, the users have remained active. However, no ongoing registration is required.

In 2014–15 the following topics were released for public consultation:

  • National Capital Plan Exposure Draft
  • Draft Development Control Plan 15/04 – Amtech Estate
  • Removal of part of Bowen Place (east of Kings Avenue)
  • Draft Development Control Plan 15/03 – Block 15 Section 25 Griffith Canberra Avenue
  • Draft Development Control Plan 15/02 Blocks 2-4 section 27 Forrest, Canberra Avenue
  • Draft Amendment 85 – West Belconnen Urban Development
  • Acton Complex Draft Heritage Management Plan
  • Commencement Column Monument Draft Heritage Management Plan.

Works Approval applications relating to:

  • Block 28 Section 19 Campbell – Mixed Use Redevelopment (residential and commercial) on former RSL Headquarters site
  • Block 16 Section 6 Forrest (3 Melbourne Avenue) – Construction of six townhouses
  • Block 12 Section 3 Deakin (6 Canterbury Crescent) – Demolition of an existing dwelling and construction of a new 2 storey detached dwelling
  • Extension to National Jewish Memorial Centre (31 National Circuit) and associated landscaping
  • Block 6 Section 3 Parkes – Estate Development and Infrastructure Works
  • Cotter Road Stage 2 duplication – Tuggeranong Parkway to McCulloch Street
  • Block 1 Section 130 Campbell – Mixed use development (residential and commercial)
  • Block 8 Section 5 Campbell – Construction of a multi unit residential development
  • Block 13 Section 9 Barton – Stage 3 construction of a multi storey residential development.

Figure 10: NCA Public forum attendance NCA Public forum attendance

Public Forum

The annual Public Forum provides an opportunity for the public to meet members of the Authority and senior executives and ask questions regarding the areas of special national importance in Canberra. Authority members and senior staff listened and responded to views and ideas raised by attendees.

Key Achievements

On 30 April 2015 the NCA held its seventh Public Forum at the Canberra Business Event Centre, located in Commonwealth Park. The forum was also available via a live web stream.

The key themes nominated by the community for discussion at the 2015 Public Forum included:

  • the Plan release
  • administration of the Lake
  • plans for Dunrossil Drive and the future route to Government House as part of the LDA’s Yarralumla Brickworks Development
  • management of the National Capital Estate
  • development of West Basin
  • light rail in Canberra.

The agenda allowed significant time for questions from the floor on any aspect of the NCA’s role or performance.

Thirty-five people attended the public forum and a further nine watched via the live webstream.

International Relationships

The NCA continues to maintain its relationship with the Capitals Alliance, an international alliance of government planning bodies from national capital cities, including Washington DC and Ottawa.

Canberra is Australia’s gateway for interaction with the international community and the appropriate place for significant international events and gatherings. Foreign missions are encouraged to hold flag-raising ceremonies to celebrate their national day or date of significance at the International Flag Display at Commonwealth Place.

Key Achievements

Several teleconferences were conducted throughout the year between the Capital Alliance members to discuss topics of mutual interest to their agencies. On 29 April 2015 a presentation and video conference was conducted between the NCA and the planning bodies in Washington DC and Ottawa that discussed the topic of Community Outreach. While each body pursues different strategies, they all contributed topical and relevant information that could be implemented in other agencies.

Annual Public Forum 2015Annual Public Forum 2015Consultation SessionConsultation SessionInternational Flag DisplayInternational Flag Display

Online Event Registration

The NCA’s online registration system enables event organisers to manage their own registrations for use of venues on National Land. The system allows the public to check venue details and availability and register for weddings and other private events. These bookings are managed online through the NCA’s website.

More than 800 public and private events were held on the National Capital Estate between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015.

Key Achievements

A review and risk assessment was conducted of all the NCA event venue spaces. Recommendations from the final report are being implemented, and training for the National Capital Estate team has been undertaken. The NCA Safe Event Guide is due to be completed by September 2015, and the Event Policy has been updated to reflect the changes in the permitted land use at the various venues.

The NCA is currently working with the ACT Government and EventsACT team on the future of the Floriade site at Commonwealth Park. The current agreement ends 16 February 2016.

The NCA is committed to maintaining an effective working relationship with major event organisers and stakeholders and is represented at the monthly ACT Government Event Coordination Planning Group meetings chaired by Access Canberra.

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