Public consultation has now closed

The National Capital Authority (NCA) has released for public comment a Discussion Paper concerning possible seaplane operations on Lake Burley Griffin.

Community consultation will provide valuable feedback to ensure that the potential impacts of the activity on the lake and other lake users, as well as the benefits that the seaplane activity may bring, are fully understood. The National Capital belongs to all Australians, and the NCA seeks to understand and reflect a broader, national perspective about activities in Canberra.


Lake Burley Griffin is an integral part of Canberra’s design and a vital element of the plan for Australia’s National Capital. The lake is highly valued by many for its recreational uses and aesthetic qualities, for its landmark value, and for its association with the creation of the National Capital and subsequent phases of national development.

The NCA is responsible for the management of Lake Burley Griffin. The agency promotes use of the lake, cleans and repairs lake infrastructure to ensure safe use and function, stocks the lake with fish, monitors and manages aquatic plant growth, administers the use of power boats, and works with the ACT Government and other stakeholders to protect water quality. The NCA is also responsible for ensuring that the heritage values of Lake Burley Griffin and surrounds are upheld.

The NCA permits a number of commercial operators on the lake, including boat cruises, self-skippered electric boats, and paddleboats. Proposals for new commercial opportunities on Lake Burley Griffin are assessed by the NCA to ensure consistency with relevant policies and plans.

The NCA has been in discussions with seaplane operators regarding the potential for seaplane services on Lake Burley Griffin. Operations would involve landing, take-off and taxiing on the lake, as well as mooring to load and unload passengers. Two potential seaplane services are identified in this paper, however the issues requiring consideration are relevant to any seaplane service proposed for the lake.

The NCA requires sufficient information to allow a full assessment of the activity, its impact on other users, and so that heritage values and environmental issues can be determined. In assessing seaplane operations, key issues such as safety, lake users, infrastructure and refuelling requirements, heritage, noise, visibility, and impacts on the natural environment will be considered.

What we want you to tell us

The purpose of the discussion paper is to encourage feedback concerning possible seaplane operations on Lake Burley Griffin. The NCA is seeking to understand the community’s thoughts about the potential for seaplane operations on the lake, impacts on various lake users, issues of concern, and benefits to Canberra as the National Capital. The National Capital is a significant place for all Australians, and the NCA will consider the views of both local communities, as well as people and stakeholders from further afield.

The following questions are posed as ‘thought starters’. They are not intended to limit comments or submissions, nor are they required to be addressed in any submission. Those wishing to provide feedback to the NCA may find them useful in provoking ideas and structuring a submission.

  • What is your initial response to the idea of seaplanes operating on Lake Burley Griffin?
  • What are the top three things the NCA should consider in making a decision regarding seaplane operations on Lake Burley Griffin?
  • Has the NCA appropriately covered the range of issues requiring consideration before making a decision concerning seaplane operations on Lake Burley Griffin?
  • Could seaplane operations assist in raising awareness of Canberra as the National Capital and how could this benefit Australians?

How to have your say

Individuals, community groups, organisations and government agencies are invited to respond to the Discussion Paper.

Comments in response to the proposal can be:

  • emailed to
  • mailed to Mr Andrew Smith, Chief Planner, National Capital Authority, GPO Box 373, Canberra ACT 2601
  • hand-delivered to National Capital Authority, Ground Floor, Treasury Building, King Edward Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600.

The NCA welcomes feedback by close of business Tuesday 22 June 2021.

The NCA seeks an open and transparent consultation process. The NCA intends to publish submissions, including the names of submitters, on the NCA website. Contact details such as physical address, email or phone number will not be published.

If you have a concern about having your name published on the internet you must make this clear when submitting your comments.

If you do not wish your submission, or parts of your submission, to be published on the internet as part of the Discussion Paper consultation process, please contact the NCA to discuss before making a submission.

Further information

NCA officers are available to discuss the paper or other matters identified by stakeholders by phoning 02 6271 2888. Further information is also available by emailing