NCA approve first light rail application

Media Release

28 April 2016

TODAY, the National Capital Authority (NCA) announced the approval of the Capital Metro Agency’s (CMA) first Works Approval (WA) application for the proposed construction of Stage 1 light rail along the Northbourne Avenue and Federal Highway corridor.  

NCA Chief Executive, Malcolm Snow, stated that the agency had undertaken a comprehensive assessment of the planning merits of the application and determined the proposed works were not inconsistent with the relevant principles and policies of the National Capital Plan (the Plan). 

“At a strategic level, the Plan’s General Policy Plan provides for an inter-town public transport system along the proposed corridor. The Plan also establishes a standard for the quality of development within Main Avenues and Approach Routes and it is the NCA’s responsibility to ensure the highest standards of planning and development are adhered to. We must be satisfied that the urban design and landscape quality of the corridor is appropriate for Canberra’s main approach, consistent with its national significance,” said Mr Snow.

The approved application includes the removal of existing median infrastructure, installation of rail tracks, tree removal and landscaping, as well as a temporary site compound adjacent to the Magistrates Court in the city. Due to the complex scope of the proposed works, CMA is required to apply for further approvals for all associated light rail works through a series of WA applications. 

“Future applications will need to satisfactorily address the remaining details, including but not limited to overhead wires, the architectural detail of the station stops and furnishings, mid-block crossings within the Northbourne Avenue median, as well as in-ground services. These applications will also be assessed against the Plan,” said Mr Snow.

The NCA applied conditions to the WA approval, requiring that prior to the commencement of any works, the applicant would have to submit management plans detailing the measures to manage the likely impact of construction works, including noise, sediment, erosion control and traffic.

Mr Snow stated that the decision followed the NCA’s independent public consultation process, undertaken during February and March 2016, which attracted 16 formal submissions from the community and other stakeholder groups. 

“As a key public infrastructure project on one of Canberra’s most important main approaches, we wanted to ensure the public had an opportunity to engage with us on this major development. Community engagement, particularly at the formative stages of this application process, was critical in obtaining meaningful feedback. All submissions were considered as part of our decision making process,” said Mr Snow.

The Consultation Report is available on the NCA’s website at