1. The Central National Area

The Central National Area shown in Figure 4 is specified as a Designated Area under the Provisions of Section 10.(1) of the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988.

Development in the Central National Area will be guided by The Griffin Legacy.

The Central National Area includes the Parliamentary Zone and its setting; Lake Burley Griffin and Foreshores; the Australian National University; the Australian Defence Force Academy; Duntroon; Campbell Park and Canberra Airport/RAAF Base Fairbairn. Also included are diplomatic lands at Yarralumla, O'Malley, West Deakin and Red Hill.

1.1 The Parliamentary Zone and its Setting

The Parliamentary Zone and its setting are defined in Figure 4 as areas 5-8 and 10-12.

1.1.1 Background

The National Capital and Seat of Government is the legislative, judicial, administrative, executive, ceremonial and symbolic centre of the nation.

The role of Canberra as the National Capital warrants high environmental and aesthetic standards for development generally. It also requires that national functions are located where they may operate effectively and efficiently.

Areas that clearly exhibit the special characteristics of the National Capital primarily have the Parliamentary Zone and its setting as their focus. They embrace the main National Capital uses and national institutions, and other centrally located areas of National Land, the diplomatic areas, and nearby lands where planning, design and development are critical.

The core of those areas is the Parliamentary Zone (Figure 5) - the physical manifestation of Australian democratic government and the home of the nation's most important cultural and judicial institutions and symbols.

The area designated ensures that the essential relationships between Parliament and its setting are planned, developed and conserved in an integrated way, with the Commonwealth providing the requisite leadership of design and ensuring that construction and maintenance operations are carried out to the highest standards.

Urban design is concerned with the arrangement of buildings and spaces to achieve harmony, interest, attractiveness, vitality and legibility. Specific urban design policies are concerned with ensuring that the quality of the built environment results in a composition which is consistent in scale and image.

The subject area is the centre for all the nationally significant activities of Parliament, the Judiciary and government and is the focal point of visitor interest in the National Capital.

A Master Plan for the Parliamentary Zone (refer to Appendix T6) guides all future development in the Zone. The Statement of Principles set out in the Master Plan is as follows:

The Parliamentary Zone will be given meaning as 'the place of the people', accessible to all Australians so that they can more fully understand and appreciate the collective experience and rich diversity of this country.

To do this, the place of the people must reflect:

  • The political and cultural role of Australia's Capital;
  • Federation and Australian democracy;
  • The achievements of individual Australians in all areas of endeavour;
  • The diversity of Australia, its peoples, natural environments, cultures and heritage; and
  • The unique qualities of Australian creativity and craftsmanship.
  1. The place of the people must have:
  • A sense of scale, dignity and openness;
  • A cohesive and comprehensible layout;
  • A large forum for public ceremony and debate;
  • Intimate, enjoyable spaces for individuals and groups;
  • A dynamic program of national, state and regional events; and
  • Public facilities that are accessible and affordable.

Within the Parliamentary Zone, the Authority's statutory responsibility for the approval of works in Designated Areas does not affect section 5 of the Parliament Act 1974 which provides at subsection (1) that no building or other work is to be erected on land within the Parliamentary Zone unless:

  • if the land is within the precincts as defined by subsection 3(1) of the Parliamentary Precincts Act 1988 - the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives jointly have; or
  • in any other case - the Minister has;

caused a proposal for the erection of a building or work to be laid before each House of the Parliament and the proposal has been approved by resolution of each House.

The combined effect of the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988 , the Parliament Act 1974 and the Parliamentary Precincts Act 1988 , is that within the Parliamentary Zone (which includes the Parliamentary Precincts), Works as defined by the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988 require approval by NCPA in addition to any Parliamentary approvals necessary under the other Acts.

Within the Parliamentary Precincts (generally within Capital Circle) the Presiding Officers (the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives) have responsibility for control and management. In the exercise of this responsibility, any actions falling within the definition of Works set out in the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988 continue to require approval by NCPA.

Of particular imp