GOAL Sustain employment opportunities
City Centre

OBJECTIVE — Facilitate a vibrant, robust and culturally stimulating city centre

Griffin’s original plan for Canberra placed a traditional city centre at the apex of the Parliamentary Triangle. Planning in the 1960s set in place policies that distributed employment more broadly and encouraged employment and commercial development away from Civic as the central business district, contributing to a declining city centre. Of even greater significance to Civic more recently has been the release and development of substantial office space in Barton, Parkes, Russell and at the airport. Canberra’s central area is therefore not configured as a traditional Central Business District (CBD). Employment in the central area is dispersed, and its critical mass is diluted by distance and the physical and visual separation created by Lake Burley Griffin.

Policy response
  • Civic will form a strong and stimulating city centre for the ACT and surrounding NSW. This is consistent with, and implements, the recommendations of the OECD report on Canberra’s urban renaissance.
  • Support a stronger and more vibrant city centre to attract businesses and additional residents by encouraging residential intensification within Central Canberra, increasing the housing choice for people wishing to live close to places of work, education, community services and cultural activities.
  • Increase competitiveness of Civic as an employment/commercial centre by freeing up development controls and releasing more land for development.
  • Provide opportunities for government departments and the private sector to locate in Civic.
  • Invest in upgrading the public realm and in strategic infrastructure to support the development of Civic and make it a more attractive place.
  • Timely release of land in Civic for additional commercial floorspace and residential development so that demand does not divert to other locations.
  • Review the Territory Plan and planning controls for Civic and other centres to achieve more flexible land use controls and to remove restrictions that slow development timelines. This will help ensure that these centres can compete successfully with areas outside the planning control of the ACT Government.
  • Release land in targeted areas to support the clustering of businesses around existing and newly developing centres, such as National ICT Australia Limited (NICTA) in Civic.
  • Work collaboratively with the National Capital Authority to rationalise planning requirements and processes generally, and in Civic in particular.
  • Proceed with a Central Canberra Implementation Program, in close association with the National Capital Authority (with particular reference to the Griffin Legacy project) and other civic leaders, agreeing the approach and priorities for the next stage of development and revitalisation of Central Canberra along the following themes:
  • access;
  • the land use mix;
  • investment — private and public;
  • environmental leadership;
  • promotion and events; and
  • exemplary urban design.
  • Vibrant city centre.
  • Employment and residential growth in Civic.
  • Adequate and affordable accommodation for students close to tertiary education facilities.
Monitoring indicators
  • The increased number of new dwellings within Civic, Inner South and Inner North as a percentage of total dwellings.
  • The number of redevelopments in Civic as amount of total floor space in Civic and
  • The number of jobs in Civic as proportion of total.
  • Office vacancy rate in Civic.
  • Retail turnover in Civic as proportion of total ACT.
  • Tourist visitation to Civic as proportion of visitation to Canberra.
  • Total number of visitors to Canberra (business and tourist).
  • Proportion of affordable dwellings in Civic and Central Canberra.