GOAL Maintain a unique sense of place
The National Capital

OBJECTIVE — Support Canberra’s role as the national capital

As the national capital, Canberra is the symbolic heart of Australia. It represents Australian society, culture and diversity, and the attitudes of the nation. The buildings and physical elements of the city are important to the character of the national capital, as is the significance of the city in the hearts and minds of all Australians. The landscape setting of the ACT has also been a central element of Canberra’s planning policy, establishing Canberra’s image as the ‘bush capital’ and as a garden city.

Policy response
  • Preserve landscape features that give the national capital its character and setting.
  • Key elements of Walter Burley Griffin’s formally adopted plan for Canberra will be respected and reinforced within the proposed urban settlement pattern.
  • Approaches and backdrops to the city and its national institutions (shown on Map 10 — Areas of National Capital Significance) will be enhanced and strengthened. The Central National Area as defined by the National Capital Plan will be enhanced and strengthened with life brought into the area by allowing housing in areas where office employment occurs.
  • Open space between urban areas will be conserved as visual separation buffers as indicated in the landscape setting.
  • Areas that are identified as the rural setting surrounding the city will be retained.
  • Key vistas will be retained within new settlement areas.
  • The ‘garden city’ principles will be retained, with urban open space within districts protected.
Actions
  • Preserve the Territory’s bush capital image by continuing to protect hills, ridges and gullies, watercourses and major water features (including the urban lakes) from urban development through the National Capital Plan and the Territory Plan. All areas indicated as landscape setting and rural setting in the Spatial Plan will be appropriately protected through amendments to the National Capital Plan and variations to the Territory Plan.
  • Working with the National Capital Authority, the Territory will limit any undesirable effects of urban growth and change on key elements of the national capital and of Walter Burley Griffin’s plan.
  • Working with the National Capital Authority, the Territory will identify any required amendments to the National Capital Plan to allow mixed land uses in the Central National Area so that residential development can occur in appropriate locations adjacent to, and within, major employment areas.
  • Create a clear sense of arrival into the Territory from the major approach routes, including the gateway through Majura Road. Clear entry statements will be established (the treatment of which will need to be determined). The city’s approach routes will be protected, including those outside the ACT borders, as far as possible from inappropriate ad hoc development by providing enough development opportunities in more appropriate locations to satisfy market demand and through agreements with NSW State and Local Governments.
Outcomes
  • Unique national capital elements protected while enabling growth and change.
  • The bush capital image preserved.
  • The ‘garden city’ principles retained.
  • Hills, ridges and gullies protected as part of the landscape setting of Canberra.
  • Entry into the national capital more clearly marked.
Monitoring indicators
  • Hectares of hills, ridges and gullies managed as open space.
  • Number of people living in the Central National Area.
  • Feedback from Canberrans and visitors about the importance of Canberra as the national capital (particularly through National Capital Authority surveys).
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