Project status: Open

Our city is growing. With more people living and working in Canberra than ever before, we need a planning system that can facilitate this growth without compromising the characteristics of the city we value. We are reforming our planning system to deliver better outcomes for communities, the environment and people across Canberra.

We are changing the planning system by developing a new Planning Act and Territory Plan and introducing a new level of planning called district strategies.

Canberrans have already had their say on the draft Planning Bill. You can view the Consultation Report here. You can see a comparison between the Planning and Development Act 2007 and the Planning Bill 2022, including changes made following community consultation, in the Key Changes document.

The Planning Bill 2022 was introduced to the Legislative Assembly on 21 September 2022. When it is passed by the Legislative Assembly, it will become the Planning Act. We anticipate the new Planning Act will commence in 2023. See more information on the Planning Bill on the Planning Bill information page.

Engagement is now focussing on the draft district strategies and the new Territory Plan. An overview of how the provisions set out in the Planning Bill 2022 relate to the new Territory Plan is provided in the fact sheet in the Document Library.

Watch the video below to find out more about the new planning system and how district strategies and the new Territory Plan will help shape the future of our city.

Overview of the new planning system

District strategies and the new Territory Plan

District strategies are a new level of strategic planning document that we are introducing to the planning system. District strategies will capture and protect the valued character and attributes of each of Canberra's nine main districts. They will focus the planning priorities from the ACT-wide Planning Strategy into more specific and targeted directions for each district. In short, they will guide the strategic management of growth and change on a district scale in the context of green and blue spaces, good travel connections, housing, employment growth and the revitalisation of our shopping centres.

The new Territory Plan will deliver an ‘outcomes-focussed’ planning system. An outcomes focus means the new Territory Plan is centred on quality, results and performance rather than just compliance with prescribed technical rules. It places greater importance on how developments perform in their setting to achieve wellbeing, social, environmental, cultural and other priority outcomes. An easier-to-use and outcomes-focussed Territory Plan will provide greater flexibility in the way developments can be designed and allow greater emphasis on improving design quality and built outcomes for all Canberrans.

What does this mean for you?

Planning plays an important role in the way we live. It guides how and where we live, travel, shop and play in our lovely natural environment.

Planning is built on evidence, research and community feedback. It helps us plan how to meet the needs of the community now and into the future. The new system has been set up to improve outcomes for the community by introducing district level planning in addition to the territory wide and place specific planning that we already do.

District strategies will clearly set out the future vision and priorities for planning in your district. The new Territory Plan will be easier to use, and support better development outcomes for all Canberran's to enjoy.

At the moment, our planning system and development is dictated by strict rules. Under the new outcomes-focussed planning system, it will focus on quality, results and performance. It will be easier and more enjoyable for you to interact with the planning system, whether it is when you build a new home, comment on planning activities in your area or enjoy going about your daily living.

How to get involved

When they are available, we would love all Canberrans to provide feedback on the draft district strategies and the new Territory Plan. Understanding your needs and priorities for future planning in the ACT will help us to create planning policies that are founded in community values but also able to shift to the changing needs of our future of our city.

Over the coming months, you will be able to find out more about planning in the ACT and tell us what you think. You will be able to do this in different ways and at different places. Your feedback will help to inform better outcomes for you and the Canberra community.