Post a comment on the public forum about one or more of the key policy changes proposed in the draft Planning Bill.
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 that we value.
Through the ACT Planning System Review and Reform Project (the Project) we are reviewing and reforming our planning system in a holistic way to deliver better outcomes for communities, the environment and people across Canberra.
We are proposing changes to our planning system through a new Planning Act, introducing District Strategies, and a new Territory Plan. Watch the video below to find out more about the new planning system.
Over the past 18 months, we've been developing a new draft Planning Bill and regulations. The draft Planning Bill is a proposal for a new law that will be presented to the Legislative Assembly for consideration.
We are now consulting on the draft Planning Bill so we can incorporate community feedback before finalising it for presentation to the Assembly. If the Bill is passed, the new Planning Act will set the foundation of our reformed planning system. It will replace the current Planning and Development Act.
The Bill is a complex piece of proposed legislation. We have summarised the key policy areas in the Planning Bill Policy Overview Paper. We have also created Planning Bill Fact Sheets for each key policy area in the Bill to help explain the legislation and how it fits in the planning system. All consultation documents can be found in the Document Library in the sidebar of this page.
We're asking everyone to have their say on the draft Planning Bill and some of the key policy directions it proposes. Consultation opened on Wednesday 16 March 2022 and will close on Wednesday 15 June 2022. You can provide feedback through the three options below in as little or as much detail as you like.
Post a comment on the public forum about one or more of the key policy changes proposed in the draft Planning Bill.
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Provide more detailed input on the proposed policy changes in the draft Planning Bill through the online form.
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If you would like to provide a detailed submission on the draft Planning Bill, you can upload a document here.
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A final online drop-in information session will be held on Friday 3 June 2022 from 12:00pm - 1:30pm. The session will allow participants to ask open questions and interact directly with the EPSDD team members who helped draft the Planning Bill. The main objective for the session is to assist stakeholders in providing meaningful and informed feedback on the Planning Bill through the three mechanisms provided above. Register for the session by clicking the button below.
Throughout the engagement period for the Planning Bill we have been hosting multiple online information sessions on the key elements of the Planning Bill. The main purpose of these information sessions is to provide a forum for the discussion and sharing of information so that the community and key stakeholders can make informed and engaged comments on the draft Planning Bill through this YourSay page. A number of resources from these sessions are available via the link below.
Following engagement on the draft Planning Bill, we will review all feedback and change the proposed legislation as needed. The draft Planning Bill will then be presented to the ACT Legislative Assembly.
We will produce an engagement report in late 2022 that will detail how community feedback has been used in the final Planning Bill.
If passed, the Planning Bill will become the Planning Act and will replace the Planning and Development Act 2007. We anticipate the new Planning Act will commence in early 2023.
Since 2019 we have been reviewing the ACT planning system and benchmarking its key elements against other successful national and international planning systems. We want a modern planning system that is accessible, easy to navigate, and encourages participation in planning.
Work to date has involved consultation with the community and technical work to explore options for an improved planning system in the ACT. Outcomes of the initial consultation and review are outlined in a series of policy direction papers that continue to guide our ongoing work on the ACT Planning System Review and Reform Project.
Throughout 2020 and 2021 we engaged with the community and key stakeholders to help inform the development of District Strategies for each of our eight urban districts in the ACT. The new District Strategies will provide additional planning guidance on a district scale in our revised planning system. The District Planning Engagement Report provides a detailed overview of what we heard through engagement in 2021.
In 2021, we also established the Stakeholder Working Series and Legislation Working Group with community and industry representatives. These groups provided a great opportunity to share information and knowledge, discuss policy issues and receive feedback on potential approaches for the draft Planning Bill to allow us to design the best planning system for the future of the ACT and Canberrans.
Further information of the work completed to date can be found in the Project Update Paper released in late 2021.
The Planning Bill is a proposal for a new law that will be presented to the Legislative Assembly for consideration. We are consulting on a draft of the Planning Bill in March-June 2022, before finalising the Bill and presenting it to the Assembly.
The new Planning Bill sets the foundation of our reformed planning system and will be a key tool in delivering a simpler and easier to use system. It provides the opportunity to build an improved system that is outcomes-focussed and promotes good planning, design and development across Canberra, while supporting the wellbeing of our residents and protecting our natural environment.
The current legislation (the Planning and Development Act 2007) has grown complex and cumbersome as changes have been added in a piecemeal way over time. We are proposing a new Planning Bill to establish a reformed planning system that can deliver good planning, design and development outcomes across the ACT.
The Bill proposes key changes to the existing Act, while retaining the features that have worked well under the current system and will remain fit for purpose in the reformed system. The Bill will:
The current legislation has grown complex and cumbersome. By drafting a new Act from the ground up, we can refresh and modernise the planning system to make it simpler, easier to use and more focussed on achieving outcomes for the people of the ACT.
A new Planning Act will set the foundation of a reformed planning system that can facilitate growth without compromising the characteristics of the city that we value.
Through the draft Planning Bill, we will create a planning system that delivers for the people of the ACT—a system that understands the needs of our residents, plans for those needs, and then makes sure those needs are met.
The Planning Bill sets out how we will plan for the future to meet your needs—where people will live, how they will move around, how the natural environment will be protected and how our city will be resilient to the impacts of climate change.
It sets up the planning framework and processes that will be needed, from planning new suburbs to managing change in established areas to considering new buildings. For example, this framework allows us to consider important matters like:
At the moment, our planning system and development is dictated by strict rules. Under the new outcomes-focussed planning system, we will look to quality, results and performance.
Most people don’t directly interact with the planning system very often, but this new legislation makes it easier for you to do so. Easier for you to influence planning and the outcomes of planning—what the built environment looks like and how it interacts with the natural environment.
What does this mean for the area you live in?
What does this mean for your house and block of land?
What does this mean for community facilities in your area?
How might you interact with processes set out in the Planning Bill?
The Bill contains fundamental changes to the structure and function of the system, while keeping some existing processes and features that remain effective and fit-for-purpose.
The main changes proposed in the new Planning Act will:
Outcomes focus means the new planning system will outline the desired results of planning rather than prescribe how things need to be done, allowing freedom in how the result is achieved. It means going beyond looking at buildings and parks in isolation to incorporate wellbeing, health, recreation, employment, housing and environmental factors into the DNA of the planning system.
It will mean greater flexibility in the way developments can be designed, allowing greater emphasis on improving design quality and built outcomes so that developments can perform well within their local context.
Developments that perform well and integrate effectively into their site context. A good outcome considers built form, public spaces, interactions with surrounding blocks and more. It considers community needs now and into the future.
In the reformed system, the Territory Planning Authority will be more descriptive of what good planning outcomes are and, more specifically, what the desired outcomes are for an area.
The draft Bill marks the start of the next stage in the ACT Government’s Planning System Review and Reform Project, shifting from ‘review’ to ‘reform’ phases of work.
After the Planning Bill sets the legislative framework, we will develop district strategies, a new Territory Plan (to guide planning and development), design guidance and other support documents.
The government has been listening to community, business and industry over many years in many different forums. Active consultation on the reform process began in 2019 and included consultation on what people want for their districts.
Government has consulted closely with key community and industry stakeholders to prepare the draft Bill.
No, we won't be doing away with all the rules we already have to control development. Throughout the project we have maintained that the planning system must protect the characteristics of our city that we value.
For example, this means keeping the low-density nature of RZ1 areas (including development controls such as building heights and zoning), protecting areas of environmental value, and social and community facilities.
The Territory Plan contains the planning requirements that govern development across the Territory. The content of these requirements will be part of further conversations in developing the new Territory Plan.
The Bill removes the Minister call-in powers for development applications which are in the current Act. Instead, the Bill includes powers for the Minister to declare a project to be a Territory Priority Project.
District strategies are a new district-level strategic planning document proposed for our new planning system.
Through district strategies, our planning system will provide greater planning policy direction at a district scale. This will allow for managing growth and change strategically within and between districts, and protecting areas that we value. Planning at the district level provides the opportunity to identify and recognise the distinctive values of each district to be reflected in the planning system.
Several engagement activities have been held to seek community views on a range of matters relating to districts and what elements of each area are valued by residents. We are considering the outcomes from all of this engagement as an input to the work on district strategies.
Work is currently underway to develop draft district strategies. This is a priority of the reform program for 2022 and there will be further opportunities for community involvement in late 2022 and early 2023. More details on this engagement will be shared in due course.
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.
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