Our open spaces

The ACT Government is responsible for managing and maintaining over 6,800 hectares of Canberra’s public urban open spaces and associated assets. These include:

Vision and purpose


The draft Urban Open Space Land Management Plan vision is:

Sustainable urban open spaces that: enrich the lives of our community; improve the amenity of the Territory’s urban environment; and protect and enhance their cultural, social, and environmental values.


The Plan's vision is underpinned by the following 12 key principles:

  • Community-centric
  • Safe
  • Accessible, inclusive and equitable
  • Quality and value for money
  • Open and transparent
  • Sustainable
  • Collaborative and responsive
  • Continuous improvement
  • Shared stewardship
  • Compliant
  • Valued
  • Accountability

The vision and principles will guide the ongoing management of the ACT Government’s public urban open space network.

Focus areas

The draft Urban Open Space Land Management Plan recognises that we all have a role to play in managing and maintaining ACT’s urban open spaces.

It provides information about how the ACT Government manages urban open space on the community’s behalf; the land types and their values; the range of facilities available in each land type; the range of activities anticipated for each land type; and the role each of us can play in shaping our public open space.

The draft plan builds on the previous plans with an increased focus on:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and culture
  • community participation and engagement
  • environmental, cultural, social and economic sustainability
  • addressing the impacts of urban development and climate change.

Coordinated approach

The draft Urban Open Space Land Management Plan was developed to be consistent with other legislative and strategic policies and plans that influence land management practices including:

Case study – grass clippings

One example of this coordinated approach is improving how we manage grass clippings. The draft Urban Open Space Land Management Plan recognises that grass clippings need to be managed appropriately.

The draft plan builds on measures outlined in Canberra’s Lakes and Ponds Land Management Plan to address this issue by committing to ensuring that grass clippings are appropriately managed to prevent them from entering our waterways and contributing to poor water quality. Additional measures outlined in the draft plan include:

  • Exploring options for improved coordination between our mowing program and the street sweeping program, noting that this can be challenging as wet weather conditions and growth rates can impact the delivery of the mowing program
  • More frequent use of blowers to blow grass clippings back onto grassed areas. Staff safety is a primary consideration when undertaking this activity, as it requires staff to work from the roadside
  • Staff training to ensure that proper procedures are followed.

It also proposes undertaking a review of current mowing practices to ensure the protection of conservation areas and volunteers planting activity areas while also addressing public and staff safety, infrastructure, culturally significant sites, environmental outcomes and amenities.

Image of mowing long grasses

Case study – land management

Another example of the coordinated approach to land management within the plan is the ACT Government initiative ‘Connecting Nature Connecting People’ project. The project involves key land managers across ACT Government working with the community to deliver on a range of key government commitments across biodiversity, climate adaptation and wellbeing by identifying and restoring sites across ACT’s urban area.

All site restoration will include co-design and incorporation of Ngunnawal and any other people or families with connection to the lands of the ACT and region knowledge, community infrastructure and engagement and engagement. Community volunteer groups will play a critical role in identifying sites, providing important data on species and threats and, in some locations, offering ongoing community stewardship and management of sites.

View of Canberra from Mount Taylor