Environment and Planning Directorate
The Environment and Planning Directorate includes community engagement as an integral part of the development of policies, strategies and plans. Our community engagement follows the ACT Government’s policies and guidelines. We use a range of media to raise awareness about consultations, including: media releases; ACT Government and directorate websites, newsletters and social media; The Canberra Times and weekly magazines.
For localised consultations, such as master plans, we distribute postcards or newsletters to letterboxes in the surrounding suburbs. In recognition that people like to interact with government in different ways, apart from an online presence, we also hold ‘meet the planners’ sessions, workshops, displays and presentations at community organisations such as community councils or residents’ associations. We engage with young people through workshops at primary and secondary schools and with youth groups.
The Environment and Planning Directorate seeks community feedback in a number of ways, including online and paper feedback forms, surveys, general email, mail correspondence and/or at face-to-face events. For major engagements, we prepare formal consultation reports documenting the feedback we receive.
|Draft ACT Climate Change Adaptation Strategy – Living with a Warming Climate||
The ACT Government prepared a draft ACT Climate Change Adaptation Strategy: Living with a Warming Climate to help our city and region adapt to local climate change impacts. |
The draft Strategy was released for six weeks of public consultation from 22 February 2016 to 3 April 2016.
Participation by the community included:
Nearly 830 people participated in consultation activities as part of this community engagement process, with an estimated 400 more seeking information about the draft strategy and consultation.
|Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme||
EPD undertook extensive consultation on proposed changes to the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme. Activities included: |
|Environment and Planning Directorate / Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand Seminar Series||
This interactive seminar series showcases perspectives on common sustainability issues. |
Each seminar presents views from the ACT Government and from a private environment-based expert with the aim of supporting innovative ideas, targeted learning, professional development and networking.
Topics covered in the first three seminars were:
|ACT Waste Feasibility Study: Community Reference Group and Commercial Reference Group||
EPD sought community views as part of the ACT Waste Feasibility Study, covering topics such as potential new waste services, infrastructure and proposed regulatory changes. |
The Community Reference group is largely composed of community members and representatives of organisations such as the Conservation Council. The Commercial reference group is largely composed of waste industry representatives.
Meetings with each group were held bi-monthly between November 2015 and June 2016.
Consultation is expected to continue into 2016–17 and beyond as the Territory implements the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Bill 2016, rolls out a third bin service and releases a 10-year waste infrastructure plan.
|Pest Animals Declaration||
This was a broad public consultation in relation to proposed new and amended provisions for a Pest Animals Declaration to be made under the Pest Plants and Animals Act 2005. The purpose of the proposed provisions is to: |
A regulatory impact statement is in preparation for consideration by the Minister for Planning and Land Management.
|ACT and Region Catchment Strategy||
The draft ACT and Region Catchment Strategy was prepared under the auspices of the ACT and Region Catchment Management Coordination Group, a newly established cross-border multi-jurisdictional body established by the ACT Government to promote enhanced coordination, cooperation and collaboration in
catchment management in the ACT region. |
There were two phases of public consultation. The first phase targeted environmental, community, industry and regional development organisations, catchment groups, local councils and government bodies to ensure they were informed about the strategy development process and able to provide input according to their interests.
This was done through:
The second phase, formal consultation on the draft Catchment Strategy, was open from 10 April to 18 May 2016. The draft Strategy was accompanied by a draft prospectus detailing actions to be implemented under the draft Strategy.
Consultation used the government’s timetotalk.act.gov.au and the directorate’s Haveyoursay.planning.act.gov.au web portals to facilitate consultation and encourage feedback through written submissions or by completing an online survey.
Well-patronised stakeholder workshops, held in Jerrabomberra and the Tuggeranong Town Centre, were co-hosted by the Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Coordination Committee and the ACT Division of the Australian Water Association.
The independent Chair of the Coordination Group also held meetings with NSW Minister for Primary Industries, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for SE NSW, local NSW members of parliament and senior NSW government officials.
|ACT Water Resource Plan||
The draft ACT Water Resource Plan is intended to meet the requirements of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan as required under the Water Act 2007 (Cwlth). |
Development of the plan included two stages of consultation. The first stage involved consultation with: Icon Water and Queanbeyan City Council; Indigenous representatives; NSW Government; a risk stakeholder group including representatives from UMCCC, Uni of Canberra and ANU; water quality experts; ACT Government; and Rural Leaseholders. Consultation ensured stakeholders were informed about the ACT Water Resource Plan development process and were able to provide input during that process. This was done through:
A summary of the draft ACT Water Resource Plan was online and the draft ACT Water Resource Plan Comprehensive Report and Index and Tables, were available on request.
Community consultation sessions were held in Civic (June 2016) and Belconnen Town Centre. The Belconnen session was co-hosted by the ACT Division of the Australian Water Association.
|The ACT Regional Landcare Facilitator program||
The Program supports the development of a skilled and capable Landcare community in the ACT. Community engagement highlights included workshops, field days and training for rural landholders, such as: |
|ACT Landcare Awards||
The Landcare Awards celebrate the achievements of the diverse ACT Landcare and ParkCare community, including volunteers, farmers, those working in sustainable agriculture, Landcare and natural resource management. The awards, held 12 November 2015, were funded by Landcare Australia with support from
the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. The 2015 ACT Landcare Award Winners were: |
|ACT Biodiversity Adaptation Pathways Project||
The goal of the ACT Biodiversity Adaptation Pathways Project was to consider how long-term drivers of change (such as climate change and social values) influence appropriate adaptation responses in biodiversity conservation. |
Exploration of adaptation options focused on four broad themes in regional conservation:
The process integrated two distinct methodologies—scenario planning and adaptation pathways—to explore contrasting, plausible future scenarios for the region, and then develop flexible and appropriate responses for adapting to future change.
Participants successfully envisioned distinct regional futures, then developed appropriate adaptation responses to assist with biodiversity conservation.
Through the process, regional stakeholders co-created knowledge relating to:
|Story Maps Training Workshop||
ACT Natural Resource Management (NRM) hosted two full-day workshops (12–13 May) to expose partners in community and government to innovative new spatial planning tools and web-based communication products. |
Both days were led by Terrain NRM, the Regional NRM Organisation for the Wet Tropics in Queensland, which has a growing reputation for innovation in the NRM planning space. The first workshop was structured around two information sessions—‘Spatial Tools Show and Tell’ and a ‘Story Map Demo’ where Terrain NRM provided an overview of how their spatial planning tools are used by community project partners, and gave a tour of how Terrain NRM is using Story Maps to communicate place-based stories.
The second workshop provided hands-on training in the construction of Story Maps for both community and government partners. These workshops helped demonstrate that Story Maps will be a useful tool for helping ACT NRM and our community project partners to communicate on-ground achievements.
|Practical guidance on planning for climate adaptation||
This hands-on workshop (28 June 2015) provided timely input into multiple regional NRM planning processes in the form of practical guidance on planning for climate adaptation. It was attended by all three community-led catchment groups, who will soon be updating strategic plans, and ACT Government’s
Conservation Research unit, which is in the process of updating an aquatics strategy. |
Staff from CSIRO presented on an NRM Adaptation Planning Framework developed through the Murray Basin Cluster Project, which provided a practical approach to take participants from visions to actions using an interactive workshop that used participants’ own assets.
|Draft ACT NRM Investment Prospectus (2013–23)||
A draft ACT NRM Investment Plan (2013–23) was developed through a consultative process to provide strategic direction for NRM activity in the ACT region. The final Investment Plan will be a ‘living document’ on ACT NRM’s website that will be updated to reflect new partnerships
and opportunities. The draft Investment Plan is aligned to Australian Government and ACT policies and priorities through objectives identified for each of the three Investment Priority areas: sustainable agriculture; biodiversity adaptation; Aboriginal NRM. The Investment Plan sets out current and future
investment priorities to guide the work of ACT NRM, including how the regional body works through delivery partners to achieve outcomes. |
To date, the following consultation on the Investment Plan has occurred with the NRM community:
|Scarlet Robin Action Plan||
On 20 May 2015, the Minister for Environment declared the Scarlet Robin (Petroica boodang) to be a vulnerable species at risk of premature extinction in the ACT in the next 25–50 years due to a serious population decline. |
In December 2015, under the Nature Conservation Act 2014, the Conservator of Flora and Fauna resolved to prepare an action plan to reverse the observed decline in abundance of the species.
The five objectives of the action plan are:
Five submissions were received and analysed. The action plan is due to be finalised in the new financial year.
|General Environment Protection Policy||
Environment Protection Policies (EPP) are made under the Environment Protection Act 1997 (the Act) and explain how the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) administers and applies the Act and associated regulations. |
The General EPP is part of a series of eight EPPs that include Air Quality, Water Quality, Contaminated Sites, Noise, Motor Sports Noise, Outdoor Concerts Noise and Hazardous Materials.
The EPA released the updated draft General EPP 2015 for public consultation for 40 days, in accordance with the Act, with written submissions sought until 23 December 2015.
The media strategy included a media release, public notice in The Canberra Times, advertising on the Time to Talk website, in the Our Canberra newsletter and a whole-of-government notice. Paper copies were provided to public libraries, the Canberra Business Council, the Conservation Council ACT Region, the Environmental Defenders' Office and the Commissioner of Sustainability and the Environment.
Two submissions were received during the consultation period with changes incorporated as a result. The general EPP was finalised and approved by the Minister for the Environment and gazetted on 27 May 2016. http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/ni/2016-253/default.asp
|City and Gateway Urban Renewal Strategy||
EPD invited the Canberra community to inform the City and Gateway Urban Renewal Strategy to ensure that the City and Gateway Corridor becomes an even better place to live, work and visit. |
The City and Gateway Urban Renewal Strategy Discussion Paper was open for community consultation from 18 January until 14 March 2016. ‘Meet the Planner’ sessions occurred at the, National Multicultural Festival (12, 14 and 16 February) Dickson Group Centre (20 February), O’Connor Local Centre (26 February) and Ainslie Local Centre (27 February). A stakeholder briefing and a stakeholder workshop were held respectively on 26 April and 10 May.
Feedback was received via, ‘Meet the Planner’ sessions (6), stakeholder workshops (2), online surveys (104), and hard copy forms (3). 44 post-it notes were collected from ‘Meet the Planner’ sessions and 20 letters/emails were received to inform the community’s aspirations for the corridor.
Master Plan Program ||
Community engagement for all master plans aims to inform, consult and involve key stakeholders and the community at important stages of the planning process. |
The master plan project team engages with businesses, building owners and lessees, community groups and residents to ensure concerns and aspirations are understood for the development of each master plan, particularly at:
A range of media is used to publicise engagements, including: media releases; the ACT Government’s websites, newsletters and social media (including the Time to Talk website and Our Canberra); the Directorate’s Have Your Say website, Facebook page and Twitter feed; and The Canberra Times.
A community engagement report that details feedback and how it has been incorporated in the plan is produced for each centre for each stage of consultation.
|Potential new neighbourhood in West Greenway||
The ACT Government is investigating the possibility of developing land to the west of the Tuggeranong Town Centre to boost the economy of the centre and provide greater housing choice in the district. The area is valued for its environmental significance and its role as a hub for community recreation. |
Following a media release, consultation was conducted using the online engagement tool, haveyoursay.Planning.act.gov.au.
More than 250 people responded to the online survey and forum and about 60 submissions were made by individuals and organisations. The Government also met with 10 stakeholders in or near the proposed development.
An engagement report is available. Government is considering the next steps in the community engagement process.
|Light Rail Network||
The draft Light Rail Network is the ACT Government’s vision for a modern transport system that showcases Canberra as a prosperous, sustainable and liveable city. |
The draft Light Rail Network shows six future stages of the light rail network—a 25-year vision that highlights the opportunities and drivers for building convenient and reliable light rail across our city.
The draft was released by EPD for community consultation from October 2015 to December 2016 and publicised through the media, ACT Government and directorate websites and social media. The consultation was hosted onhaveyoursay.Planning.act.gov.au.
Almost 900 people completed the survey or made a written submission to comment on the draft Light Rail Network. A full engagement report is anticipated to be made publicly available in the next months.
A five year ACT Heritage Strategy is being developed in response to recommendations of the Heritage Review Report. The strategy will build upon and improve the ACT’s existing heritage framework, setting a clear direction for the Government to conserve and integrate heritage into Canberra’s
future growth and development, enhancing a sense of pride, and engaging new audiences in the stories and celebration of our past. |
A Discussion Paper was launched by Minister Gentleman, with consultation open from 12 February to 2016 to 29 March 2016. The discussion paper was publicised through the media, the directorate’s website and social media accounts and ACT Government newsletters. The consultation was hosted on the directorate’s haveyoursay.planning.act.gov.au community engagement website. Comments received during consultation are being considered in the preparation of the draft strategy, which will be released for public consultation in the new financial year.
During the six-week period of public consultation 22 formal submissions were received, 13 people attended one of two drop-in sessions and 11 people engaged with online forums and surveys.
|Canberra and Region Heritage Festival||
The 2016 Canberra and Region Heritage Festival focused on the theme ‘Discovery and rediscoveries’. |
During the planning stage, consultation with a range of local heritage organisations and Government stakeholders included:
The two-week festival attracted over 20,000 visitors. The Festival continues to reach new audiences with 63% of surveyed participants stating they had not previously attended a Heritage Festival event.
Following the Festival, a debrief was undertaken with event organisers to provide feedback on their experience and to discuss planning opportunities and constraints for the 2017 Festival.
ACT Heritage Council decisions to provisionally register: ||
Before being placed on the ACT Heritage Register, a place or object goes through a three step process of nomination, provisional registration and registration. These steps are determined by the Heritage Act 2004. |
Provisional registration allows for a four-week period of public consultation before a decision on full registration is made.
Within five working days of making a decision about provisional registration, the ACT Heritage Council (the Council) publishes a notice on the ACT Legislation Register. It also advertises the notice in a local daily newspaper or on an ACT Government public consultation website (www.act.gov.au/publicnotices) as soon as practicable. The Council endeavours to give a copy of the notice to each interested person (such as the owner, nominator, Representative Aboriginal Organisations etc) within ten working days of the decision.
The notice invites public comment about the provisional registration within four weeks. The Council considers any comments received when deciding whether to register the place or object.
As soon as practicable after the public consultation period, the Council reports to the Minister about whether it considers the place or object should be registered. It also advises the Minister about any issues raised in public comments and any proposed changes to the provisional registration arising from these issues. The Minister may ask the Council to further consider the issues raised in its report.
Aboriginal Heritage Assessment and Management: ||
Traditional Custodians have been the caretakers of the region now known as the ACT for tens of thousands of years, with archaeological sites in the region dating back at least 25,000 years. The Aboriginal cultural heritage of the ACT takes many forms, from the continued spiritual connection to Country
to tangible places and objects which reflect this long-term connection. |
The Heritage Act 2004 provides protection for all Aboriginal places and objects within the ACT, and also requires that Representative Aboriginal Organisations (RAOs) are consulted on a range of Aboriginal heritage assessment and management matters. Four RAOs have been declared, being:
ACT Heritage also reviews all Heritage Act 2004 applications and development application referrals to ensure proponents and heritage practitioners have consulted with RAOs on proposals that may affect Aboriginal cultural heritage. ACT Heritage is also currently developing a RAO Consultation Policy to provide clear guidance on Aboriginal consultation and engagement requirements in the ACT.
|Improving the ACT Building Regulatory System Review||
The ACT Government is taking action to strengthen the regulation and integrity of the ACT building industry with reforms to the ACT building regulatory system. The review was to ensure the regulatory system remains effective and keeps pace with changes in industry and community expectations for the
built environment. |
Consultation was based on a discussion paper that looked at six areas of reform:
The consultation was hosted on haveyoursay.planning.act.gov.au and was publicised through: the media; Government channels including Our Canberra, TimetoTalk.act.gov.au; directorate social media; and stakeholder networks. Four public workshops and two community forums were held, including a forum co-hosted with the Owners Corporation Network ACT.
Feedback was submitted via email, paper submissions, an online survey and forum, and the face to face workshops. The Directorate received 32 written submissions and 67 responses to the online survey.
|Draft Variations to the Territory Plan||
Consultation on draft variations to the Territory Plan is required under the Planning and Development Act 2007. The proponent for the variation is required to provide a consultation report when seeking a draft variation. The draft variation is then notified for six weeks. A range of media is used to publicise the draft variation consultation, including: media releases;
local media; posting on the Government’s Time to Talk website and the Directorate’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed. Where relevant, presentations are made to the local community council. |
Following consultation, EPD prepares a report for the Minister for Planning and Land Management and a recommendation made as to whether to proceed. The Minister may choose to reject the draft variation, table it in the Legislative Assembly or refer it to the Standing Committee on Planning, Environment and Territory and Municipal Services.
The following draft variations were notified in 2015–16:
The Commissioner for sustainability and the environment
The Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment (CSE) takes a two-pronged approach to community engagement; direct engagement with directorates and community and increased web and social media presence. A comprehensive communications, publicity and promotions strategy has been developed for the Commissioner’s office which supports our work with a range of stakeholders including academics, government and local environmental groups as well as reaching out to the general community. Special effort will continue to be made towards connecting with young people through schools, universities and youth oriented environmental groups.
Increasingly, the CSE website and social media platforms are providing a vehicle for engagement, particularly with those less likely to access conventional environment and sustainability messages and information.
A focus of our communication and engagement over the last year has been to update the website and to more actively use social media to engage with the community on environmental and sustainability issues, with the State of the Environment report as a key vehicle for messages.
Both our Facebook Page, Living Sustainably ACT, and Twitter feed are demonstrating increased traffic. The Office is holding a seminar for Facebook user information.
Youth advocacy and community engagement
The project sits within the broader community engagement work of the office and focuses particularly on young people within the context of intergenerational equity.
|ANU, Fenner School students||
Senior manager presentation to Fenner School of Environment and Society students regarding a potential project with the office. |
Supervising a group of students to undertake a communications related project for the ACT in October 2015 with the students presenting project outcomes to Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment (CSE) staff.
|Parliament of Youth for Sustainability||
The focus of this year’s project was on reducing Canberra’s ecological footprint. The parliament was held at ANU on 30 May 2016. |
CSE has supported the project since its inception in 2012 by: