Output 3.1 Access Canberra


The directorate, through Access Canberra, provided a one-stop shop for ACT Government customer and regulatory services to make access for the community to government services easier and simpler.

Access Canberra was the first point of contact for individuals, organisations and businesses dealing with the ACT Government, through its shopfronts, contact centre and websites where they sought information, undertook transactions, or interacted in other ways.

Through Access Canberra, the directorate provided over 700 different types of services through the contact centre, shopfronts and online including registering births, deaths and marriages, issuing driver licences, inspecting and registering cars, issuing certificates of occupancy for houses, undertaking electrical, plumbing and gas inspections for new and existing buildings, providing advice on consumer rights and faulty household products, issuing MyWay cards, licensing tradespeople and parking compliance.

The directorate focused on engagement and education to build understanding within the community and help people comply with regulations to ensure Canberra remains a safe and healthy community. The directorate applied a risk based compliance approach to ensure community safety and a level playing field for business.

The directorate will continue to coordinate joint engagement and education inspection programs across a variety of industry sectors to enhance compliance and community safety. Joint inspections help business owners by reducing the time they need to set aside to deal with government to gain approvals, giving them more time to provide services to their customers.


Against this output in 2016-17 the directorate:

  • trialled the introduction of Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras. The LPR systems were piloted to provide greater access to parking spaces (through turnover) for all drivers, by encouraging drivers to comply with parking time limits;
  • opened a new vehicle inspection station at Hume, designed to allow inspection of light vehicles and heavy vehicle combinations including B-Doubles and trailers, where customers can pay for and book inspections online;
  • undertook 46,972 total on-road inspections, comprising of 45,711 light vehicles and 1,261 heavy vehicles and resulting in 1,524 vehicle safety defects being identified and issued with a defect notice;
  • finalised the roll out of tap & go for payments on all ACT Government parking machines which has resulted in increasing use of non-cash payments, with 69 per cent of all payments now electronic;
  • supported the recommendations of the Taxi Innovation Review with eight Transport Booking Services now providing Taxi, Hire car and Rideshare services across the ACT. This included 1,000 rideshare drivers and licensed rideshare vehicles accredited in the ACT with increases also occurring in the number of taxi and hire car licensed drivers. Ten standard taxis and five wheelchair accessible taxis have been released since the implementation of the reforms;
  • simplified the process for Accredited Driving Instructor renewals by replacing annual renewal with 5-year renewals;
  • opened an Access Canberra Service Centre in the Cosmopolitan Building, with easy access to Woden Town Square, designed on the successful set up of the Gungahlin, Belconnen and Tuggeranong service centres. Service centres provide over 200 services and feature touch screen terminals so that transactions can be completed easily online;
  • relocated more than 300 Access Canberra staff into new premises at the Cosmopolitan Centre from Callam Offices in Woden, from Macarthur House in Lyneham, the Dickson Motor Vehicle Registry and Dame Pattie Menzies House in Dickson, and 255 Canberra Avenue Fyshwick, increasing collaboration within the business unit;
  • closed the Access Canberra Fyshwick shopfront in December 2016, replacing Fyshwick services with online services or providing them at the four Access Canberra Service Centres at Woden, Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Gungahlin. Land title and stamp duty transactions were integrated into the shopfront at Dame Pattie Menzies House in Dickson which already delivers other property-related transactions;
  • welcomed more than 450,000 customers through its service centres and shopfronts, with the top three services being establishing and renewal of vehicle registrations and driver licence renewals;
  • simplified forms, and made them more accessible, with 272 services now offered online, and processed more than 1.7 million online transactions;
  • recorded more than 2.7 million visits to the Access Canberra website and received more than 720,000 phone calls;
  • launched chat services on the Access Canberra website with approximately 1,000 web chats completed each month to be a stepping stone towards implementing other like services such as chat bots and virtual assistants;
  • launched the redesigned Access Canberra website which included new features such as a prominent search bar, pictorial selection of services, addition of feature articles to the home page, and topic based pages, allowing for the promotion of key initiatives;
  • introduced improvements to Fix My Street including a redesign for trees and shrubs, street lights and pot holes reporting which now includes real time delivery of incidents to depots and enables the closing of the feedback loop;
  • conducted the annual Access Canberra customer satisfaction survey, revealing that:
    • satisfaction with Service Centres increased from 94 per cent in 2016 to 97 per cent in 2017. The main driver was staff thoroughly and fairly dealing with customers’ issues and transactions;
    • satisfaction with the Contact Centre increased from 87 per cent in 2016 to 91 per cent in 2017. The main drivers for this rating were fairness of staff in dealing with customer transactions and the willingness of staff to assist;
    • satisfaction with the Access Canberra website increased from 78 per cent in 2016 to 83 per cent in 2017; and
    • over 67,000 items of feedback left at the pedestals in the Access Canberra Service Centres with customers scoring questions on customer service at 96.4 per cent;
  • continued to make it easier to hold events in the ACT; coordinating 536 individual approvals for 352 events, delivering a personalised case management service to coordinate approvals from all regulatory arms of government;
  • introduced individual concierge-style case management for new liquor businesses in February 2017 acknowledging the complex processes and multiple approvals required of the liquor industry, with twelve new or existing liquor businesses utilising the concierge service and the team has provided regulatory information to a further eight businesses from other industries;
  • undertook a range of licensing functions for businesses and personal registrations and completed a range of process improvements and regulatory reforms including:
    • reducing timeframes for assessment for a range of regulated activities;
    • progressing work on the Government’s commitment to growing outdoor dining on public unleased land and reducing outdoor dining fees;
    • implementing the Government’s liquor licensing reforms;
    • implementing the Government’s regulatory reforms for charities to make it easier for the
      non-profit sector to meet ACT and Commonwealth reporting requirements; and
    • implementing the Government’s commitments to barrier free conveyancing and foreign ownership register data sharing with the Commonwealth;
  • undertook a range of activities relating to Working with Vulnerable People (WWVP) including:
    • processed 38,577 applications (new and renewals) for WWVP registrations, a slight decrease from the previous year;
    • introduced an online WWVP renewal form to provide simpler and faster renewals;
    • started a series of educational activities for organisations and individuals requiring a WWVP registration focusing on their obligations under the legislation;
    • conducted 240 WWVP compliance activities, resulting in 5,312 registration checks;
    • identified 413 instances of non-compliance, with the majority of issues relating to a failure to produce the registration card on request and not holding a valid registration. In these instances the directorate takes the approach of educating individuals to have their cards with them when undertaking a registered activity or assisting them to become registered under the scheme; and
    • issued one infringement notice to a person for failing to notify the Commissioner for Fair Trading within 10 days of being charged with a relevant offence;
  • undertook a range of fair trading compliance and enforcement activities including:
    • provided advice and support to 6,547 people about their consumer rights under fair trading legislation;
    • adopted a risk based approach to complaint management and focused on simplifying the complaint process. This has resulted in a reduction of matters being formalised and an increase of matters being conciliated at the first point of contact;
    • engaged in conciliation support for approximately 1,379 matters in an attempt to reach a satisfactory resolution for clients, in particular in relation to the Australian Consumer Law and conduct within regulated industries including Agents, Motor Vehicle Dealers/Repairers as well as residential building issues;
    • initiated a number of targeted engagement activities focusing on a broad range of compliance obligations; including activities focusing on bidding at real estate auctions, toy safety, security licence and personal vaporiser (e- cigarette) licence obligations;
    • referred five matters to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal for occupational discipline:
      • four matters related to a contravention of the Agents Act 2003 with agents failing to undertake a trust account audit within prescribed period;
      • one matter related to the Liquor Act 2010 where the licensee had on three occasions exceeded the determined occupancy loading amount; and
      • all matters were successful with a range of disciplinary orders imposed;
  • undertook a range of construction, environment and workplace protection activities including:
    • resolution of planning and construction complaints by working with the community and industry through a model of engagement and education with less emphasis on formal enforcement action where appropriate;
    • received 305 complaints related to planning laws, settling 265 complaints (including complaints received in previous financial years); and
    • received 220 complaints related to construction laws, settling 224 complaints (including complaints received in previous financial years);
  • supported the ACT Work Safety Commissioner:
    • conducted 4,923 workplace inspections resulting in:
      • 140 improvement notices issued under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011;
      • one improvement notice issued under the Dangerous Substances Act 2004;
      • 58 prohibition notices issued under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011; and
      • no prohibition notices being issuedunder the Dangerous Substances Act 2004;
    • conducted 1,933 workplace inspections for events and proactive campaigns across the WorkSafe ACT inspectorate, including Spilt Milk, Summernats, The Canberra Show, National Multicultural Festival, Night Noodle Markets, National Folk Festival, Groovin the Moo, NSW/ACT Cross Border Construction Project and targeted audit activity including on tower cranes and scaffolding;
    • undertook oversight of safe demolition activities in relation to the Government’s Loose-fill Asbestos Insulation Eradication Scheme (the Scheme), including:
      • worked with the Asbestos Response Taskforce and Procurement and Capital Works to provide ongoing regulatory information, guidance and advice to assist in the ongoing delivery of the Scheme;
      • conducted 1,838 workplace inspections with no significant safety concerns identified; and
      • enhanced internal governance processes and procedures in response to the Auditor General Report No.1 of 2017 WorkSafe ACT’s Management of its Regulatory Responsibilities of the Demolition of Loose-fill Asbestos Contaminated Houses (further information on the report recommendations and actions taken can be found in section B3 Scrutiny);
    • launched the NSW/ACT Cross Border Construction Project 2016-2019, which aims to increase coordination and cooperation between jurisdictions at a number of levels to create a cultural change in the construction industry, with joint inspections to take place four times a year for a week each time and will coincide with information session. In April 2017, a breakfast was held at the CIT High Risk Facility to highlight training available for high risk activities;
    • produced twenty safety videos in partnership with Safe Work Australia, Housing Industry Association, Master Builders Association, Unions ACT, Training Fund Authority and the Construction Industry Training Council to engage and educate members of the construction industry on the areas of high risk activities;
    • produced a regular industry newsletter sent to 13,000 individual subscribers covering information on construction, environment and workplace matters;
    • worked with Skills Canberra and employers to ensure young workers (especially apprentices) are receiving appropriate supervision and to provide education on work health and safety issues relevant to their industry;
    • worked with key stakeholders including Safe Work Australia (SWA) and unions to provide greater guidance material on heat stress and working safely in cold weather;
    • provided secretariat support for the Building Regulation Advisory Committee, which works with Access Canberra on reforms to building certification, builder licensing, targeted training and includes representatives of the Australian Institute of Building, Construction Industry Training Council, Master Builders Association, Housing Industry Association, Chair of the Architects Board and members representing designers and landscape professionals;
    • developed a variety of education and guidance material with key safety messages distributed through social media platforms; and
    • actioned proactive work health and safety inspection programs across retail areas and brothels; participated in a range of joint inspection programs such as joint construction inspection program of greenfield and brownfield construction sites, with other inspectorate branches of the directorate, focusing on engagement and education;
  • as part of the Healthy Weight Initiative:
    • conducted 150 Healthier Work workplace visits and assisted 48 workplaces to create a 12 month health and wellbeing plan to become ‘Healthier Work Recognised’ (first year of recognition);
    • evaluated the plans of 27 workplaces which have now become ‘Healthier Work Recognised Silver Status’ (second year of recognition);
    • evaluated the plans of 15 ‘Healthier Work Recognised Silver Status’ workplaces which have now become ‘Healthier Work Recognised Gold Status’ (third year of recognition);
    • assisted 6,175 Canberrans make the healthy choice the easier choice within the workplace setting;
    • partnered with the Canberra Business Chamber to deliver four training sessions on creating healthier work environments to 91 attendees and delivered ten mentoring sessions to 209 Healthier Work champions in workplaces; and
    • held three Healthier Work breakfasts attended by over 300 participants to recognise workplaces who have completed their first, second or third year of the program, including a networking session with Beyondblue;
  • undertook a range of construction inspections and operations including:
    • 8,852 inspections of new electrical work;
    • 9,673 random inspections of alterations and additions to existing electrical installations;
    • 13,557 inspections of plumbing installations;
    • 2,813 inspections of gas installations;
    • 711 audits of building constructions under the Building Act 2004; and
    • provided ongoing support to the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate for the Sustainable Energy Storage Program;
  • undertook a range of operations and inspections under the Environment Protection Act 1997 including:
    • issued 34 Environmental Authorisations;
    • entered into 52 Environmental Agreements;
    • commented on 614 Development Applications as referred from the Planning and Land Authority and the National Capital Authority; and
    • responded to 843 new public complaints covering a range of issues, resulting in 2,716 actions including new and ongoing complaints prior to 2016-17 reporting periods;
  • as a result of co-locating regulatory services within Access Canberra, the agency has undertaken several coordinated joint compliance inspection programs across industries and reduced impacts to businesses, including:
    • engaged with retailers to promote the functions of Access Canberra and to provide advice about obligations under the Australian consumer law, workers compensation legislation, electrical product safety and food legislation. Inspectors also actively promoted the Access Canberra’s small business self-help website, comply.accesscanberra.act.gov.au; and
    • covered liquor, gaming and health at several high risk events including the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club’s annual Canberra Cup, Oktoberfest, Multicultural Festival, Royal Canberra Show and ACT Melbourne Cup activities;
  • provided support to the Gambling and Racing Commission by undertaking a range of compliance activities including the inspection of cash withdrawal facilities (ATM and EFTPOS) in gaming machine venues, ensuring Casino Canberra’s compliance with the requirements outlined in the Gambling and Racing Control (Code of Practice) Regulation 2002; and
  • continued cooperation with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to participate in coordinated compliance and enforcement activities which has included a range of targeted campaigns, resulting in the inspection of 195 heavy vehicles (Prime movers, B- Doubles, Buses, semi-trailers) to ensure compliance.

The directorate met or exceeded six out of eight targets against this output and did not meet the other two targets. The targets exceeded were:

  • (a)(i) Number of Interactions with Access Canberra, due to an increase in website visits;
  • (a)(ii) Average cost per interaction was lower than the target, with a result of $5.44 against a target cost per interaction of $5.92, due to there being more interactions than forecast;
  • (b)(i) Percentage of Customers satisfied with Access Canberra, where the result was 91 per cent, slightly above the target of 90 per cent;
  • (b)(ii) Percentage of services delivered online, where the movement toward digitising services surpassed forecasts;
  • (c) Percentage of the Canberra community satisfied with the ease of interacting with Access Canberra, achieved 95 per cent against a target of 90 per cent due to continued efforts in improving work practices; and
  • (d)(ii) Compliance at time of inspection, above expectations due to shift towards the engage, educate and enforce model.

The targets not met were:

  • (d)(i) Number of inspections conducted by Access Canberra, where the number of inspections was 3 per cent lower than expected primarily due to a lower than forecast number of random vehicle inspections due to staff undertaking an extensive National Heavy Vehicle training program; and
  • (d)(iii) Percentage of licence applications processed within service standard timeframes, where a greater than expected volume of working with vulnerable people applications led to a decline in meeting processing timeframes.

Future Direction

In 2017-18, the directorate will:

  • add another 75 digital transactional services;
  • enhance the Access Canberra digital account by linking in an Identity and Access Management Service (IDAMS);
  • make further improvements to the Fix My Street service by redesigning more services;
  • implement a new, centralised complaints management system for Access Canberra;
  • seek re-accreditation by the Australian Skills Quality Authority for the Asbestos Awareness Course and develop a site supervision training framework to improve the knowledge and skills of all designated site-supervisors engaged on building sites in the ACT;
  • provide regulatory oversight of Light Rail development including the dedicated allocation of three WorkSafe ACT inspectors to monitor health and safety on worksites;
  • provide support to the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate with the Sustainable Energy Storage Program;
  • introduce a Healthier Work Day Forum for all businesses in the ACT to learn about what resources and organisations can assist in the workplace health space;
  • continue to create and improve digital services to make it easier and simpler to transact with government;
  • continue to provide support to the Gambling and Racing Commission;
  • continue to review the Accredited Driving Instructors Scheme;
  • continue to evaluate, and where necessary adapt our service delivery model to harness changes in technology and better deliver services to the community;
  • continue to apply a risk based approach to regulation and compliance to ensure attention is focused on the areas of greatest harm to the community;
  • continue to engage with and educate industries to ensure they understand their obligations under legislation;
  • continue to identify further opportunities for coordinated compliance activities across a range of regulatory responsibilities; and
  • continue to help grow and diversify the economy by reducing red tape and working with industry, particularly the hospitality and gaming industries, and the events sector.

Further information can be obtained from

Dave Peffer
Deputy Director-General
Access Canberra
+61 2 6205 5169