As Australia’s fastest growing capital city and after decades of underinvestment we need a partnership and framework to realise our shared vision for Canberra.
This website is a living document, bringing together ideas and ambition from ongoing community and stakeholder consultation.
We can’t afford to build everything we need right away but we can work together to agree a long-term plan for the future we want for our city.
We invite you to be inspired by the ideas on this website and to submit your own.
All feedback will inform advocacy on these issues with the ACT and Federal Governments.
This site and associated consultation is being managed by ACT Independent Senator David Pocock.
2013: CITY TO THE LAKE
The City to the Lake vision, which formed part of the ACT Government’s City Plan, was unveiled by then-Chief Minister Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher in March 2013. At the heart of the vision was the goal of linking the city to the lakefront for pedestrians, which would be achieved by sending Parkes Way partially underground. Doing so would free up land for urban infill, bringing an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 new residents into the CBD, while creating space for a city stadium, a new convention centre and a relocated aquatic centre. The Canberra light rail network would play a vital role in providing access to these world-class amenities.
According to the original plan, the re-imagined and re-developed City Centre would dramatically boost economic activity for local businesses as well as transforming the social and cultural value of the area for residents and visitors alike. The lakefront would become smoothly integrated into the life of the city, offering an abundance of new retail, hospitality and entertainment opportunities.
2016: ANDREW BARR’S PUSH FOR A CITY DEAL
City and Regional Deals were an initiative launched in 2015 by then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with the intention of better coordinating infrastructure investment between federal, state and local governments. Large-scale infrastructure projects, funded in part by substantial Commonwealth contributions, sit at the heart of each city deal. The first deal was signed in 2016 and a total of nine City Deals and three Regional Deals have now been agreed.
In total almost $10bn in Commonwealth funding has gone towards those deals. The ACT is the only jurisdiction not to have a City Deal and as a result has not received a single cent of that.
The ACT Government first called for a City Deal for Canberra in 2016. A memorandum of understanding between the ACT and Commonwealth Governments was prepared in 2017 and a prospectus was released by the ACT Government and the Canberra Region Joint Organisation in 2019. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr restated his interest in a Canberra City Deal in mid-2021.
Unfortunately, no Canberra City Deal was ever signed and the Federal Government has since shifted its urban development policy away from this model.
2022: DAVID POCOCK’S CAMPAIGN
David Pocock ran for election to the Senate as an independent candidate for the ACT on a platform of making Canberra count again, including by addressing the Federal Government’s under-investment in our infrastructure. Since being elected, Senator Pocock has continued to push for greater investment in the Canberra Region and for more coordinated planning between the ACT and Federal Governments, including by calling for a Canberra Region City Partnership.
EARLY 2023: A VISION FOR CANBERRA
Following extensive collaboration with key representatives of the local community, Senator Pocock wrote to the Prime Minister and ACT Chief Minister on 13 April 2023 calling for them to negotiate a Canberra Region City Partnership based on four pillars: housing, events, innovation and transport.
The letter was co-signed by 35 leading business, community, housing, sporting, tourism, hospitality, retail, technology and cultural organisations, expressing their support for a plan capable of ameliorating Canberra’s acute housing crisis; replacing ageing events infrastructure with world-class facilities capable of hosting major domestic and international sports, conferences and live entertainment events; establishing a sprawling innovation precinct focused on enhancing our city’s unique strengths and helping to keep fast-growing companies and highly-skilled workers here in Canberra; and accelerating key internal and external transport infrastructure projects.
Our Vision for Canberra is the result of widespread and ongoing consultation with leading organisations representing businesses and individuals who want more for our city’s infrastructure.
MID 2023: THE NATIONAL CAPITAL INVESTMENT FRAMEWORK
On 22 July 2023, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced a National Capital Investment Framework intended to recognise Canberra’s role as Australia’s capital and to address community concerns across the Canberra Region about decades of underinvestment in our city’s infrastructure.
Our Vision for Canberra can be realised through the new National Capital Investment Framework.
This Framework offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in an ambitious long-term infrastructure plan for the ACT that has the support of our community and local businesses.
By agreeing to deliver the core elements of our Vision for Canberra, the Federal and ACT Governments can give industry and private-sector partners greater certainty and a strong pipeline of projects capable of building our National Capital into an attractive global city of the future — all while preserving Canberra’s garden feel.