A1 - The organisation


The Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate (ESDD, the Directorate) was created on 17 May 2011 as part of the wide-ranging reforms to the ACT Public Service (ACTPS). ESDD undertakes key responsibilities designed to deliver sustainability policies and programs across a range of areas. These are complemented by the regulation and enforcement capacity provided through the statutory roles embodied in a comprehensive range of legislative instruments.

ESDD works across government and business sectors and the broader community in the pursuit of these goals and aspirations.


ESDD’s functions include:

  • strategic city, land use and transport planning
  • development and building regulation and control
  • administration of the Territory Plan
  • advice on the broad spatial planning framework for the ACT
  • granting, administering, varying and ending leases on Territory land
  • survey regulation including maintaining the digital cadastral database
  • climate change policy
  • energy policy and energy efficiency programs
  • sustainability policy
  • environment protection
  • supporting the Government Architect
  • conserving built and natural heritage and providing support for the Heritage Council
  • nature conservation policy
  • supporting the Conservator of Flora and Fauna
  • water policy and water efficiency programs
  • building policy
  • electricity and natural gas, water and sewerage industry technical regulation
  • occupational licensing
  • taking compliance and enforcement action across several areas of land, building and environmental management
  • providing opportunities for community consultation and participation in many activities
  • promoting public education and understanding of the Directorate’s various roles and responsibilities.

The Directorate also participates in, and/or contributes to, a number of national and cross-jurisdictional bodies associated with and including:

  • Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure
  • COAG Standing Council on Energy and Resources
  • COAG Select Council on Climate Change
  • COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water incorporating the National Environment Protection Council
  • COAG Standing Council on Primary Industries
  • Legislative and Governance Forum on the Murray–Darling Basin
  • COAG Taskforce on regulatory and competition reform.


ESDD places strong emphasis on the values contained in its Corporate Plan 2012–14:

  • Collaboration and leadership
  • Innovation, inspiration and influence
  • Respect, recognise and respond
  • Professionalism and integrity

These values are supported by a series of actions that seek to give practical expression to the values and ensure they genuinely reflect the model for the way we do things.

The Directorate continues to embrace the ACTPS Code of Conduct and the ACTPS Values and Signature Behaviours, which include the overriding values of respect, integrity, collaboration and innovation. These comprise very similar concepts to those already adopted by the Directorate; as the Corporate Plan is implemented, these ACTPS values and behaviours will be more specifically integrated.

ESDD believes the adoption of, and strong emphasis on, a values-based approach to its work provides a clear focus on how we conduct our business and a framework for decisions and actions that ultimately affect the quality of service.


Organisation Chart

Clients and stakeholders

ESDD operates in a complex environment, with sectors of the community taking a keen – and often passionate – interest in its work and activities. ESDD seeks to foster stakeholder input through widespread consultation.

ESDD’s primary obligation is to serve the ACT Government of the day through the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development. It does this by providing advice, and in giving effect to decisions of the government.

Other clients and stakeholders include:

  • ACT Legislative Assembly
  • ACT residents
  • the development and building industry
  • community-based planning, heritage, natural resource management and environment groups
  • ACT, Australian and other state and territory government agencies and councils, including the National Capital Authority (NCA)
  • ministerial and other councils
  • statutory and non-statutory committees
  • academic institutions
  • electricity, gas industry and suppliers
  • ActewAGL
  • suppliers and contractors
  • the ACT and its environment.