A8 - Strategic objectives

The Directorate identified six strategic objectives for 2012–13. Details of the Directorate’s performance against these indicators are as follows. For more detail on these activities, see Section A9.

Strategic Objective 1 – Leading the community towards making Canberra a zero-net carbon emitter

Description

The Government’s vision for Canberra is to set the benchmark for Australian cities in carbon neutrality and sustainability. The Directorate works across government, the business sector and the broader community to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions. The Directorate will raise awareness of climate change by engaging with the community, building partnerships in mitigation and adaptation and developing effective offset options.

The Directorate will:

  • finalise Weathering the ChangeAction Plan 2 as a comprehensive road map to carbon neutrality
  • ensure the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions against legislated targets and implement a carbon neutral framework for the government
  • promote business and community engagement on climate change through the Climate Change Council and sectoral agreements and
  • develop a sustainable transport network through strategic planning.

Results

  • AP2: A New Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan for the ACT (AP2)was released in October 2012.  AP2 sets the Territory on the path to meet its 2020 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target and establish a strong foundation for the achievement of the overall target of being carbon neutral, or having zero-net emissions, by 2060.
  • The government is working to achieve carbon neutrality in its own operations by 2020 through the implementation of the Carbon Neutral ACT Government Framework, which was endorsed in August 2012.
  • The ACTSmart Government Energy and Water Program (introduced in September 2012) and the ACTSmart Business Energy and Water Program (introduced in July 2012) assist the ACT to achieve carbon neutrality targets.
  • A sustainability data management system (SDMS) is due for completion in late 2013 and will deliver a whole-of-government sustainability data collection and reporting for energy, water and waste. It will enhance transparency and accountability of agencies in managing and reporting GHG emissions.
  • Transport for Canberra envisages a transport system where all modes of transport – walking, cycling, public transport and driving – work together to reduce transport emissions and move Canberra towards meeting the government's 2026 target of 30% of all ‘journey to work’ trips being made by walking, cycling and public transport. A monitoring and reporting system is being developed to measure progress and report performance.
  • ESDD completed planning and economic investigations for a sustainable transport corridor between Gungahlin and City, and provided a project funding submission to Infrastructure Australia.
  • A preferred option for the ACT Strategic Cycle Network Plan was developed.

Strategic Objective 2 – Promoting sustainable, secure and equitable energy supply

Description

As part of the drive to carbon neutrality the ACT Government has developed an ACT Sustainable Energy Policy. The primary focus of the policy is to reduce emissions associated with energy use. The policy contains specific and measurable targets to ensure the equitable provision of energy and security of supply.

Implementation will commence in 2012–13, when the Directorate will:

  • support the uptake of renewable energy such as GreenPower
  • support the deployment of large scale renewable energy generation within the Territory and
  • support increased energy efficiency in homes and businesses through the promotion of the Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Scheme.

Results

  • Implementation commenced of a new reform package developed through the Standing Council of Energy and Resources and agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in December 2012 to address concerns in the community regarding recent electricity price rises. These reforms will provide for greater demand side participation, stronger regulation of networks and better consumer representation in network price determination processes.
  • The Energy Efficiency (Cost of Living) Improvement Act 2012, providing for an ambitious new energy savings initiative, was passed by the Legislative Assembly in May 2012. The Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme (EEIS), running initially from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2015, requires electricity retailers in the ACT to achieve a targeted level of energy savings in ACT households and businesses by undertaking ‘eligible activities’ over this period.
  • ESDD actively participates in the National GreenPower Steering Group, which coordinates electricity retailers that sell GreenPower products. GreenPower continues to account for a larger proportion of electricity sales in the ACT than it does in any other jurisdiction.
  • The Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act 2011 provides for up to 210 megawatts of renewable energy generation capacity in the region.
    • The 40 megawatt (MW) ACT Large-scale Solar Auction that commenced in January 2012 represents the first capacity release under this legislation and will see solar generators located in the ACT and connected to the local electricity distribution network. It is expected to supply sufficient electricity to meet the needs of 8,800 ACT households and contribute to a reduction of 1,400,000 tonnes of CO2 greenhouse gas emissions over 20 years.
    • Under the Solar Auction, the first 20 MW of capacity was awarded in September 2012, with the remaining 20 MW of capacity due to be awarded in August 2013.
  • AP2 includes a target of 90% of the ACT’s electricity requirements being sourced from renewable energy by 2020. In order to achieve this target, amendments will be made to the Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act 2011 in early 2014 to increase the total generation capacity from 210 to 690 MW.
  • The EEIS has 24 eligible activities available for electricity retailers to offer in residential premises. The scheme was expanded to business premises on 1 July 2013, opening opportunities for small and medium enterprises, including community organisations, to participate.

Strategic Objective 3 – Securing sustainable water resources

Description

The ACT Government will continue to explore and support cost-effective ways to reduce demand for water, encourage sustainable water use through water sensitive urban design and pursue various options to reduce reliance on potable water.

The Directorate will work across government and with ACTEW Corporation to secure the ACT’s water supply and with the broader community to achieve sustainability in water use and will endeavour to ensure highest water quality according to use and purpose.

The Directorate will:

  • finalise and implement a new water strategy to specifically address long-term water usage and catchment management
  • review Environmental Flow Guidelines to ensure the continuing health of the ACT’s rivers and lakes
  • work with the Murray–Darling Basin Authority to implement water reforms within the ACT’s part of the Murray–Darling Basin to achieve long term water security as the city grows and
  • work with industry and the community to identify and implement water sensitive urban design including water savings measures, and promote water savings programs and technologies, including through rebates where appropriate.

Results

  • A range of increased water storage and supply security measures are currently being implemented.
    • o ACTEW’s construction of the Enlarged Cotter Dam is expected to be completed in the second half of 2013, while the Murrumbidgee to Googong Pipeline was completed in August 2012. These projects will help to provide long-term security for the ACT water supply and enable the ACT to achieve a one in 20 year benchmark of ACT temporary water restrictions for up to 25 years.
    • o ACTEW concluded the commercial arrangements with Snowy Hydro Limited for the storage and transfer of water from Tantangara Dam to Googong Dam via extraction at Angle Crossing. The arrangement is now subject to NSW Government consideration.
    • o ESDD is establishing a water trading agreement with the NSW Office of Water to facilitate the transfer of market acquired water. The final agreement will include procedures to ensure the security of water conveyed from Tantangara Dam to the ACT via the Murrumbidgee River. The arrangements will put in place the final action to support the transfer of water purchased and to be conveyed from Tantangara Dam to the ACT.
    • o The Directorate is implementing the findings of the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commision’s report for the Inquiry into Secondary Water Uses in the ACT. Specifically, ESDD is conducting a review of the Water Sensitive Urban Design General Code.
  • The Directorate reviewed the water resources strategy Think water, act water and will release a draft new water strategy for community consultation in early 2013–14.
  • The Directorate manages the ACT’s commitments under the National Water Initiative and its participation in the Murray–Darling Basin Initiative and the Living Murray Initiative through the Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA). The Directorate has considerable involvement in activities and commitments through the MDBA such as natural resource management activities and water audit monitoring.
  • Under the Basin Plan, which came into effect in November 2012, the ACT is required to meet a number of obligations such as the development of a water resources plan and water trading rules. The ACT has a surface water sustainable diversion limit of 40.5GL under the plan. The Directorate is working with ACTEW to secure water rights for future population growth.
  • The ACT is involved in the implementation of the Basin Plan and is a signatory to the Intergovernmental Agreement on Implementing Water Reform in the Murray–Darling Basin.
  • The Directorate reviewed and revised the 2007 Environmental Flow Guidelines, which came into legislation in April 2013.
  • ESDD continued to undertake a range of demand management initiatives, including working with the residential, education, government and commercial sectors to reduce water use through the ACTSmart programs.
  • ESDD has commenced work to develop a catchment management governance framework.
  • ESSD regulates the abstraction and trade of water in an efficient and environmentally sensitive manner through the licensing and entitlement framework of the Water Resources Act 2007.
  • Construction of the Inner North Stormwater Reticulation Network is scheduled for completion in 2013–14. Once operational, the network is expected to substitute up to 460 megalitres of potable water per annum used for irrigation with fit-for-purpose stormwater.

Strategic Objective 4 – Protecting our environment and promoting contemporary, best practice environmental standards

Description

The Directorate will continue to promote knowledge sharing and implementation of contemporary, best practice environmental standards.

In 2012–13 the Directorate will:

  • continue to protect the quality of the Territory’s air, land, water and environmental values under the regulatory provisions of the environment legislation
  • review the Environment Protection Act 1997
  • finalise the review and amendment of the Nature Conservation Act 1980
  • implement the ACT Waste Management Strategy
  • protect and manage the ACT’s biodiversity
  • increase community and industry awareness and engagement in protecting our natural and built environment
  • support the COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water to implement consistent, innovative and best practice approaches to environmental protection and management and
  • support the Natural Resources Management Council including policies and programs that preserve our natural environment.

Results

  • ESDD protects the natural and built environment through different mechanisms including education campaigns, regulatory actions and enforcement. A number of education campaigns were implemented, including the ‘Noise’, ‘Don’t burn tonight’ and ‘Burn right tonight’ campaigns to ensure members of the community are made aware of measures that can contribute to better environmental quality.
  • Regulatory activities included a review of authorisations, implementation of environmental agreements, investigation of potential breaches and enforcement of the legislation according to the Environment Protection and Water Regulation Branch’s enforcement policy.
  • The review of the Environment Protection Act 1997 continued; it will ensure the legislation delivers a contemporary regulatory framework that utilises regulatory measures that encourage best practice environmental standards in protecting the ACT’s natural and built environment.
  • The Directorate supported the COAG agenda through various forums:
    • COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water: ESDD is committed to develop and implement the National Plan for Clean Air, which aims to improve air quality and community health and wellbeing, and the COAG reforms in relation to chemicals and plastics, including looking at options to establish a standard-setting body and framework for developing nationally consistent decisions to manage the environmental risks of industrial chemicals.
    • COAG Standing Council on Primary Industries: ESDD is committed to implementing the COAG reforms in relation to chemicals and plastics by finalising the Agricultural Chemicals and Veterinary Medicines (Agvet) Intergovernmental Agreement and on-going participation in the Agvet Chemical Regulation Committee.
    • Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure: ESDD supported the implementation of the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety and continued to work with Australian Government agencies in finalising the implementation of the national system in the ACT.
    • National Framework for Compliance and Enforcement Systems for Water Resource Management: ESDD continued its commitment to implement the framework within the ACT by:
      • implementing legislative reform for national harmonisation of water resource laws, with amendments to the Water Resources Act 2007 approved by the Legislative Assembly and proposals for the Environment Protection Act 1997 submitted and
      • protecting water resources, with the development of catchment-wide risk frameworks for assessing compliance and assisting decisions on enforcement actions. A flow on activity from the risk framework is the trial of remote surveillance equipment to assess the likelihood of water theft in the ACT.
  • The Conservator of Flora and Fauna prepared a draft Nature Conservation Strategy for public consultation under the provisions of the Nature Conservation Act 1980.
  • Consultation was undertaken on a revised action plan for the Smoky Mouse (Pseudomys fumeus), and for new action plans for the glossy black-cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami), Murrumbidgee bossiaea (Bossiaea grayi) and little eagle (Hieraaetus morphnoides).
  • In 2011, the ACT received $2.155 million from the Australian Government’s Biodiversity Fund to fund a six year woodland restoration project focused on lowland areas of the ACT and cross border with NSW. The ACT Biodiversity Fund Project will deliver at least 1500 hectares of woodland restoration and 10,000 hectares of invasive species control.
  • The Directorate developed the Atlas of Living Australia ‘ACT and Southern Tablelands Weed Spotters’ website and weed identification and mapping application.
  • The ACT Pest Animal Management Strategy 2012–2022 was finalised.
  • ESDD participated in a COAG Standing Council on Environment and Water Environmental Investment Working Group looking at ways to improve investment in the environment through innovative funding opportunities.
  • Secretariat services were provided to the Natural Resource Management (NRM) Council and delivered a number of projects supported by the Council and funded by the Australian Government Caring for Our Country initiative, including: $300,000 for the ACT Weeds of National Significance (WONS) Devolved Grants Program; $1.35 million for the ACT Regional Investment Strategy; and the Caring for the Cotter Catchment project.
  • Surveys and monitoring were undertaken for rare or declared flora and fauna including the broad-toothed rat, spotted tail quoll, grassland earless dragon, striped legless lizard, Tarengo leek orchid, Brindabella midge orchid, ACT spider orchid, button wrinklewort, small purple pea, Tuggeranong lignum and two-spined blackfish.
  • A population of eastern bettongs was successfully re-introduced into the feral cat and fox free environment in the Mulligans Flat Sanctuary.
  • Management enhancement of a number of ecosystems and habitat occurred through: the successful seed collection and storage of a number of rare plant species; successful ex-situ storage of plant species associated with alpine bogs and fens in partnership with the Australian National Botanic Gardens and Greening Australia; engineered log jams implemented near Tharwa in the Murrumbidgee River to deepen channels and enhance fish habitat; and the introduction of cod caves into rivers to also enhance fish habitat.
  • As part of the implementation of the ACT Waste Management Strategy 2011–2025, ESDD completed an expression of interest process for the construction of a facility to recover and process the Territory’s municipal solid waste.
  • Implementation of the ACTSmart Business and Office and ACTSmart Public Event waste and recycling programs continued to be implemented as part of the ACT Waste Management Strategy 2011–2025.  
  • An interim review in 2012 of the ban on lightweight plastic shopping bags that came into effect on 1 November 2011 found a high level of consumer support and retailer compliance.
  • The review of the Heritage Act 2004 progressed with the tabling of a draft amendment Bill in the Legislative Assembly in May 2013. The Bill will ensure best-practice regulatory provisions for the ACT’s recognition, protection and conservation of natural, Aboriginal and historic heritage places and objects. The 23 submissions made by community and stakeholders will be considered when finalising the Bill.
  • The number of people attending events at the 15-day Canberra and Region Heritage Festival increased by 70%. The number of Festival events also increased to 75; there were 27 new event organisers, up from 13 in 2012.
  • Canberra Tracks interpretive signage continues to enhance the experience of locals and visitors by providing historical information at many sites of Aboriginal, natural and built importance.
  • An updated version of the Canberra and Queanbeyan Cycle Map was produced and launched to increase community awareness of the sustainable walking and cycling options available.

Strategic Objective 5 - Deliver spatial planning, urban design and building outcomes for the Territory that contribute to a sustainable Canberra

Description

This objective will be achieved through the implementation of the goals underpinning the Canberra Spatial Plan, the Sustainable Transport Plan and Weathering the Change.

In 2012–13 the Directorate will:

  • promote the ACT Planning Strategy
  • continue the review of the residential zone development codes
  • continue the review of commercial zones development codes applying to group and local centres
  • complete the Kenny and Molonglo Valley Stage 2 (Suburbs 3 and 4 and the Molonglo Group Centre) planning and design framework
  • continue the planning and design of major infrastructure supporting urban development in the Molonglo Valley
  • undertake further environmental impact study assessments of arterial roads, bridges, stormwater management measures and sewers in Molonglo Valley
  • support the work of the ACT Government Architect and
  • improve the sustainability of buildings through the application of building policy and compliance activities.

Results

  • The completed ACT Planning Strategy sets the strategic direction for the growth, development and urban management of the Territory.
  • Master plans were completed for Tuggeranong Town Centre and Erindale and Kambah group centres, and substantial work was completed on draft master plans for Pialligo, Oaks Estate and the Weston Creek group centre.
  • A strategic plan for the City centre (The City Plan) commenced.
  • Background studies commenced for Woden Town Centre, Athllon Drive (Mawson) and Mawson group centre master plans and a coping for a master plan for Tharwa.
  • Urban research and monitoring was conducted to understand trends and input to the review of strategic planning policy.
  • Social infrastructure planning and the development of related planning policies were completed.
  • Planning and design advice was provided to internal and external organisations in relation to a wide range of areas such as development proposals, development codes reviews, land supply, social infrastructure, healthy cities, crime prevention, climate change adaptation, major projects and capital works.
  • Implementation of the Tune Up Canberra grants program continued to assist the retrofitting of office buildings to achieve reductions in energy use and emissions.
  • Secretariat and design support to the work of the ACT Government Architect was provided.
  • Implementation of the Transport for Canberra 2012 policy continued. With the ACT Planning Strategy, the policy responds to and guides Canberra's multi-centred structure to create a more compact city with transit orientation that generates fewer, shorter vehicle trips, is more economically efficient, socially inclusive, healthy and sustainable. The Frequent Network of rapid public transport corridors will guide future land use planning, with higher density land uses encouraged along the Frequent Network corridors.
  • Planning continued for the Molonglo Valley district’s principal centre located in the suburb of Molonglo, based on the strategic planning and design framework (PDF) for stage 2.
  • The Minister determined that parts of Molonglo do not require further environmental impact study assessments.
  • The Molonglo River Park Concept Plan was completed.
  • Investigations commenced to inform future planning for Molonglo Valley stage 3, located between the Molonglo River and William Hovell Drive.
  • A draft PDF was prepared for the future suburb of Kenny in Gungahlin.
  • A draft PDF was completed for the East Lake urban renewal area.
  • The review of the residential zones development codes was completed with Territory Plan Variation 306 commencing on 5 July 2013, introducing revised single and multi-unit housing development codes and a new Estate Development Code,.
  • Territory Plan Draft variation 304 – Commercial Zones Development Code, which was released for public comment from 22 March to 6 May 2013, is being finalised.
  • The Directorate maintained an auditing program for compliance with energy efficiency provisions in building codes.

Strategic Objective 6 - Achieve and maintain effective regulatory systems

Description

This objective will be achieved through continuous review and enhancement of the legislation administered by the Directorate and associated regulations, together with the Territory Plan, to deliver an effective regulatory framework.

The Directorate will:

  • identify opportunities for better integration of the National Capital Plan and Territory Plan
  • complete the implementation of first stage priority items for the Territory Plan policy review
  • continue to implement the outcomes of the Minister’s Building Quality Forum, including through the review and amendment of the Building Act 2004
  • undertake a review of the Environment Protection Act 1997 and implement recommendations to improve the operation and effectiveness of the legislation
  • complete the review of Part 5 of the Utilities Act 2000
  • ensure compliance (by audit) of building certifiers with their responsibilities under the Planning and Development Act 2007
  • implement initiatives announced by the ACT Government on affordable housing
  • ensure compliance with the Heritage Act 2004 and associated regulations
  • conclude its review of the Nature Conservation Act and
  • review methods for further simplification and improvements to the land release and Territory Plan variation process.

Results

  • The first stage of the Territory Plan policy review was largely completed with Territory Plan Variation 306 (residential zones and estate development codes) commencing on 5 July 2013, and community consultation on draft variation 304 (Commercial Zones Development Code) finishing on 8 May 2013.
  • The Planning and Development (Territory Plan Variations) Amendment Act 2013, which commenced on 15 June 2013, amended the Planning and Development Act 2007 to introduce a number of further efficiencies and simplifications into the Territory Plan variation process. In particular, the reforms made the process for estate development plan approval and related Territory Plan variation processes clearer and more consistent across new and existing urban areas.
  • The Planning, Building and Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2013, which commenced on 23 May 2013, amended a number of Acts within the ESDD portfolio including the Planning and Development Act 2007, Planning and Development Regulation 2008, Unit Titles Act 2001 and Building Act 2004. The amendments provide for a number of administrative efficiencies and clarifications including in relation to the environmental impact statement process under the Planning and Development Act.
  • The presentation of the Heritage Legislation Amendment Bill on 16 May 2013 will impact on planning as it makes a number of significant amendments to the Heritage Act 2004, including providing the Minister with call-in powers in relation to certain decisions affecting the registration or cancellation of a place or object.
  • Certain development approval exemptions for schools in the Planning and Development Regulation 2008 were made permanent by resolution of the Legislative Assembly on 21 March 2013. This motion was considered and passed by the Assembly following review of the relevant provisions by the planning and land authority.
  • The Technical Regulator introduced the Gas Service and Installation Rules Code with an effective date of 1 July 2013. The Embedded Generation Code is still under consideration in ESDD.
  • The review of Part 5 of the Utilities Act 2000 is ongoing.
  • Ensuring compliance of building certifiers with their responsibilities under both the Planning and Development Act and Building Act is ongoing. ESDD met its target of auditing 10% of building approvals for developments, including approvals for work exempt from requiring a development approval.
  • ESDD continues to focus on its pro-prosecution and pro-rectification policy for building quality matters in Class 2 (apartment) buildings. The first in a series of Bills to reform construction legislation was introduced to the Assembly in June 2013 and, if supported, will implement a system of continuing professional development for licensed construction practitioners.
  • Discussion papers on the Building Act review and the regulation of construction design practitioners will be released in the second half of 2013.
  • Two Heritage Unit staff successfully completed a course in government investigations, enabling the unit to better monitor and investigate compliance with the Heritage Act 2004.
  • Advice on 100% of development applications referred to the Heritage Unit was provided within the 15 day statutory time frame required under the Planning and Development Act 2007.