Barlow, Karen: National Capital Authority finds little support or understanding: poll

Karen Barlow

National Capital Authority finds little support or understanding: poll‘, Canberra Times, 9 August 2021

Reports poll from The Australian Institute (national poll of 1004 people) where respondents were asked whether they ‘agree or disagree that the National Capital Authority should be abolished so the ACT government and parliament can make planning decisions for all of Canberra?’

The poll found just under half of Australians supported abolishing the NCA, compared to just 13 per cent who supported the NCA. A high figure (38 per cent) were unsure.

The report includes comments from Ben Oquist of TAI supporting reform. It also mentions the recent example of the NCA’s consultation on the War Memorial early works, where the Authority was criticised for its cavalier approach to mass opposition.

Heritage Guardians submitted comment on the Barlow article:

The NCA’s recent decision on so-called early works for the War Memorial has raised fundamental questions about the role of the Authority and whether it deserves to continue. At the very least, the Authority’s protocols for approving large works like the $498m Memorial project need to be changed. These methods may be adequate for the small projects the Authority mostly deals with but were clearly overwhelmed by the Memorial project, not just by the number of submissions received from opponents but by the power of the project proponents. The NCA is an inadequate, underpowered boutique organisation whose time is past. The future of our national capital is bleak unless it has stronger advocates. We are destined for more inappropriate, unnecessary extravagances like the War Memorial redevelopment.

Heritage Guardians’ commentary on the NCA’s AWM early works consultation report is also relevant. See particularly section 12, which has suggestions for reform, particularly relating to the works approval process.


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