What are people saying about it?

Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman

Embedding a design review panel as part of the predevelopment application process can reduce the risk, time and potential costs for a development proposal, including public infrastructure proposals, by identifying issues early in the design process to gain a level of certainty before investing in detail design and a development application

Property Council of Australia’s ACT Executive Director Adina Cirson

We are extremely supportive of the DRP concept and have actively encouraged our members to pass through the panel… We are very concerned that given the short time frame given for commencement, and the broader remit for projects which now must go through the DRP, we are concerned this will cause further delays.

Geocon Director Planning and Development Dan Stewart

Given the ACT Government’s recent decision to broaden the remit of its Design Review Panel (DRP), perhaps it is time to establish assessment panels in the ACT to consider Development Applications in their entirety – not only to speed up applications but also to provide transparency to the decision-making process.

Andrew Wall, MLA, on behalf of ACT Shadow Minister for Planning Mark Parton

There needs to be further clarity around whether or not the design review panel advice is only advisory or if it is binding and required to be adhered to in order for approval to be granted; and, in instances where there is an inconsistency, whose decision is final… The opposition also has concern about the additional administrative burden that this places on our planning system. These changes will do very little in improving building quality but go a great way to adding additional red tape and processing times to construction projects.

Caroline Le Couteur, MLA

The design review panel is a good initiative… Canberra people would like higher quality development; they would like development which looks better, which respects the public realm, and which is just better built.

What is the National Capital Design Review Panel (NCDRP)?

The NCDRP is made up of multi-disciplinary experts across planning, design and development supervised by the ACT Government Architect and the NCA’s Chief Planner. It was established by the ACT Government and National Capital Authority on an interim basis in September 2017 to provide independent design advice and recommendations to government and developers as they prepare development applications for significant developments. These include large-scale developments in Canberra’s economic hubs and along major approach routes.

As of 1 October 2019, the panel will be permanent and provide guidance on “significant development proposals” including those referred by the Minister of Planning and Land Management, proposed developments that are five storeys or above and self-referred developments. It is guided by the Design Principles for the ACT.

Developers with projects that meet the criteria for review will either be required to formally present to the panel or attend a roundtable discussion.

The panel cannot approve or reject applications. Its advice is confidential and free. However, developers must respond to the feedback in their development applications, which are put on public notification.

Independent planning panels are common across Australia and mandatory across metropolitan Sydney and Wollongong for developments valued between $5 million and $30 million.

NCDRP Information Booklet