The Australian Capital Territory, formerly known as the Federal Capital Territory until 1938 and commonly referred to as the ACT, is a federal territory of Australia containing the Australian capital city of Canberra and some surrounding townships. It is located in the south-east of the country and is an enclave within the state of New South Wales. Founded after federation as the seat of government for the new nation, all important institutions of the Australian federal government are centred in the Territory.
On 1 January 1901, federation of the colonies of Australia was achieved. Section 125 of the new Australian Constitution provided that land, situated in New South Wales and at least 100 miles (160 km) from Sydney, would be ceded to the new federal government. Following discussion and exploration of various areas within New South Wales, the Seat of Government Act 1908 was passed in 1908 which specified a capital in the Yass-Canberra region. The territory was transferred to the Commonwealth by New South Wales in 1911, two years prior to the capital city being founded and formally named as Canberra in 1913.
While the overwhelming majority of the population reside in the city of Canberra in the ACT's north-east, the Territory also includes some surrounding townships such as Williamsdale, Naas, Uriarra, Tharwa and Hall. The ACT also includes the Namadgi National Park which comprises the majority of land area of the Territory. Despite a common misconception, the Jervis Bay Territory is not part of the ACT although the laws of the Australian Capital Territory apply as if Jervis Bay did form part of the ACT. The Territory has a relatively dry, contintental climate experiencing warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters.
The Australian Capital Territory is home to many important institutions of the federal government, national monuments and museums. This includes the Parliament of Australia, the High Court of Australia, the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Australian War Memorial. It also hosts the majority of foreign embassies in Australia as well as regional headquarters of many international organisations, not-for-profit groups, lobbying groups and professional associations. Several major universities also have campuses in the ACT including the Australian National University, the University of Canberra, the University of New South Wales, Charles Sturt University and the Australian Catholic University.
A locally elected legislative assembly has governed the Territory since 1988. However, the Commonwealth maintains authority over the Territory and may overturn local laws. It still maintains control over the area known as the Parliamentary Triangle through the National Capital Authority. Residents of the Territory elect three members to the House of Representatives and two Senators to the Australian Senate.
With 419,200 residents, the Australian Capital Territory is second smallest mainland state or territory by population. At the 2016 census, the median weekly income for people in the Territory aged over 15 was $998 and higher than the national average of $662. The average level of degree qualification in the ACT is also higher than the national average. Within the ACT, 37.1% of the population hold a bachelor's degree level or above education compared to the national figure of 20%.
|Australian Capital Territory|
|Slogan or nickname||The Nation's Capital|
|Motto(s)||For the Queen, the Law, and the People|
Other Australian states and territories
|• Chief Minister||Andrew Barr (ALP)|
|• Transferred to Commonwealth||1911|
|• Responsible government||1988|
|• Total||2,358 km² (8th)|
910 sq mi
|• Land||2,280 km²|
880 sq mi
|• Water||77.6 km² (3.29%)|
30 sq mi
|• Population||422,478 (7th)|
|• Density||185.30/km² (1st)|
479.9 /sq mi
|• Highest point||Bimberi Peak|
1,912 m (6,273 ft)
|• Lowest point||Murrumbidgee River|
429 m (1,407 ft)
|Gross territorial product |
|• Product ($m)||$39,442 (6th)|
|• Product per capita||$94,831 (3rd)|
|Time zone(s)||UTC+10 (AEST)|
|• House seats||3/151|
|• Senate seats||2/76|
|• ISO 3166-2||AU-ACT|
|• Floral||Royal bluebell|
|• Bird||Gang-gang cockatoo|
|• Colours||Blue and gold|
Indigenous Australian peoples have long inhabited the area. Evidence indicates habitation dating back at least 21,000 years. It is possible that the area was inhabited for considerably longer, with evidence of an Aboriginal presence in south-western New South Wales dating back around 40,000–62,000 years. The principal group occupying the region were the Ngunnawal people.
Following European settlement, the growth of the new colony of New South Wales led to an increasing demand for arable land. Governor Lachlan Macquarie supported expeditions to open up new lands to the south of Sydney.
The 1820s saw further exploration in the Canberra area associated with the construction of a road from Sydney to the Goulburn plains. While working on the project, Charles Throsby learned of a nearby lake and river from the local Indigenous peoples and he accordingly sent Wild to lead a small party to investigate the site. The search was unsuccessful, but they did discover the Yass River and it is surmised that they would have set foot on part of the future territory.
A second expedition was mounted shortly thereafter and they became the first Europeans to camp at the Molonglo (Ngambri) and Queanbeyan (Jullergung) Rivers. However, they failed to find the Murrumbidgee River. The issue of the Murrumbidgee was solved in 1821 when Charles Throsby mounted a third expedition and successfully reached the watercourse, on the way providing the first detailed account of the land where Canberra now resides.
The last expedition in the region prior to settlement was undertaken by Allan Cunningham in 1824. He reported that the region was suitable for grazing and the settlement of the Limestone Plains followed immediately thereafter.
The first land grant in the region was made to Joshua John Moore in 1823 and European settlement in the area began in 1824 with the construction of a homestead by his stockmen on what is now the Acton Peninsula. Moore formally purchased the site in 1826 and named the property Canberry or Canberra.
A significant influx of population and economic activity occurred around the 1850s goldrushes. The goldrushes prompted the establishment of communication between Sydney and the region by way of the Cobb & Co coaches, which transported mail and passengers. The first post offices opened in Ginninderra in 1859 and at Lanyon in 1860.
During colonial times, the European communities of Ginninderra, Molonglo and Tuggeranong settled and farmed the surrounding land. The region was also called the Queanbeyan-Yass district, after the two largest towns in the area. The villages of Ginninderra and Tharwa developed to service the local agrarian communities.
During the first 20 years of settlement, there was only limited contact between the settlers and Aboriginal people. Over the succeeding years, the Ngunnawal and other local indigenous people effectively ceased to exist as cohesive and independent communities adhering to their traditional ways of life. Those who had not succumbed to disease and other predations either dispersed to the local settlements or were relocated to more distant Aboriginal reserves set up by the New South Wales government in the latter part of the 19th century.
In 1898, a referendum on a proposed Constitution was held in four of the colonies – New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Although the referendum achieved a majority in all four colonies, the New South Wales referendum failed to gain the minimum number of votes needed for the bill to pass. Following this result, a meeting of the four Premiers in 1898 heard from George Reid, the Premier of New South Wales, who argued that locating the future capital in New South Wales would be sufficient to ensure the passage of the Bill. The 1899 referendum on this revised bill was successful and passed with sufficient numbers. Section 125 of the Australian Constitution thus provided that, following Federation in 1901, land would be ceded freely to the new Federal Government.
This, however, left open the question of where to locate the capital. In 1906 and after significant deliberations, New South Wales agreed to cede sufficient land on the condition that it was in the Yass-Canberra region, this site being closer to Sydney. Initially, Dalgety, New South Wales remained at the forefront, but Yass-Canberra prevailed after voting by federal representatives. The Seat of Government Act 1908 was passed in 1908, which repealed the 1904 Act and specified a capital in the Yass-Canberra region. Government surveyor Charles Scrivener was deployed to the region in the same year in order to map out a specific site and, after an extensive search, settled upon the present location.
The territory was transferred to the Commonwealth by New South Wales in 1911, two years prior to the naming of Canberra as the national capital in 1913.
In 1911, an international competition to design the future capital was held, which was won by the Chicago architect Walter Burley Griffin in 1912. The official naming of Canberra occurred on 12 March 1913 and construction began immediately.
After Griffin's departure following difficulty in implementing his project, the Federal Capital Advisory Committee was established in 1920 to advise the government of the construction efforts. The Committee had limited success meeting its goals. However, the chairman, John Sulman, was instrumental in applying the ideas of the garden city movement to Griffin's plan. The Committee was replaced in 1925 by the Federal Capital Commission.
In 1930, the ACT Advisory Council was established to advise the Minister for Territories on the community's concerns. In 1934, Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory was established.
From 1938 to 1957, the National Capital Planning and Development Committee continued to plan the further expansion of Canberra. However, the National Capital Planning and Development Committee did not have executive power, and decisions were made on the development of Canberra without the Committee's consultation. During this time, Prime Minister Robert Menzies regarded the state of the national capital as an embarrassment.
After World War II, there was a shortage of housing and office space in Canberra. A Senate Select Committee hearing was held in 1954 to address its development requirements. This Committee recommended the creation of a single planning body with executive power. Consequently, the National Capital Planning and Development Committee was replaced by the National Capital Development Commission in 1957. The National Capital Development Commission ended four decades of disputes over the shape and design of Lake Burley Griffin and construction was completed in 1964 after four years of work. The completion of the centrepiece of Griffin's design finally the laid the platform for the development of Griffin's Parliamentary Triangle.
In 1988, the new Minister for the Australian Capital Territory Gary Punch received a report recommending the abolition of the National Capital Development Commission and the formation of a locally elected government. Punch recommended that the Hawke government accept the report's recommendations and subsequently Clyde Holding introduced legislation to grant self-government to the Territory in October 1988.
The enactment on 6 December 1988 of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 established the framework for self-government. The first election for the 17-member Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly was held on 4 March 1989.
The initial years of self-government were difficult and unstable. A majority of ACT residents had opposed self-government and had it imposed upon them by the federal parliament. At the first election, 4 of the 17 seats were won by anti-self-government single-issue parties due to a protest vote by disgruntled territorians and a total of 8 were won by minor parties and independents.
In 1992, Labor won eight seats and the minor parties and independents won only three. Stability increased, and in 1995, Kate Carnell became the first elected Liberal chief minister. In 1998, Carnell became the first chief minister to be re-elected.
The Australian Capital Territory is the smallest mainland territory (aside from the Jervis Bay Territory) and covers a total land area of 2,280 square kilometres (560,000 acres).
It is bounded by the Goulburn-Cooma railway line in the east, the watershed of Naas Creek in the south, the watershed of the Cotter River in the west and the watershed of the Molonglo River in the north-east. These boundaries were set to give the ACT an adequate water supply. The ACT extends about 88.5 kilometres (55.0 mi) North-South between 35.124°S and 35.921°S, and 57.75 kilometres (35.88 mi) West-East between 148.763°E and 149.399°E. The city area of Canberra occupies the north-eastern corner of this area.
Apart from the city of Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory also contains agricultural land (sheep, dairy cattle, vineyards and small amounts of crops) and a large area of national park (Namadgi National Park), much of it mountainous and forested. Small townships and communities located within the ACT include Williamsdale, Naas, Uriarra, Tharwa and Hall.
Tidbinbilla is a locality to the south-west of Canberra that features the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, operated by the United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of its Deep Space Network.
There are a large range of mountains, rivers and creeks throughout the Territory and are largely contained within the Namadgi National Park. These include the Naas and Murrumbidgee Rivers.
The Territory has a relatively dry, contintental climate experiencing warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters. Under Köppen-Geiger classification, the Territory has an oceanic climate (Cfb).
January is the hottest month with an average high of 27.7 °C (81.9 °F). July is the coldest month when the average high drops to 11.2 °C (52.2 °F). The highest maximum temperature recorded in the Territory was 42.2 °C (108.0 °F) on 1 February 1968. The lowest minimum temperature was −10.0 °C (14.0 °F) on 11 July 1971.
Rainfall varies significantly across the Territory. Much higher rainfall occurs in the mountains to the west of Canberra compared to the east. The mountains act as a barrier during winter with the city receiving less rainfall. Average annual rainfall in the Territory is 629 millimetres (24.8 in) and there is an average of 108 rain days annually. The wettest month is October with an average rainfall of 65.3 millimetres (2.57 in) and the driest month is June with an average of 39.6 millimetres (1.56 in).
Frost is common in the winter months. Snow is rare in Canberra's city centre, but the surrounding areas get annual snowfall through winter and often the snow-capped mountains can be seen from the city. The last significant snowfall in the city centre was in 1968.
The environments range from alpine area on the higher mountains, to sclerophyll forest and to woodland. Much of the ACT has been cleared for grazing and is also burnt off by bushfires several times per century. The kinds of plants can be grouped into vascular plants, that include gymnosperms, flowering plants, and ferns, as well as bryophytes, lichens, fungi and freshwater algae. Four flowering plants are endemic to the ACT. Several lichens are unique to the Territory. Most plants in the ACT are characteristic of the Flora of Australia and include well known plants such as Grevillea, Eucalyptus trees and kangaroo grass.
The native forest in the Canberra region was almost wholly eucalypt species and provided a resource for fuel and domestic purposes. By the early 1960s, logging had depleted the eucalypt, and concern about water quality led to the forests being closed. Interest in forestry began in 1915 with trials of a number of species including Pinus radiata on the slopes of Mount Stromlo. Since then, plantations have been expanded, with the benefit of reducing erosion in the Cotter catchment, and the forests are also popular recreation areas.
The fauna of the Territory includes representatives from most major Australian animal groups. This includes kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, platypus, echidna, emu, kookaburras and dragon lizards.
Notable geological formations in the Australian Capital Territory include the Canberra Formation, the Pittman Formation, Black Mountain Sandstone and State Circle Shale.
In the 1840s fossils of brachiopods and trilobites from the Silurian period were discovered at Woolshed Creek near Duntroon. At the time, these were the oldest fossils discovered in Australia, though this record has now been far surpassed. Other specific geological places of interest include the State Circle cutting and the Deakin anticline.
The oldest rocks in the ACT date from the Ordovician around 480 million years ago. During this period the region along with most of Eastern Australia was part of the ocean floor; formations from this period include the Black Mountain Sandstone formation and the Pittman Formation consisting largely of quartz-rich sandstone, siltstone and shale. These formations became exposed when the ocean floor was raised by a major volcanic activity in the Devonian forming much of the east coast of Australia.
The ACT has internal self-government, but Australia's Constitution does not afford a territory legislature the high degree of independence provided to that of a state. Instead, each territory is governed under a Commonwealth statute—for the ACT, the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988. The Chief Minister performs many of the roles that a state governor normally holds in the context of a state; however, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly gazettes the laws and summons meetings of the Assembly.
The executive of the Australian Capital Territory, also known as the ACT Government, consists of the Chief Minister and such other Ministers as are appointed by the Chief Minister. The ACT Chief Minister (currently Andrew Barr, Labor) is elected by members of the Legislative Assembly. The Chief Minister represents the ACT Government as a member of the Council of Australian Governments.
Unlike other self-governing Australian territories (for example, the Northern Territory), the ACT does not have an Administrator. The Crown is represented in government of the ACT by the Australian Governor-General. Until 4 December 2011, the decisions of the assembly could be overruled by the Governor-General (effectively by the national government) under section 35 of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988, although the federal parliament voted in 2011 to abolish this veto power, instead requiring a majority of both houses of the federal parliament to override an enactment of the ACT.
The court system of the Territory consists of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory, the Magistrates Court of the Australian Capital Territory and the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. It is unique in that the Territory does not have an intermediary court like other mainland states and territories; there is only the superior court and a court of summary jurisdiction. As of April 2019 the Chief Justice is Helen Murrell and the current Chief Magistrate is Lorraine Walker.
In Australia's Federal Parliament, the ACT is represented by four federal members: two members of the House of Representatives represent the Division of Fenner and the Division of Canberra and it is one of only two territories to be represented in the Senate, with two Senators (the other being the Northern Territory). The Member for Fenner and the ACT Senators also represent the constituents of the Jervis Bay Territory. An additional electorate will be added at the 2019 election following a redistribution by the Australian Electoral Commission.
In 1915, the Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915 created the Jervis Bay Territory as an annexe to the Federal Capital Territory. While the Act's use of the language of "annexed" is sometimes interpreted as implying that the Jervis Bay Territory was to form part of the Federal Capital Territory, the accepted legal position is that it has been a legally distinct territory from its creation despite being subject to ACT law and, prior to ACT self-government in 1988, being administratively treated as part of the ACT.
In 1988, when the ACT gained self-government, Jervis Bay was formally pronounced as a separate territory administered by the Commonwealth known as the Jervis Bay Territory. However, the laws of the ACT continue to apply to the Jervis Bay Territory. Magistrates from the ACT regularly travel to the Jervis Bay Territory to conduct court.
Another occasional misconception is that the ACT retains a small area of territory on the coast on the Beecroft Peninsula, consisting of a strip of coastline around the northern headland of Jervis Bay. While the land is owned by the Commonwealth Government, that area itself is still considered to be under the jurisdiction of New South Wales government, not a separate territory nor a part of the ACT.
The overwhelming majority of the population reside in the city of Canberra.
The average level of degree qualification in the ACT is higher than the national average. Within the ACT, 37.1% of the population hold a bachelor's degree level or above education compared to the national figure of 20%.
The urban areas of Canberra are organised into a hierarchy of districts, town centres, group centres, local suburbs as well as other industrial areas and villages. There are seven districts (with an eighth currently under construction), each of which is divided into smaller suburbs, and most of which have a town centre which is the focus of commercial and social activities. The districts were settled in the following chronological order:
The North and South Canberra districts are substantially based on Walter Burley Griffin's designs. In 1967, the then National Capital Development Commission adopted the "Y Plan" which laid out future urban development in Canberra around a series of central shopping and commercial area known as the 'town centres' linked by freeways, the layout of which roughly resembled the shape of the letter Y, with Tuggeranong at the base of the Y and Belconnen and Gungahlin located at the ends of the arms of the Y.
|Country of Birth (2016)|
The 2016 census showed that 32% of the ACT's inhabitants were born overseas. Of inhabitants born outside of Australia, the most prevalent countries of birth were England, China, India, New Zealand and the Philippines.
At the 2016 census, 72.7 of people spoke only English at home. The other languages most commonly spoken at home were Mandarin (3.1%), Vietnamese (1.1%), Cantonese (1%), Hindi (0.9%) and Spanish (0.8%).
The most common responses in the 2016 census for religion in the Territory were No Religion (36.2%), Catholic (22.3%), Anglican (10.8%), Not stated (9.2%) and Hinduism (2.6%). In Australian Capital Territory, Christianity was the largest religious group reported overall (49.9%).
Almost all educational institutions in the Australian Capital Territory are located within Canberra. The ACT public education system schooling is normally split up into Pre-School, Primary School (K-6), High School (7–10) and College (11–12) followed by studies at university or CIT (Canberra Institute of Technology). Many private high schools include years 11 and 12 and are referred to as colleges. Children are required to attend school until they turn 17 under the ACT Government's "Learn or Earn" policy.
In February 2004 there were 140 public and non-governmental schools in ACT; 96 were operated by the Government and 44 are non-Government. In 2005, there were 60,275 students in the ACT school system. 59.3% of the students were enrolled in government schools with the remaining 40.7% in non-government schools. There were 30,995 students in primary school, 19,211 in high school, 9,429 in college and a further 340 in special schools.
As of May 2004, 30% of people in the ACT aged 15–64 had a level of educational attainment equal to at least a bachelor's degree, significantly higher than the national average of 19%. The two main tertiary institutions are the Australian National University (ANU) in Acton and the University of Canberra (UC) in Bruce. There are also two religious university campuses in Canberra: Signadou is a campus of the Australian Catholic University and St Mark's Theological College is a campus of Charles Sturt University. Tertiary level vocational education is also available through the multi-campus Canberra Institute of Technology.
The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and the Royal Military College, Duntroon (RMC) are in the suburb of Campbell in Canberra's inner northeast. ADFA teaches military undergraduates and postgraduates and is officially a campus of the University of New South Wales while Duntroon provides Australian Army Officer training.
The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) offers courses in computer game development and 3D animation.
The Australian Capital Territory is home to a number of major professional sports league franchise teams including the Canberra Raiders (rugby league), the Brumbies (rugby union), and the Canberra Capitals (basketball).
The Greater Western Sydney Giants (Australian rules football) play three regular season matches a year and one pre-season match in Canberra at Manuka Oval.
The Territory is home to many national monuments and institutions such as the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Library, the National Archives, the Australian Academy of Science, the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum. Many Commonwealth government buildings in Canberra are open to the public, including Parliament House, the High Court and the Royal Australian Mint.
Lake Burley Griffin is the site of the Captain James Cook Memorial and the National Carillon. Other sites of interest include the Telstra Tower, the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the National Zoo and Aquarium, the National Dinosaur Museum and Questacon – the National Science and Technology Centre.
The Canberra Museum and Gallery in the city is a repository of local history and art, housing a permanent collection and visiting exhibitions. Several historic homes are open to the public: Lanyon and Tuggeranong Homesteads in the Tuggeranong Valley, Mugga-Mugga in Symonston, and Blundells' Cottage in Parkes all display the lifestyle of the early European settlers. Calthorpes' House in Red Hill is a well-preserved example of a 1920s house from Canberra's very early days.
Canberra has many venues for live music and theatre: the Canberra Theatre and Playhouse which hosts many major concerts and productions; and Llewellyn Hall (within the ANU School of Music), a world-class concert hall are two of the most notable. The Albert Hall was Canberra's first performing arts venue, opened in 1928. It was the original performance venue for theatre groups such as the Canberra Repertory Society.
There are numerous bars and nightclubs which also offer live entertainment, particularly concentrated in the areas of Dickson, Kingston and the city. Most town centres have facilities for a community theatre and a cinema, and they all have a library. Popular cultural events include the National Folk Festival, the Royal Canberra Show, the Summernats car festival, Enlighten festival and the National Multicultural Festival in February.
Canberra and the Territory have a daily newspaper, The Canberra Times, which was established in 1926. There are also several free weekly publications, including news magazines CityNews and Canberra Weekly.
There are a number of AM and FM stations broadcasting throughout the ACT (AM/FM Listing). The main commercial operators are the Capital Radio Network (2CA and 2CC), and Austereo/ARN (104.7 and Mix 106.3). There are also several community operated stations as well as the local and national stations of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
A DAB+ digital radio trial is also in operation, it simulcasts some of the AM/FM stations, and also provides several digital only stations (DAB+ Trial Listing).
Five free-to-air television stations service the Territory:
Each station broadcasts a primary channel and several multichannels.
The Australian Capital Territory has two large public hospitals both located in Canberra: the approximately 600-bed Canberra Hospital in Garran and the 174-bed Calvary Public Hospital in Bruce. Both are teaching institutions. The largest private hospital is the Calvary John James Hospital in Deakin. Calvary Private Hospital in Bruce and Healthscope's National Capital Private Hospital in Garran are also major healthcare providers.
Canberra has 10 aged care facilities. Canberra's hospitals receive emergency cases from throughout southern New South Wales, and ACT Ambulance Service is one of four operational agencies of the ACT Emergency Services Authority. NETS provides a dedicated ambulance service for inter-hospital transport of sick newborns within the ACT and into surrounding New South Wales.
The automobile is by far the dominant form of transport in Canberra and the Territory. The city is laid out so that arterial roads connecting inhabited clusters run through undeveloped areas of open land or forest, which results in a low population density; this also means that idle land is available for the development of future transport corridors if necessary without the need to build tunnels or acquire developed residential land. In contrast, other capital cities in Australia have substantially less green space.
Canberra's districts are generally connected by parkways—limited access dual carriageway roads with speed limits generally set at a maximum of 100 km/h (62 mph). An example is the Tuggeranong Parkway which links Canberra's CBD and Tuggeranong, and bypasses Weston Creek. In most districts, discrete residential suburbs are bounded by main arterial roads with only a few residential linking in, to deter non-local traffic from cutting through areas of housing.
ACTION, the government-operated bus service, provides public transport throughout Canberra. Qcity Transit provides bus services between Canberra and nearby areas of New South Wales through their Transborder Express brand (Murrumbateman and Yass) and as Qcity Transit (Queanbeyan). A light rail line that opened in April 2019 links the CBD with the northern district of Gungahlin. At the 2016 census, 7.1% of the journeys to work involved public transport while 4.5% were on foot.
There are two local taxi companies. Aerial Capital Group enjoyed monopoly status until the arrival of Cabxpress in 2007. In October 2015, the ACT Government passed legislation to regulate ride sharing, allowing ride share services including Uber to operate legally in Canberra. The ACT Government was the first jurisdiction in Australia to enact legislation to regulate the service.
An interstate NSW TrainLink railway service connects Canberra to Sydney. Canberra's railway station is in the inner south suburb of Kingston. Train services to Melbourne are provided by way of a NSW TrainLink bus service which connects with a rail service between Sydney and Melbourne in Yass, about a one-hour drive from Canberra.
Canberra is about three hours by road from Sydney on the Federal Highway (National Highway 23), which connects with the Hume Highway (National Highway 31) near Goulburn, and seven hours by road from Melbourne on the Barton Highway (National Highway 25), which joins the Hume Highway at Yass. It is a two-hour drive on the Monaro Highway (National Highway 23) to the ski fields of the Snowy Mountains and the Kosciuszko National Park. Batemans Bay, a popular holiday spot on the New South Wales coast, is also two hours away via the Kings Highway.
Canberra Airport provides direct domestic services to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Gold Coast and Perth, with connections to other domestic centres. There are also direct flights to small regional towns: Dubbo and Newcastle in New South Wales. Regular commercial international flights operate to Singapore and Wellington from the airport four times a week. Canberra Airport is, as of September 2013, designated by the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development as a restricted use designated international airport. Until 2003, the civilian airport shared runways with RAAF Base Fairbairn. In June of that year, the Air Force base was decommissioned and from that time the airport was fully under civilian control.
The government-owned ACTEW Corporation manages the Territory's water and sewerage infrastructure. ActewAGL is a joint venture between ACTEW and AGL, and is the retail provider of Canberra's utility services including water, natural gas, electricity, and also some telecommunications services via a subsidiary TransACT.
Canberra's water is stored in four reservoirs, the Corin, Bendora and Cotter dams on the Cotter River and the Googong Dam on the Queanbeyan River. Although the Googong Dam is located in New South Wales, it is managed by the ACT government. ACTEW Corporation owns Canberra's two wastewater treatment plants, located at Fyshwick and on the lower reaches of the Molonglo River.
Electricity for Canberra mainly comes from the national power grid through substations at Holt and Fyshwick (via Queanbeyan). Power was first supplied from a thermal plant built in 1913, near the Molonglo River, but this was finally closed in 1957. The ACT has four solar farms, which were opened between 2014 and 2017: Royalla (rated output of 20 megawatts, 2014), Mount Majura (2.3 MW, 2016), Mugga Lane (13 MW, 2017) and Williamsdale (11 MW, 2017). In addition numerous houses in Canberra have photovoltaic panels and/or solar hot water systems. In 2015/16, rooftop solar systems supported by the ACT government's feed-in tariff had a capacity of 26.3 megawatts, producing 34,910 MWh. In the same year, retailer-supported schemes had a capacity of 25.2 megawatts and exported 28,815 MWh to the grid (power consumed locally was not recorded).
The ACT has the highest rate with internet access at home (94 per cent of households in 2014–15).
The economic activity of the Australian Capital Territory is heavily concentrated around the city of Canberra.
A stable housing market, steady employment and rapid population growth in the 21st century have led to economic prosperity and, in 2011, CommSec ranked the ACT as the second best performing economic region in the country. This trend continued into 2016, when the territory was ranked the third best performing out of all of Australia's states and territories.
In 2017-18, the ACT had the fastest rate of growth in the nation due to a rapid growth in population, a strongly performing higher education sector as well as a significant housing and infrastructure investment.
Higher education is the Territory's largest export industry. Canberra is home to a significant number of universities and higher education providers. The other major services exports of the ACT in 2017-18 were government services and personal travel. The major goods exports of the Territory in 2017-18 were gold coin, legal tender coin, metal structures and fish, though these represent a small proportion of the economy compared to services exports.
The economy of the ACT is largely dependent on the public sector with 30% of the jobs in the Territory being in the public sector. Decisions by the federal government regarding the public service can have a significant impact on the Territory's economy.
The ACT's gross state product in 2017-18 was $39,792,000,000 and the Territory's economy represents 2.2% of the overall gross domestic product of Australia.
While the Jervis Bay Territory was constituted as a separate Territory on acceptance by the Commonwealth, it was 'annexed' to the Federal Capital Territory, to the extent that the laws there in force from time to time were 'applied' in the still legally distinct Jervis Bay Territory.
The ACT Comets (also known as the Canberra Comets, previously the Federal Capital Territory) are a cricket team that represent the Australian Capital Territory. The Comets are the premier team of the Cricket ACT who are affiliated with Cricket Australia.ACT Government
The Australian Capital Territory Government, also referred to as the ACT Government, is the executive authority of the Australian Capital Territory, one of the territories of Australia. The leader of the party or coalition with the confidence of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly forms Government. Unlike the Australian States and the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly directly elects one of their number to be the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory as the head of the Government, rather than being appointed by a Governor or Administrator.Since December 2014, the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory has been Andrew Barr, leader of the Labor Party. Following the 2016 ACT election the Government has been formed by a coalition of twelve Labor members and two Greens members. The terms of the coalition are outlined in the Parliamentary Agreement for the 9th Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory.Ministers are appointed by the Chief Minister. The current ministry of the Australian Capital Territory comprises eight of the twenty five Members of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly.ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union
The ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union is the governing body for rugby union in the Australian Capital Territory and southern regions of New South Wales.
The union is represented by one team in the Super Rugby competition, the Brumbies. The ACT is also home to the Canberra Vikings in the National Rugby Championship.
The union was founded in 1937 as the Federal Capital Territory Rugby Union (FCTRU). It became the ACTRU in 1939, and eventually the ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union. It received its current name prior to the 2005 Super 12 season, when the Far South Coast and Southern Inland unions of New South Wales joined the ACT and Monaro Rugby Unions. This change also led to the former ACT Brumbies being renamed Brumbies Rugby.Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly
The Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory (known in short as the ACT Legislative Assembly) is the unicameral legislature of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It sits in the Legislative Assembly Building on Civic Square, close to the centre of the city of Canberra.Australian Labor Party (Australian Capital Territory Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (Australian Capital Territory Branch), commonly known as ACT Labor, is the ACT branch of the Australian Labor Party. It is one of two major parties in the unicameral Parliament of the Australian Capital Territory.
Originally a part of the Australian Labor Party (New South Wales Branch), the ALP National Conference established an autonomous ACT Branch in 1973. There have been four Labor Chief Ministers since self-government in 1989. The most recent is the current Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, who has served since 2014.
The current ACT Labor Platform notes that the objective of the party is social justice and the pursuit of a fair, just and equitable society.Canberra
Canberra ( (listen))
is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory; 280 km (170 mi) south-west of Sydney and 660 km (410 mi) north-east of Melbourne.
On 1 January 1901, federation of the colonies of Australia was achieved. Section 125 of the new Australian Constitution provided that land, situated in New South Wales and at least 100 miles (160 km) from Sydney, would be ceded to the new federal government. Following discussion and exploration of various areas within New South Wales, the Seat of Government Act 1908 was passed in 1908 which specified a capital in the Yass-Canberra region. The land was transferred to the Commonwealth by New South Wales in 1911 creating the Australian Capital Territory, two years prior to the capital city being founded and formally named as Canberra in 1913.
It is unusual among Australian cities, being an entirely planned city outside of any state, similar to Washington, D.C. in the United States or Brasília in Brazil. Following an international contest for the city's design, a blueprint by American architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913. The Griffins' plan featured geometric motifs such as circles, hexagons and triangles, and was centred on axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory. The city's design was influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation.
As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is home to many important institutions of the federal government, national monuments and museums. This includes Parliament House, the official residence of the monarch's representative the Governor-General, the High Court and numerous government departments and agencies. It is also the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance such as the Australian War Memorial, the Australian National University, the Royal Australian Mint, the Australian Institute of Sport, the National Gallery, the National Museum and the National Library. The city is also home to many important institutions of the Australian Defence Force including the Royal Military College Duntroon and the Australian Defence Force Academy. It also hosts the majority of foreign embassies in Australia as well as regional headquarters of many international organisations, not-for-profit groups, lobbying groups and professional associations.
Canberra does not have a local council or city government like other Australian cities. The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly performs the roles of both a city council for the city and a territory government for the rest of the Australian Capital Territory. The vast majority of the population of the Territory reside in Canberra though and the city is therefore the primary focus of the ACT Government. However, the federal government maintains authority over the Territory and may overturn local laws. It still maintains control over the area known as the Parliamentary Triangle through the National Capital Authority.
At the 2016 census, the population of Canberra was 395,790. As the city has a high proportion of public servants, the Commonwealth Government contributes the largest percentage of gross territory product and is the largest single employer in Canberra, although not the majority employer. Compared to the national averages, the unemployment rate is lower and the average income higher; tertiary education levels are higher, while the population is younger.Canberra Liberals
The Canberra Liberals, officially the Liberal Party of Australia (Australian Capital Territory Division), is the division of the Liberal Party of Australia in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The party has been in opposition in the ACT Legislative Assembly for much of its existence, but held power with the support of minor parties and independents between 1989 and 1991 and again between 1995 and 2001.Canberra railway station
Not to be confused with Canberra MRT station.Canberra railway station is located on the Bombala railway line in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia. It is located in the Canberra suburb of Kingston.Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
The Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory is the head of government of the Australian Capital Territory. The leader of the party with the largest representation of seats in the unicameral Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly usually takes on the role. Unlike other states and territories, the Chief Minister of the ACT is not nominally appointed by an administrator or viceroy, but elected directly by the Assembly. Since there are no local governments in the territory, the Chief Minister's role is not only roughly equivalent to that of the Premiers of the states of Australia, but also that of the mayor of a local council.
The current Chief Minister is Andrew Barr of the Labor Party, who was elected by the Assembly on 11 December 2014 following the resignation of Katy Gallagher.Craig Duby
Craig John Duby (born 20 February 1949), former Australian politician, was a member of the unicameral Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory between 1989 and 1992, elected to the multi-member single constituency Assembly as a representative of the No Self-Government Party. During his term in office, Duby was a member of the Independents Group and the Hare-Clark Independent Party. Duby was the Minister for Finance and Urban Services and briefly was the Minister for Housing and Community Services in the Kaine ministry. For part of one day, he served as the Leader of the Opposition.Electorates of the Australian states and territories
A State Electoral District is an electorate within the Lower House or Legislative Assembly of Australian states and territories. Most state electoral districts (except the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, which have multi-member electorates using a proportional voting method) send a single member to a state or territory's parliament using the preferential method of voting. The area of a state electoral district is dependent upon the Electoral Acts in the various states and vary in area between them. At present, there are 409 state electoral districts in Australia.
State electoral districts do not apply to the Upper House, or Legislative Council, in those states that have one (New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia). In New South Wales and South Australia, MLCs represent the entire state, in Tasmania they represent single-member districts, and in Victoria and Western Australia they represent a region formed by grouping electoral districts together.Fraser, Australian Capital Territory
Fraser is a suburb in the Belconnen district of Canberra, located within the Australian Capital Territory, Australia. Fraser lies at the north west end of Belconnen.
The suburb is named after James Reay Fraser, who was Member of the Australian House of Representatives for the Division of Australian Capital Territory from 1951 to 1970 and Vice Chairman of the Joint Committee of the Australian Capital Territory from 1959 to 1970. It was gazetted on 15 January 1974. Streets are named after early residents of Canberra.Mount Rogers reserve is part of Fraser with an elevation of 704 metres (2,310 ft). Fraser has a neighbourhood oval and primary school. It is bordered to the north by Kuringa Drive.
In 2011, the median house price for the suburb of Fraser was A$410,000.Hall, Australian Capital Territory
Hall is a township in the north of the Australian Capital Territory, Australia. At the 2016 census, the village had a population of 271 people. It is surrounded by open country and has a rural appearance. Hall has retained a village character. The township features historic buildings that existed before the establishment of Canberra.Katy Gallagher
Katherine Ruth Gallagher (born 18 March 1970) is an Australian politician who has been a Senator for the Australian Capital Territory since the 2019 federal election, representing the Australian Labor Party (ALP). She previously served in the Senate from 2015 to 2018, and was Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory from 2011 to 2014.
Gallagher grew up in Canberra and was a union organiser with the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) before entering politics. She was elected to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly in 2001, representing the electorate of Molonglo. She was made a minister under Jon Stanhope in 2002, and appointed Deputy Chief Minister in 2006. Gallagher became Chief Minister in 2011 after Stanhope's retirement, and led her party to a fourth consecutive term at the 2012 general election. She resigned in 2014 to seek preselection to the Senate.In March 2015, Gallagher was appointed to fill the casual vacancy caused by the retirement of Senator Kate Lundy. She was appointed to Bill Shorten's shadow ministry later in the year, and elected to the Senate in her own right at the 2016 federal election. She was subsequently elected Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate. In December 2017, during the parliamentary eligibility crisis, Gallagher was referred to the High Court. The court ruled in May 2018 that she was disqualified from sitting in the Senate for failing to renounce her British citizenship before nomination for election in 2016. She returned to her previous Senate seat at the 2019 federal election.Molonglo River
The Molonglo River, a perennial river that is part of the Murrumbidgee catchment within the Murray–Darling basin, is located in the Monaro and Capital Country regions of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, in Australia.Mount Clear (district)
Mount Clear is one of the original 18 districts of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).Mount Franklin (Australian Capital Territory)
Mount Franklin is a mountain with an elevation of 1,646 metres (5,400 ft) AHD in the Brindabella Ranges that is located on the border between the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales, Australia. The summit of the mountain is located in the Australian Capital Territory.
The mountain is located in the Bimberi Nature Reserve and the Namadgi National Park. A marked walking trail to the summit can be reached via Mount Franklin Road. The summit is accessible by bush walking trails and requires no specialised climbing skills. It is located close to Brindabella Station where the Australian author Miles Franklin once lived and the mountain is named after her family. The mountain is often covered in snow in winter and Australian ski pioneers based themselves at Mount Franklin from the 1930s. Nowadays, cross country skiing is possible in the area during winter, when conditions allow.Soccer in the Australian Capital Territory
Soccer (association football) in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is predominantly amateur with a local, interstate, national and international history. Football in the ACT is organised and administered by Capital Football and involves teams from within the ACT and surrounding NSW regions, Monaro, Southern Tablelands and Riverina.Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
The Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory is the highest court of the Australian Capital Territory. It has unlimited jurisdiction within the territory in civil matters and hears the most serious criminal matters.
The Court has the jurisdictional power to hear matters that relate to the Jervis Bay Territory, the Australian Antarctic Territory and the Heard and McDonald Islands Territory, although it has never exercised that power. It also hears matters on appeal from the Magistrates Court of the Australian Capital Territory.
Whilst the Supreme Court is the highest Australian Capital Territory court in the Australian court hierarchy, an appeal by special leave can be made to the High Court of Australia. Matters of appeal can also be submitted to the ACT Court of Appeal, which is constituted by members of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court consists of 5 permanent judges, including the Chief Justice of the Australian Capital Territory, presently Helen Murrell, 1 associate judge, 11 additional judges and 4 acting judges. The court has three main administrative units: Registry, Sheriff's Office and the Russell Fox Library.The court is located on Knowles Place near London Circuit at Civic, in Canberra, in the new ACT Law Courts building that it shares with the Magistrates Court.
|Climate data for Canberra Airport, ACT (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1939–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||41.6
|Average high °C (°F)||28.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||21.2
|Average low °C (°F)||13.7
|Record low °C (°F)||1.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||58.5
|Average precipitation days||7.3||6.7||6.9||7.3||8.4||9.8||10.5||11.1||10.2||10.4||9.8||7.7||106.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||294.5||254.3||251.1||219.0||186.0||156.0||179.8||217.0||231.0||266.6||267.0||291.4||2,813.7|
|Source #1: Climate averages for Canberra Airport Comparison (1939–2010)|
|Source #2: Special climate statements and climate summaries for more recent extremes|
Australian Capital Territory
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