The legal framework for planning and development is established by the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988 (Commonwealth), the PALM Act. The PALM Act provided for the self-government of the ACT and the transition from oversight of planning and development by the National Capital Development Corporation. The Act provides the regulatory framework for planning and development within the ACT.
The PALM Act s6 establishes the National Capital Authority to prepare and administer a National Capital Plan, oversight of Designated Areas and to manage National Land on behalf of the Commonwealth.
The requirement for the establishment of a Territory planning authority with responsibility for the preparation of a “Territory Plan” is set out in s25. The object (s25 (2)) of the Territory Plan is “the planning and development of the Territory to provide the people of the Territory with an attractive, safe and efficient environment in which to live and work and have their recreation”.
The PALM Act s26 then ensures its alignment with the National Capital Plan stating, “The Territory Plan has no effect to the extent that it is inconsistent with the National Capital Plan, but the Territory Plan shall be taken to be consistent with the National Capital Plan to the extent that it is capable of operating concurrently with the National Capital Plan”.