Development Approval - Australian Capital Territory

Service summary

You may require this approval if you intend to build or undertake certain types of renovations in ACT. The scale and potential environmental impact of your proposed development will determine which of the three processes your proposal must undergo before it may be approved. More basic development proposals are required to be approved through the Code track. Examples of these developments include:

  • Large pergola
  • Below ground swimming pool
  • Dual occupancy proposal
  • House extension.

Most developments fall into the Merit track process. Examples include:

  • Childcare centre in a residential area
  • Gym in a commercial area
  • Apartments in a commercial area.

Proposed developments of a significant size, or those likely to impact on the environment, are assessed through the Impact track. Examples include:

  • Major dams
  • Major roads, light rail or other forms of transport infrastructure
  • Clearing large areas of native vegetation for any purpose.

Please be aware that some types of development are exempt from requiring this approval, for example building a house in a new housing area. Similarly, some developments are prohibited, for example construction of an industrial facility in a residential zone.

Please consult the attached guide and / or the Contact Officer for further details specific to your proposed development.

Service type


A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the approval of your development you must comply with certain land use, design and final assessment requirements. These requirements may differ according to the development's type, location, environmental impact, scale and complexity.

Please note that if your development proposal is within the boundary of an impact track, such as a heritage impact track, then you must provide a completed environmental impact statement with your application. There is currently an impact track in place over the development of light rail facilities from Gungahlin town centre to Civic. Additionally, if your application relates to leased Crown land, you must submit an estimate of the lease variation charge using the attached form.

Please be aware that there are extensive new requirements regarding environmental offsets, it is recommended that you consult the Contact Officer for more information regarding eligibility requirements.



The duration of the approval will vary according to the project.



Fees are listed on the attached document.

Administering agency

Environment and Planning Directorate
Planning and Land Authority

Act(s) name

Planning and Development Act 2007 (Australian Capital Territory)

Contact details

Enquiries, Licensing Unit
Environment and Planning Directorate
Planning and Land Authority
Environment and Planning Directorate
Planning and Land Authority
ACT Architects Board

Operating address:
Ground Floor South, Dame Pattie Menzies House
16 Challis Street
Australian Capital Territory 2602
Mailing address:
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601


02 6207 1923


02 6207 1925

Supporting information


The information contained on the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) web site, or via packages or other sources is intended for general guidance only.

To the full extent permitted by law, the Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments make no representations or warranties (expressed or implied) in relation to the information, including its accuracy, currency or completeness.

The business information provided does not constitute professional or legal advice, nor is the use of any third party resource an endorsement of the information contained, the associated organisation, product or service. It is recommended that you obtain appropriate professional and /or independent legal advice to ensure that the material provided here is relevant to your particular circumstances.

To the full extent permitted by law the Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments, their employees and agents do not accept any liability for any reason, including without limitation, liability in negligence, to any person for the general information which is provided herein, or in respect of anything, including the consequences of anything done, or not done, by any such person in whole or partial reliance upon the information.