On 19 February 2008, the then Minister for Home Affairs, the Honourable Bob Debus MP, asked the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories to inquire into and report on the role of the National Capital Authority.
The terms of reference provided for the Joint Standing Committee to inquire into were:
- the administration of the National Capital Plan with particular emphasis on the reduction of red tape and duplication of municipal and local planning functions, the jurisdiction of ACT spatial policy and harmonisation of planning systems
- whether the governance arrangements for the Authority provide a sufficient balance between the independence of the Authority's planning decisions and its accountability for its operations
- the appropriate level of oversight required to achieve the highest standards in design for areas of national significance
- opportunities to ensure cooperation with the ACT planning authority and increased engagement with the Canberra community
- the effective national promotion of the National Capital, and the roles of the Authority and the ACT Government in advocacy for new infrastructure projects including responsibility for events and developing the distinctive character of the National Capital.
The Joint Standing Committee tabled its report The Way Forward—Inquiry into the National Capital Authority in the Australian Parliament on 16 July 2008. The Joint Standing Committee made 22 recommendations about the National Capital Authority and the planning system in the national capital.
The Australian Government tabled its response to the Joint Standing Committee's report on 11 December 2008.