Project Description

Informing the successful governance of Canberra’s        Civic Square Precinct


The Cultural Facilities Corporation (CFC) operates the Theatre
Centre and Canberra Museum and Gallery, in the civic heart of
Canberra, as well as historic properties elsewhere in the ACT. With
substantial precinct development proposals being progressed in
the CFC’s area by the City Renewal Authority, the board of the
Corporation was keen to ensure that management and governance
arrangements for the enlarged precinct are appropriate for the

In many cultural precincts there is no dedicated entity, or formalised
structure, for managing and programming the public domain areas
of the precinct. While this is common, it does not necessarily
secure the best public outcome, as it fails to stimulate activation
of the public realm, and build a strong precinct brand and sense
of destination. With this in mind, consideration was needed on the
best options available for Canberra’s Civic Square precinct.


Five benchmark precincts were identified in consultation with
the CFC Board Executive and Senior Teams, including precincts
which were of a comparable scale and infrastructure range to
that envisaged for Civic Square, and which ranged in governance
and management models. These included Aotea Cultural Quarter,
Auckland; Federation Square, Melbourne; HOTA (Home of the Arts),
Gold Coast; Melbourne Arts Precinct and Queensland Cultural
Precinct, Brisbane. For the shortlisted precincts available data
from public domain sources was gathered, and supplemented
by interviews with a management representative from each of
the Precincts. Drawing on this information, we advised on the
implications and considerations for successful operations of the
precinct moving forward.


Positive Solutions was engaged by the Cultural Facilities Corporation
(CFC) to undertake research and report on management options
that have been adopted, both in Australia and overseas, for cultural
precincts comparable to the Civic Square Precinct, Canberra.


The data was provided in a Report to the CFC. The benchmark
evidence of operating arrangements and the treatment of costs and
revenues in other precincts informed the Board’s consideration,
and possible future discussions with Government regarding the
operation of the Civic Square Precinct.