Canberra as a Restorative City

Acknowledgement of country

The ACT Government acknowledges the Ngunnawal people, the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live and conduct our business. We pay our respects to Ngunnawal Elders past, present, and emerging. We recognise the continuing culture and connection to country of the Ngunnawal people, and of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia. When we talk about Canberra becoming a restorative city, we also recognise that in many different ways, these principles have been – and continue to be – practiced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across this continent.

What is a restorative city?

A ‘restorative city’ is based on the principles of ‘restorative practice’. Restorative practice is all about recognising that relationships are central to our wellbeing, community and society. Restorative practices can be used as a shared approach to problem solving based on respect, accountability and support.

A restorative city operates by using restorative practices. Of course, this can happen in many different ways. It’s up to all of us to decide what this means for Canberra.

restorative city principles

Ultimately, it’s what matters to our community that will shape Canberra’s values as a restorative city.

Our progress

our progress

Within the ACT Government, there are a number of programs and initiatives underway to work towards making Canberra a restorative city. There are also many more examples being undertaken by community groups, non-government organisations, and individual citizens. This is a snapshot of the ACT Government work to date.

You can read more about initiatives underway in the ACT Government here.

Looking ahead

looking ahead


How to get involved

We want everyone to be included and involved in working towards Canberra as a Restorative City. If you are working on a restorative project or initiative, please let us know by visiting our website so we can collect your story. If you have ideas or questions about restorative practice or Canberra as a Restorative City, please reach out to us through our website.

Each of us is a part of Canberra’s unique journey to becoming a restorative city. We can’t wait to see what we can do together as a community.


Come along to a meeting of the Canberra Restorative Community Network – an open network of practitioners, professionals, academics and people interested in expanding their knowledge of restorative practice.

Get in touch with the Network 




Visit the ACT Government website for Canberra as a Restorative City:




Find ways to build restorative practice into your life – with colleagues, with family, with friends, and with people you’ve never met.


About Canberra as a Restorative City

In 2016, the ACT Legislative Assembly called on our community to work towards the declaration of Canberra as a restorative city. Today, the ACT uses restorative practices across a number of sectors – in our justice system, in our schools, in family support programs and in healthcare initiatives, to name just a few. The scope for restorative approaches is broad, as the work underway highlights.

But there is much more that can be done.

Our city is growing and becoming more diverse. We are preparing for and responding to changes in our climate. We are maintaining a high standard of living while simultaneously diversifying our economy. All of these changes present both opportunities and challenges. By approaching them restoratively – that is, by valuing relationships, treating each other with care and respect, and solving problems collectively – we can make sure that we are responsive to the needs of our most vulnerable community members in adapting to change.

This document outlines our vision for Canberra as a restorative city. It outlines the sorts of principles that restorative cities are built on and some of the work we have done to date. Ultimately, it is up to this community to decide where we might go from here, and how we want to move forward together.

I thank all those within the ACT and beyond who have contributed to this work so far and who continue to support Canberra on its journey towards becoming a restorative city. I also thank those who put restorative values into practice every day in quiet and often unrecognised ways – your efforts provide the foundations for this entire initative.


Gordon Ramsay MLA


Our vision for Canberra as a restorative city.

LRAC report

The Law Reform Advisory Council (LRAC) was a collaboration between the ACT Government and ANU College of Law to provide expert advice and recommendations to the Attorney-General on issues of law reform, between 2009 and 2018. In 2016 the LRAC was tasked with undertaking an inquiry into what it would mean for Canberra to become a restorative city (focusing on the legal and justice spheres), and how the ACT could best go about reaching this goal.

The LRAC conducted extensive research, interviews, and consultation to hear from a range of people about Canberra’s potential as a restorative city, and areas where restorative approaches could be particularly meaningful. The LRAC delivered its final report in October 2018, including fourteen recommendations about diverse areas of ACT Government.

To support the LRAC report, the Justice and Community Safety Directorate has put together a summary of restorative practice initiatives across all directorates of the ACT Government. For Canberra to become a restorative city, we will have to work together across the whole of government and community.

We invite you to take a look at each of these documents, and to think about what role you want to play in Canberra’s journey to becoming a restorative city.

Law Reform Advisory Council Final Report.

Justice and Community Safety Directorate Supporting Document.

Share your story of restorative practice

We’re collecting people’s stories of restorative practice to share them across Canberra. We want to recognise and honour the work that has been and continues to be done in this space, and we want to inspire others to build restorative practice into their lives.

To share your story, start by emailing us at You might want to describe what the project or task that you did was, why you did it, and what about it was restorative. You can also tell us about anything you like – what motivated you to do it, what’s happened since, or what you hope to see in the future. Feel free to tell your story however feels best to you.

When we receive it, our Restorative City team will read through your story and may suggest edits for clarity or to help it fit easily onto the website. We’ll work with you to make sure you’re comfortable with it before it goes anywhere. If you’re not sure, we’re happy to wait as long as you want.

Our team will also ask you whether you’d like your name published with your story or contact details in case people want to find out more. All of this will be optional.

So please, get in touch. Tell us about your projects, your successes, and what could have gone better. Each of our journeys form part of the whole that is Canberra as a Restorative City.