Apart from the city of Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory also contains agricultural land (sheep, dairy cattle, vineyards and small amounts of crops) and a large area of national park (Namadgi National Park), much of it mountainous and forested. Small townships and communities located within the ACT include Williamsdale, Naas, Uriarra, Tharwa and Hall.
Tidbinbilla is a locality to the south-west of Canberra that features the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, operated by the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of its Deep Space Network.
There are a large range of mountains, rivers and creeks throughout the Territory and are largely contained within the Namadgi National Park. These include the Naas and Murrumbidgee Rivers.
Jervis Bay Territory:
In 1915, the Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915 created the Jervis Bay Territory as an annex to the Federal Capital Territory. While the Act’s use of the language of “annexed” is sometimes interpreted as implying that the Jervis Bay Territory was to form part of the Federal Capital Territory, the accepted legal position is that it has been a legally distinct territory from its creation despite being subject to ACT law and, prior to ACT self-government in 1988, being administratively treated as part of the ACT.
In 1988, when the ACT gained self-government, Jervis Bay was formally pronounced as a separate territory administered by the Commonwealth known as the Jervis Bay Territory. However, the laws of the ACT continue to apply to the Jervis Bay Territory. Magistrates from the ACT regularly travel to the Jervis Bay Territory to conduct court.
Another occasional misconception is that the ACT retains a small area of territory on the coast on the Beecroft Peninsula, consisting of a strip of coastline around the northern headland of Jervis Bay. While the land is owned by the Commonwealth Government, that area itself is still considered to be under the jurisdiction of New South Wales government, not a separate territory nor a part of the ACT.
The economic activity of the Australian Capital Territory is heavily concentrated around the city of Canberra.
A stable housing market, steady employment and rapid population growth in the 21st century have led to economic prosperity and, in 2011, CommSec ranked the ACT as the second best performing economic region in the country. This trend continued into 2016, when the territory was ranked the third best performing out of all of Australia’s states and territories.
In 2017-18, the ACT had the fastest rate of growth in the nation due to a rapid growth in population, a strongly performing higher education sector as well as a significant housing and infrastructure investment.
Higher education is the Territory’s largest export industry. Canberra is home to a significant number of universities and higher education providers. The other major services exports of the ACT in 2017-18 were government services and personal travel. The major goods exports of the Territory in 2017-18 were gold coin, legal tender coin, metal structures and fish, though these represent a small proportion of the economy compared to services exports.