Appealing a planning decision


Information in this topic is worded in a general way to suit the circumstances in all Australian states and territories.

You will find an explanation of words in italics in 1.2 Planning language.


Like most government decisions relating to individual rights, decisions by planning authorities on development applications can be challenged. The formal means of doing this is by lodging an appeal.

Appeals can be lodged by either an applicant, and in most states and territories, by a person who has lodged a submission about a development application provided the submission has met the minimum requirements to qualify for appeal rights. A non-applicant appeal is known as a "third party"appeal.

In general terms:

• an applicant can appeal a decision to refuse a development application or, if the application is approved with conditions, can appeal one or more of the conditions of approval. In some cases, an applicant can also appeal against the time taken for a planning authority to decide a development application; and

• a submitter can appeal a decision to approve an application or can appeal one or more of the conditions of approval.
Appeal process

Appeal process

An appeal requests the court (or other body) to set aside the planning authority’s decision and replace it with a new decision more favourable to the person lodging the appeal (also known as the “appellant”). The court (or other body) considers the application from the beginning and is not limited to merely reviewing the planning authority’s decision.

The appeal process is set out in relevant state and territory planning legislation and includes:

• format and timing for lodging the appeal;

• steps to help resolve the appeal including alternative dispute resolution; and
• arrangements for conducting the appeal.
You are allowed to represent yourself in the court, but it is recommended that you engage a lawyer, particularly if the matter is complicated.

Related topics:
1.2 Planning language
1.6 Legal framework for planning decisions

More on-line resources:

Planning scheme and development applications:
• Your local council’s website

Planning legislation, planning process, and planning instruments in each state or territory:

We will build this list over time and invite you to contact us with suggested links you are aware of that can be added to this page.

Want to know more?
Is there something more you want to know about this topic? Contact us with your ideas for future inclusion in TOWN PLANNING FOR EVERYONE resources.

©The Planning Academy 2011
Last updated: 9 Dec 2013

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