Applying for development approval


Information in this topic is worded in a general way to suit the circumstances in all Australian states and territories. If you require more specific information about town planning in your state, you will find it in the relevant ebooks and DVDs.

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


There is a wealth of information available from state and territory governments and your local council about applying for development approval, including guidelines for completing the development application form.

The application must be made correctly (also known as “properly made”) before lodging with the planning authority (usually the local council). Application requirements are set out in the relevant planning legislation and include:

• using the correct application form
• paying the application fee; and
• including accurate drawings and written information to adequately describe the proposed development and to show how it complies with the relevant land use controls.

Applying for development approval can be a complex matter depending on the proposed development and the land use controls that apply. For this reason, many planning authorities recommend that a town planner be engaged to prepare the development application.

Before lodging the application

As well as providing a town planning enquiry service through the council’s public counter and by telephone or electronically, many councils also offer a pre-lodgement interview with town planners and other professional staff.
At a pre-lodgement interview, an applicant can discuss a proposed development before the development application is lodged to find out what technical issues need to be addressed in preparing the development application.
After approval

After a development application is approved and any conditions of approval are met, the development can commence. Conditions of approval attach to the land, rather than the applicant, and must be met by both current and future owners.
Planning legislation sets out the process and penalties that could apply if the approved development is not operating in accordance with the conditions of approval. Planning legislation also sets out the process and penalties if development occurs without the necessary approval having first been granted by the planning authority.

Related topics:
1.2 Planning language
1.6 Legal framework for planning decisions
3.1 When development approval is required

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: 27 November 2011

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