Future planning for your area


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.


Future planning for your area occurs at both state and local council levels through:
  • state planning instruments (for example, metropolitan strategies, state planning policies, regional plans and development control plans); and
  • local planning instruments (planning schemes)

Every state or territory except Tasmania has a metropolitan strategic land use plan for its capital city.

The main future planning document is the planning scheme. The planning legislation in your state or territory sets out what must be included in the planning scheme, how it is approved and changed, and who has authority to make decisions. State planning instruments override the planning scheme if there is a conflict between documents.

The planning scheme contains a strategic land use plan used to guide planning decisions for the next 15-20 years. The strategic land use plan shows preferred location of major land uses such as residential, commercial, industrial and open space, and how the area will grow and develop into the future.

The planning scheme may also contain a local area plan for your neighbourhood, providing more detailed planning and land use controls that take account of the special characteristics of your local area. If a local area plan is in place its detailed land use controls override the more general land use controls in the planning scheme if there is a conflict between the controls.

During preparation of the strategic land use plan, the planning authority, together with the community, considers goals and objectives for the area into the future and reviews information such as:
  • population projections and the need for additional housing;
  • types and location of roads;
  • available services such as sewer and water; and
  • need for additional services like schools and shopping

This information can change over time. For example, population numbers may grow or decline in an area; or the proportion of aged citizens may increase, which in turn creates different community needs to those that existed when the strategic land use plan was first developed. For this reason planning schemes are required to be regularly reviewed, typically every 5-8 years (or more frequently in areas experiencing high population growth).

Related topics:
More on-line resources:

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

General town planning information:
Ecological sustainability:
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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