Important points about planning


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.


Point 1: Each Australian state or territory has developed its own distinct planning system and the terms and tools used can vary.

Point 2: Town planning is concerned with achieving ecological sustainability and acting in the public interest. This means that planning decisions should be made in the interests of common well-being or general welfare of the community. It is possible for decisions in the public interest to disadvantage given individuals.

Point 3: Land use control is one means of achieving ecological sustainability. There are two components of controlling land use – firstly, preparation of a strategic land use plan for an area (known as strategic planning) and secondly, application of a set of standards to the assessment of development applications so that the form of urban settlement set out in the strategic land use plan is achieved (known as statutory planning).

Point 4: Land use controls only apply to future land uses. The system of land use control is only triggered if a new development is proposed or commences unlawfully. The fact that a strategic land use plan and land use controls exist for an area will not correct past mistakes.

Point 5: Good planning can create an environment for efficient and effective cities and towns, but the outcome is also dependent on other factors such as the economic environment and government investment in infrastructure.

Point 6: Town planning is both a forward looking activity and a decision-making process. It is a legal process and involves rights and obligations for all stakeholders. Planning schemes have the force of law and must be prepared, administered and implemented according to law. This is also the reason planning schemes cannot be changed quickly.

Point 7: Opportunity for the community to comment on proposed government policy affecting them is a fundamental principle of democratic government. This principle is incorporated in planning legislation and is part of the planning process in each state and territory. For example, community members have rights to make submissions about proposed new planning schemes and some development applications.

Point 8: Town planning decisions are often controversial because there are many, varied, and sometimes conflicting, stakeholder interests and values. For every significant town planning decision made by the different levels of government, there are often strong views, both in favour and against.

Point 9: Land use controls apply to land, not people. This means that a development approval attaches to the land and continues to apply even if land ownership changes.

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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