Key stakeholders in the planning system


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.


Most people only become aware of the planning process if they wish to build or extend their own home, or in response to a development application that is publicly notified in their neighbourhood.

Other people, such as developers, town planners and the various professionals associated with land development deal with the planning process every day of their working lives.

Because so many economic, environmental and social needs have a land component and trade-offs must be made between these needs, town planning must manage interactions with a wide range of interest groups. The way we each view a town planning issue or development depends on the lens we are looking through. For example, a shop owner may view a development application for a new and competing business in their business centre differently to a local resident wanting more variety and competition in their local shops.

In addition to the planning authorities who make town planning decisions, key stakeholders in the planning process are typically:
  • community members
  • developers; and
  • key agencies

Community members
The community has a key role in the planning and development of cities and towns and rights under planning legislation. When a new planning scheme is proposed by the local council, there is opportunity for community comment. The community also has the right to make submissions about some development applications and have appeal rights against some planning decisions. Some property owners want maximum flexibility in doing what they want with their land, and minimum flexibility for their neighbours. This can lead to conflicts about development proposals.

Most development occurs through actions of private developers following approval of a development application. Developers have a key role in providing land and housing stock, as well as other privately owned facilities such as shops, offices and industrial buildings. As applicants, developers have rights under planning legislation, such as time frames for deciding development applications and appeal rights against some planning decisions. Developers have an incentive to push planning and zoning rules in order to maximise returns on investment. This can lead to conflicts about development proposals.

Key agencies
Many departments, commissions, authorities and panels have roles in planning.The states and territories each have different bases for how referrals to specialist government agencies and departments (such as environment, infrastructure and heritage protection) and panels are triggered in the planning process. Some have direct responsibilities for implementation and enforcement under planning legislation, while others have an important influence on outcomes. Government land organisations (GLOs) are not regulators but can have an important impact on land availability.

Related topics:
More on-line resources:

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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