Making your voice heard


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.


There are a number of different ways to participate in planning decisions in your area, both in the preparation of the planning scheme and in lodging a submission on a development application affecting you.

Planning scheme preparation:

You can participate by lodging a submission about the draft planning scheme, attending public meetings and perhaps serving on committees that are working to advise the planning authority during preparation or review of the planning scheme.

Submission on a development application:

If a development application is publicly notified, you can lodge a submission during the notification period and this must be taken into account by the planning authority when making its decision.

If you make a written comment on a development application that is not publicly notified, or your submission to a publicly notified application is not received during the notification period, you will not have appeal rights.


Community consultation also occurs during preparation of some state level planning instruments. When this occurs, you can participate by lodging a submission and attending any public meetings held.

Making it count

There are a number of ways of making sure your submission has the most impact.

Before making your submission, carefully read the documents you want to comment on and attend any public displays or meetings to make sure you understand what is proposed and how it will affect you. The planning authority will have copies of these documents available for inspection and purchase.

To be most effective your submission should:
  • comply with the submission requirements stated on the public notification, including being signed, in the correct format and lodged in the timeframe stated; as well as stating the grounds on which your submission is based;
  • focus on planning principles rather than your individual circumstances. Planning principles could include your reasonable expectations for the area based on the current planning scheme, the impact on your amenity, whether there is a community need for what is proposed, and any environmental issues or economic factors; and
  • be clearly structured and as objective as possible.

Individual submissions are generally more effective than form letters or petitions.

It is important to note that making a submission will not necessarily ensure that specific concerns of individuals or community groups will be resolved. It is inevitable that differences and disagreements about suitability or otherwise of a plan or development proposal will remain among the different stakeholders involved.

Related topics:
More on-line resources:

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

General town planning information:
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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