Special cases


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.


Land use controls contained in planning schemes apply to most land in Australia, including land in government ownership as well as land in private ownership.
However, there are some special cases where the land use controls contained in planning schemes do not apply, including:

• land owned by the Commonwealth, such as major airports, defence lands and national parks

Exempt development as defined in planning legislation

Existing uses as defined in planning legislation
• land below high water mark

• land covered by special legislation instead of the more general planning legislation

In these special cases a development application to the local council may not be required, but other approval processes may apply.
Planning legislation also includes reserve powers for a state and territory government to override the authority of the local council in certain circumstances, such as where the impact of a proposed development would have state or regional significance.
The planning system also has a number of special agencies and processes set up to by-pass the normal path of a development application and approval, such as state or territory government land organisations (GLOs).

Related topics:
1.2 Planning language
1.3 Important points about planning
1.6 Legal framework for planning decisions

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: 9 Dec 2013

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