Why participate?


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.


If planning schemes are to reflect community values and priorities, it is essential that average citizens become involved in planning.

If you want to help shape future decisions about land use changes in your area, then you need to participate in the planning process.

Through the planning process, you can influence decisions affecting land use and, therefore, the environment in which you live, work and play. Your involvement is also important in providing knowledge of your local area to town planners and planning authorities.

How can you have the most influence on planning for your area?

It is important to become involved early in the planning process. If community preferences are expressed in formulating strategic land use plans, then these plans can be built around community opinions and preferences rather than those opinions and preferences emerging at later stages.

Often, the first time people decide to become involved in planning is when a development application affecting them is publicly notified and an attempt is made to influence the decision. If the development application is for a proposed development that complies with all relevant land use controls, the stage has already been set for an approval and it can be difficult to change the outcome.

Planning authorities must follow the adopted strategic land use plan and land use controls in making their decisions and this means that some development applications for developments with little apparent public support may be approved. In other cases, seemingly beneficial development applications may not meet the strategic land use plan or land use controls and may be refused.

For this reason, you will have most influence on planning for your area if you participate in preparation of the strategic land use plan and land use controls before development applications are made. You can do this by commenting on 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.

Once the planning scheme is in place, you may still have an opportunity to influence the future of your area by lodging a formal submission either in favour or against a development application when the application is publicly notified.

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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