Planning systems in Australia vary depending on state and territory. Every state and territory have their own distinct planning systems and process which are influenced by different things depending on what is significant for that state or territory for this reason I’ll break this blog post into State and territories
Planning has always been a big part of the ACT Canberra being a planned Capital as you all know. Planning in Canberra dates back to the original griffin plan (1911 + 1918) work didn’t really get underway on Griffins vision till 1927 with the Federal Capital commission (FCC) and the later the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC). The Commonwealth government remained the sole planning Authority over the ACT till it gained self-governance in 1988 and with self-governance came the Australian Capital Territory’s Land and Management act 1988. This did not mean the ACT government became the sole body when it comes Planning due to Canberra’s national commission the NCA would be in charge of planning areas of national significance and these areas would remain commonwealth land while ACTPLA would be the planning body in charge of all other areas. Certain areas of Canberra overlap a good example of this would be Canberra City which is ACT land and also has national significance in this case both planning bodies preside although the commonwealth government (NCA) are supposed to get priority. The ACT does have its own unique advantages in planning as both the ACT Government and Commonwealth Government own all the Land within the territory this means land ownership doesn’t become a big issue and all plans can be carried out in their entirety which has been a problem in other states. This also brings unique challenges as land sales make up 50% of the ACT governments income this tends to cloud their judgement in regards to development.
New South Wales planning system is very similar to that of all the other states where the state government creates rules and guidelines for planning and then the local councils are the reasonable bodies for planning and they work with in these guidelines. This system becomes problematic in a large city like Sydney where you have 38 local councils which have to work together for big planning projects they often run into problems and the state government then steps in to solve these problems. In recent years the State government has played a larger role in the planning of Sydney to solve this problem.
Northern territory being a territory it is quite similar to the ACT with the commonwealths sitting above the territory government however the commonwealth don’t play as big a role as Canberra has more national significance with all the federal government buildings and national monuments. Also in the Northern Territory you can own land titles as well as leasing. Northern territory also has large portions of land which has been given back to the indigenous people and needs the approval of their elders to be developed, this is normally granted when royalties have been agreed on.
Queensland run a similar system to NSW where guidelines are set out by the state government and then local councils are the planning body which work within those guidelines. In Brisbane the largest city in Queensland there is only one large council not lots of small ones like Sydney which solves the issues which arise when councils have to work together.
SA, TAS, VIC + WA
All share simular planning systems; simular to NSW and QLD planning systems, but they vary slightly over what they consider significant to their state for example Tasmania have a strong greens presence in parliament so preservation of national parks and the environment are key in planning, WA mining is significant to their economy so it plays a large role in planning and catering for fly in fly out workers and mining communities. In Victoria it has a strong rich history so heritage and urban renewal play a large part in planning along with catering for agriculture which is a large part of Victoria’s economy. While South Australia has a slightly different planning structure where the state government are the main planning body and local councils play more a symbolic role.