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Planning Ministers commit to keeping approvals running

April 24, 2020

The Australian Government Minister for Cities, the State and Territory Planning Ministers, and the President of the Australia Local Government Association, met this week, for the first time in several years to discuss national planning issues.

The focus of the meeting was the current COVID-19 situation.

Ministers agreed that planning systems and the development approvals pipeline in Australia must continue to function during the COVID-19 crisis so that jobs and businesses can be maintained at this critical time and that the system supports economic recovery.

To assist State and Territory planning systems continuing during the crisis, the Planning Ministers agreed on six principles to be considered when making any changes: 

  • Decision making in the public interest is a paramount theme in all planning systems and this must continue as a guiding consideration.
  • Transparency for stakeholders about changes to systems and particular decisions.
  • Decisions made within jurisdictions are consistent, where possible.
  • Consideration of the level of public interest in a particular planning change or development proposal.
  • Balancing administrative and legal review rights with the need to address the pandemic emergency and to assist community and economic recovery.
  • All reasonable effort is made to maintain the usual pace of planning approvals recognising, as far as practical, community consultation will continue through new forms of communication recognising social distancing requirements.

These six principles have been agreed upon acknowledging that different changes will be required depending on the State or Territory and their respective legislative requirements and the local context. 

When implementing these principles swift changes to each of the respective State and Territory planning regimes will be necessary to ensure development applications are approved efficiently and effectively. Implementation of the principles should be undertaken with the clear aim of making sure industry confidence is upheld.

Ministers agreed that the principles will be reviewed in June 2020 to ensure they are still fit-for-purpose to support the economic recovery phase.

For more information email HIA Planning Advisors on

Coronavirus Response

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Ref: PLAN 20-24
Current as at: 24 April 2020