Our planning system

Planning is necessary to make sure land use is managed in a fair and organised way.

This ensures the growth and changing needs of the population are met.

What planning does

Planning decisions guide developments near you - from what goes where, to how they look.

For example:

  • the location of a new school, park, shopping centre or road
  • how close to your neighbour you can build
  • how tall a building can be.

Planning affects things like:

  • how easy it is to drive, walk or cycle in your suburb
  • how close you live to work, schools, shops and other facilities
  • the look and feel of your neighbourhood.

To find out more, watch this short video.

Planning tries to coordinate and balance competing demands and different interests.

It aims to:

  • ensure a balanced mix of residential, commercial, industrial and other land uses
  • ensure appropriate public infrastructure can support those uses
  • protect homes and businesses from natural hazards - eg flooding
  • retain the character and beauty of a neighbourhood
  • manage the sustainable use of natural resources - eg groundwater
  • protect places with environmental, historical or cultural values.

Read more about how planning works in the NT.

The planning system is set up through the NT Planning Act 1999 and regulations.

The Northern Territory (NT) Planning Scheme 2020 is the 'rule book' for land use and development in the NT, except for Jabiru.

The ‘rule book’ for Jabiru is the Jabiru Town Plan.

Interim development control orders can also temporarily override or suspend planning rules.

Different groups and stakeholders play a key part in the planning process. Find out who's involved in planning in the NT.

Find out how to make a planning application.

Read about resources for planning professionals and applicants.

Last updated: 14 October 2021

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