Understand the NT Planning Scheme

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

It is a legal document used by government, councils, industry and the community.

It contains maps, rules, policies and documents that guide what can be built where.

The planning scheme can be complex and confusing for non-technical users.

If you need help, speak to a planner or a private planning consultant for advice.

What the planning scheme covers

The planning scheme does the following:

  • describes how land use may change to meet future needs
  • identifies factors and risks that could affect land use - eg flooding
  • sets controls that allow, prohibit or put conditions on land use
  • provides guidance to help consent authorities make decisions
  • states the level of flexibility allowed for decisions about development applications.

What is in the planning scheme

The NT Planning Scheme has four main parts:

  • strategic framework - made up of strategic policies and plans that guide changes to land use
  • overlays - that identify and give special rules for factors that could affect land use
  • zones - that control the types of use and development allowed in an area
  • development and subdivision requirements - provide direction on how a use or development should look or operate.

These parts work together to guide how development happens in the NT.

For individual development proposals, these parts tell you:

  • if you need planning permission
  • your assessment category and what gets considered during assessment
  • the planning requirements you need to meet.

More information

Read more about how these components work together in part one of the NT Planning Scheme.

Last updated: 04 September 2020

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