Who's involved in planning

To better understand planning in the Northern Territory (NT), it can help to know who's involved in the process.

Planning involves input from government and non-government stakeholders.

Government stakeholders include authorities that can make planning decisions and enforce rules.

Non-government stakeholders include community members and industry who:

  • want to make an application or
  • have a say about a planning decision.

Read below to find out who's involved in the planning process.

The Minister for Planning makes and changes planning rules.

The minister can:

The minister also appoints members of the DCA and the Planning Commission.

The Development Consent Authority (DCA) is an independent authority appointed by the minister.

The DCA’s role is to:

There are seven division areas of the DCA:

  • Darwin
  • Palmerston
  • Batchelor
  • Katherine
  • Litchfield
  • Tennant Creek
  • Alice Springs.

To find out more, go to the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics website.

The NT Planning Commission is an independent body appointed by the minister.

It doesn't have any decision-making powers.

It is responsible for researching best practice planning and providing advice to the minister.

The commission’s role is to:

To find out more, go to the NT Planning Commission website.

The NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT) provides a forum for reviewing government decisions, including some planning decisions.

You can ask the NTCAT to review a planning decision if you:

  • are unhappy with a decision made by the DCA and
  • have a right to review the decision under the Planning Act 1999.

To find out more, go to the NTCAT website.

A planning division sits within the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics (DIPL).

It is made up of two branches:

  • Development Assessment Services (DAS)
  • Lands Planning.

The division provides professional and technical support to:

The division can also provide free general advice to members of the public to help you:

  • understand how you can develop your land
  • understand planning rules, plans and policies where they apply
  • submit a planning application
  • report a breach of the planning rules.


DAS is involved in:

  • assessing development and subdivision applications
  • enforcing the Planning Act 1999
  • providing professional and technical support to the DCA and the minister.

You can also talk to DAS for help with planning applications and reporting a breach to the planning rules.

Lands Planning

Lands Planning is involved in:

  • changes to the NT Planning Scheme including rezoning
  • engaging with the community and preparing strategic plans and policies
  • providing professional and technical support to the NT Planning Commission and the minister.

You can talk to Lands Planning about changes to the planning rules.

Find out how to contact a planner.

Service authorities are organisations and branches of government that:

  • deliver essential services
  • protect the health and safety of the community.

Authorities that are most often involved with planning include:

  • local councils
  • Power and Water Corporation
  • NT Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security
  • NT Environment Protection Authority
  • NT Emergency Services
  • NT Health.

They have their own laws and requirements that must be met, depending on the type, location and scale of a development.

Industry professionals are people with jobs in development including:

  • planning consultants
  • planning lawyers
  • building certifiers
  • surveyors
  • architects
  • environmental consultants.

Their work often requires them to have detailed knowledge of at least part of the planning system.

They can give technical and independent advice in their area of expertise.

If you're not familiar with the planning system, you might use an industry professional to help you:

  • make an application
  • write a submission
  • request review of a planning decision.

As a community member, you can get involved in planning.

This includes if you're a:

  • resident
  • land owner
  • developer
  • business owner
  • member of a community or environmental group
  • combination of the above.

Your local knowledge and views can help planners and decision-makers understand the character of a neighbourhood.

This helps ensure planning rules, policies and decisions are made to benefit most people.

Find out how to make an application.

Get involved in current planning applications

To find out how you can get involved in current planning applications, watch this short video.

To view planning applications currently on exhibition, go to the Development Applications Online website.

Last updated: 14 October 2021

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