Property Australia

Policy efforts pay off


We’ve taken a quick tour of the nation to see where governments are up to with planning system reform and improvement and how Property Council advocacy is making a difference. 

Better and more efficient planning systems can deliver a real economic dividend for Australia while boosting housing supply and affordability.  

Poor planning adds to the cost and time involved in bringing new residential and commercial developments to the market, holding back the growth and liveability of our cities. 

New South Wales 

The NSW Government has prioritized the overhaul of planning laws in 2020 as part of a drive to boost the state’s economic productivity – delivering on a major advocacy priority for the Property Council. 

Cutting red tape, speeding up assessment timeframes and the mandating of e-planning across 42 councils were among the measures announced by Premier Berejiklian. 

The Government is striving to deliver a simpler, more effective planning system that reduces the bottlenecks and delays in delivering productivity-boosting investment in residential and commercial developments across the state. 

Action is also anticipated on reforms to the state’s infrastructure contribution scheme which is widely considered too complex with a poor understanding of its operation by industry, local government and the community.  

Another priority area is a more efficient rezoning process which is currently slow and undermines investment, good growth and jobs.  

Northern Territory 

Our Northern Territory division has been involved in each step of the planning reform stages since its inception in 2017.  

The release of a draft Northern Territory Planning Scheme 2020, and the draft Planning Amendment Regulations 2020, are the next step in the government’s commitment to reforming the Territory’s planning system. Changes are being considered through a proposed planning scheme amendment, which would repeal the existing Northern Territory Planning Scheme in full and substitute it with the new Northern Territory Planning Scheme 2020. 


A top priority for our Queensland division is securing a better state planning system to reduce red tape and increase certainty.  

Following the introduction of the new Planning Act in 2016, the Property Council has worked to secure greater harmonisation between land use and infrastructure planning through Queensland’s regional planning framework.  

This led to commitment from the Queensland Government to monitor progress towards targets outlined in the ShapingSEQ Regional Plan. The Property Council is seeking to continually improve the methodology used in this report to ensure that the next iteration of the regional plan is informed by the best possible evidence. 

South Australia 

The Draft Planning and Design Code – that will eventually underpin South Australia’s e-planning system and generational planning reforms – has been pushed back from its 1 July roll out. 

The Property Council is disappointed with the decision to delay the rollout, which begun with a planning review in 2013. Our SA team will continue to work collaboratively with the South Australian Government to ensure the new code supports positive development outcomes across the state. 


The Property Council’s “landmark” document Removing the regulatory handbrake: Seven steps to fix housing supply has been the catalyst for reforms announced in Premier Gutwein’s  State of the State speech last week.  

This included a commitment to implement statutory timeframes for all aspects of the housing approvals process and releasing land titles to the market more quickly. 

Simplifying planning and building approval processes and releasing more land for development will result in more homes being built, more jobs being created, and, most importantly, more Tasmanians with a roof over their heads. 

Western Australia 

The WA Government has released its 19-point action plan for planning reform with a pledge to create a better, more consistent and efficient planning system. 

The Property Council and its members are working closely with the government to advance Design WA beyond quality apartment guidelines to devise precinct design and medium-density policies. The policy is expected to be released for public comment mid-year. 


Following the Property Council’s sustained advocacy, the Victorian Government has announced recommendations from its red tape review. The Planning and building process review discussion paper identified 27 points in the approvals chain where specific improvements can be made. 

The cost of planning red tape has been estimated at between $400-600 million a year, or up to two per cent of the value of the construction sector. The initial recommendations have been welcomed by the Property Council, including their focus on systemic reform.