darwin skyline
Darwin is the smallest capital city with a population shy of 150,000. Image – Canva
  • Comes after a refusal to rezone an area of Darwin into a medium/high density residential area
  • Planning Minister says projects should align with community expectations
  • Amendments allow for greater transparency she says

Recently the Northern Territory Government passed the Planning Amendment Bill 2021, which they say will better underpin the wellbeing and prosperity of communities now and into the future.

Notably, the amendments are set to benefit residents of The Gardens in Darwin.

A refusal to rezone parts of Blake Street from community purposes to a special use zone recently occurred. If approved, this rezoning would have facilitated both high and medium density residential development which the NT Government says doesn’t fit with The Garden’s existing character.

“Projects that bring economic value to the Northern Territory should align with community expectations,” said Eva Lawler, the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics.

The new legislation protects the validity of Ministerial decisions related to planning scheme amendments and apply only to planning scheme amendments as opposed to development applications.

Another amendment includes transparency of decisions made by the Planning Minister, which means public access to reasons for all decisions as required per the Act.

Overall, these amendments are designed to remove the risk of challenging a rezoning decision based on defective wording in the reasons provided – creating certainty for both the community and industry, according to the Territory Government.

“These amendments will not impede the improved transparency achieved in our recent planning reforms. The proposed changes will not stop a person from seeking judicial review of a Minister’s decision on the basis of other types of potential legal error, nor does it remove the Minister’s obligation to provide reasons for their decision, or to make those reasons available to the public,” said Ms Lawler

“These planning amendments will provide Territorians with greater certainty on decisions made by Government, now and into the future.”

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