Planning reform

Latest update

Planning reform phase 2 stage 1 is now in progress.

Planning reform is delivering a best practice land use planning system for the Northern Territory (NT) to deliver better planning outcomes, restore community confidence, and encourage new investment.

Read more about our planning system on the NT Government website.

Read below to find out about the planning reform process.

Progressing planning reform

Planning system reform involves:

  • changes to planning laws and regulations
  • amendments to the NT Planning Scheme
  • development of new information resources
  • upgrades to online systems
  • changes to administrative processes.

To achieve the many changes needed, the reform is split into two phases.

The government implemented phase one reforms in 2020.

Phase two

Phase two stage one is a consolidation of two separate projects:

  • NT Planning Scheme 2020 economic recovery actions and
  • the NT Planning Commission’s Designing Better project.

Both projects seek to improve processes and outcomes relating to the design of buildings and places. This will be achieved through changes to the development requirements in the planning scheme.

These changes focus on development requirements that:

  • incorporate local design responses from area plans into location specific development requirements, to more succinctly inform design and decision making about developments in strategic locations
  • establish better design guidance for apartment, mixed used and commercial buildings to ensure they respond to the local context
  • increase the number of low-risk uses that can be interchanged in commercial zones without the need for a development application.

The Planning Reform team prepared a single, comprehensive planning scheme amendment that was exhibited in early 2022. The feedback received has been reviewed, and has been used to inform alterations to the proposal.

An altered proposal is on public exhibition now through to Friday 30 September 2022.

A new Explanatory Document PDF (5.4 MB) is available. This provides detail on the alterations that have been made to the original Integrated Schedule of Amendments that was exhibited in early 2022.

The following documents are available:

Phase one

Phase one was implemented in 2020.

This included:


The following are the consultations that have occurred during the reform.

13 March - 24 April 2020

Consultation on the draft Planning Amendment Regulations 2020 coincided with the exhibition of the draft NT Planning Scheme 2020.

Briefings and workshops covered both topics.

Feedback from the consultation was used to refine the proposed changes to the Planning Regulations 2000, which was considered by the Executive Council.

Consultation materials:

Archived online consultation:

6 March - 24 April 2020

An extended formal exhibition period was provided for the proposed planning scheme amendment to introduce the NT Planning Scheme 2020.

In addition to the statutory exhibition requirements, the release of the draft NT Planning Scheme 2020 was supported by additional online content, briefings and workshops to explain the proposed changes.

Submissions received during the exhibition period were used to refine the new planning scheme and inform the final decision by the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics. Read the amendment decision on the NT Government website.

Consultation materials:

Archived online consultation:

On 13 February 2020, the Planning Amendment Bill 2020 (the Bill) was introduced to the Legislative Assembly, beginning the process to amend the Planning Act 1999.

The Bill was referred to the Legislation Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

The Legislation Scrutiny Committee process included:

  • a period for public submissions ending 11 March 2020
  • a report tabled by the Scrutiny Committee on the inquiry into the Bill on 5 May 2020.

For more information about the Legislation Scrutiny Committee inquiry, go to the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory website.

7 October - 29 November 2019

Stage 3 of consultation on Planning Reform sought feedback on changes to the Planning Act 1999.

A consultation draft of a Bill to amend the Act was released providing details of the proposed changes.

A suite of supporting documents was also available to provide context about how the changes to the Act will work with other changes to the planning system to implement planning reform.

Consultation documents:

Archived online consultation:

Consultation outcomes:

26 July - 7 September 2018

Consultation on the Phase 1 Priority Reforms aimed to get in-depth feedback on the proposed reforms.

This consultation targeted frequent users of the planning system and those who participated in the reform process in 2017. Consultation was conducted by Elton Consulting and included:

  • a telephone number for queries
  • feature on the ‘Have Your Say’ website providing information and seeking feedback
  • focus group sessions held in Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine for stakeholders including:
    • community members
    • environmental groups
    • planning and legal professionals
    • industry associations
    • local government (LGANT, greater Darwin Councils, Regional Councils and Remote Councils in and around Katherine and Alice Springs)
    • Northern Territory Planning Commission

Consultation documents:

Archived online consultation:

Consultation outcomes:

15 October - 8 December 2017

The initial consultation included:

  • an online survey
  • inviting written submissions
  • two industry workshops, held in Alice Springs and Darwin
  • one focus group with respondents to the telephone survey
  • two Council workshops involving members from most local government areas
  • pop-up community consultation sessions at local shopping centres and malls.

Over 1,000 people from Greater Darwin, Alice Springs, and Katherine were directly involved in the consultation, with additional residents reading the documents on the website.

Consultation documents:

Archived online consultation:

  • Have Your Say – Planning System Reform: Review, Reframe, Renew

Consultation outcomes:


Planning Reform
Lands Planning
Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics
GPO Box 1680, Darwin NT 0801

Phone: 8999 8963

Last updated: 02 September 2022

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