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New Planning Bill introduced to NT Parliament

Is there a safe harbour for a sinking ship?

The Northern Territory Government has introduced a new bill into Parliament that aims to improve certainty and understanding around planning decisions.

The Planning Amendment Bill 2020 has been written to increase transparency and accountability within the planning system to deliver better outcomes with regard to the needs of future generation.

It is an amendment to the Planning Act 1999 and will include an increased emphasis on sustainable development in the contexts of the social, economic and environmental needs for Territorians.

Additionally, the Bill aims to make planning processes and documents easier to follow and understand, provide more local input into planning matters and create a framework that encourages better development outcomes, responds to local factors and supports new developments.

Other benefits of the Bill, according to the Territory Labor Government, include more information about how decisions are made, more opportunity to review planning decisions and enforcement powers to uphold a fairer system.

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The NT Government is also in the first stage of developing revised design provisions to encourage new approaches for apartments and mixed-use developments across the Northern Territory.

The Designing Better project will inform the development requirements in the Planning Scheme. The NT Government hopes this will encourage more meaningful, vibrant and liveable spaces for future residents and the broader community.

“Our Government was elected on a promise to restore integrity and confidence through reforming the Territory’s planning system – that is exactly what we are doing,” NT Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Minister Eva Lawler said.

“Planning done well, must holistically consider the context of population growth and the long-term social, environmental and economic needs, and values that underpin the wellbeing and prosperity of our communities now and into the future.

“We have all seen examples in our community where planning could be done better, and importantly we value community input into planning — the new system puts the community at the heart of planning.”

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