Planning & Development

Related policies


Achieve a transparent, democratic, corruption-free and environmentally sustainable town and urban planning system that will stop overdevelopment(1) of both high-rise density and sprawl, while properly protecting our built heritage, backyards and urban amenity.

"The new [sprawling] suburbs mostly lie beyond the suburban rail network, and many worry proper government investment will only follow years after residents move in, as has occurred in other estates. Adjacent suburbs already suffer from significant road and rail congestion." The Mandarin

"The assumption that high-density is environmentally superior seems to be based on intuition as no proof is provided to support this claim. Rather, considerable evidence is emerging that this is not the case." New Geography

“There is global concern about narrowing opportunities to influence where people live, to influence their street, their neighbourhood, their city. Those narrowing opportunities are a source of frustration for local residents.” Westender

But people moving into those areas say it takes more than a bunch of rapidly constructed houses to create a community. “So here’s what’s missing,” said Angela Van Dyke of the Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre and Community Aid Service. “Everything. Public education. Public transport. Good urban design. Livability.

Policy Methods (Federal & State)

To help achieve this Sustainable Australia Party will:

  • De-corrupt planning systems and processes by:
    • Returning real planning powers to local communities through local Councils and proper engagement
    • Ensuring proportionate new local infrastructure and services are delivered before more local housing and population including schools, hospitals, transport, childcare, aged care, libraries, green and recreational space, etc
    • Empowering representative local government area citizen juries (i.e. community panels) to determine contentious projects, including those proposed outside of the scope of the local area plan such as 'State-significant projects', to ensure any trade-offs are reflective of community desires. Projects would be elevated to a 'citizen jury' level by a designated number of public submissions, as per the current planning system.
    • Legislating to ensure that local planning policies and decisions cannot be overturned by State Government-appointed 'independent' planning panels, government departments, tribunals, or ministers

"Perceptions that the appointees themselves are individuals who are first and foremost loyal to the developer cause, and will forever be sympathetic to industry over communities in applying discretion, has added fuel to the fire of community opposition to developments." WA Today

"These boards are appointed from well-established business networks and mates’ clubs. There is little about these appointments that points to a commitment to and having a background in this city’s urban planning or heritage." City News 

"That lemon-scented gum is expected to be cut down to make way for townhouses..."

  • Avoid habitats of all threatened, vulnerable and endangered native species
  • Impose a moratorium on biodiversity offset schemes until the ecological integrity of offsetting practices in such schemes can be guaranteed and operate with full transparency for all stakeholders.
  • Strengthen and properly enforce planning regulations for building heights, setbacks and floor space ratios (intensity of development on a parcel of land) to protect local urban amenity including tree canopies, biodiversity, character, heritage, views, acoustic and visual privacy, and solar access (sunlight)
  • Ensure that planning systems include consideration of cumulative impacts of developments
  • Penalise developers that submit planning proposals and development applications outside of local planning guidelines including height limits
  • Permanently ban new residential development or infill in flood-prone areas
  • Impose a moratorium on sprawl
  • Impose a moratorium on planning rezoning for higher intensity uses that are not in the public interest, such as from rural conservation to farming, or farming to residential

"Up to 60 per cent of farmland in western Sydney has been lost in the past decade, largely swallowed by development." 

  • Reject the myth that high-rise density has little or no sprawling ecological footprint, or is preferable to ending Australia’s rapid population growth
  • Properly account for and report on the increasing per unit costs of providing infrastructure to communities in already built areas
  • Remove caps on developer infrastructure charges and give local and state governments the flexibility to charge developers the real cost of infrastructure delivery for new housing
  • Properly assess the risks of high-rise density in relation to the health and wellbeing of residents, including the spreading of disease
  • Preserve, rehabilitate or plant corridors of biodiversity in new developments, in accordance with fire regulations, to both preserve wildlife habitat and provide recreational opportunities for local residents
  • Ensure that new and existing homes and associated landscapes adapt to the latest innovations in thermal and water efficiency and ecological design, including north facing, effective insulation, solar panels and water tanks
  • Ensure that planning systems mitigate and adapt to climate change
  • Protect good condition buildings and their embedded energy and resources from destruction, by prioritising adaptive re-use, renovation and retro-fitting over demolish and rebuild. This can be through a combination of tax concessions for re-use, renovation and retro-fitting, and environmental levies for premature demolition.
  • Replace private building certifiers (or equivalent in each state/territory such as building surveyors) with local government-employed public certifiers
  • Capture for the public any rezoning land value gains from planning, rather than gifting them to private sector developers as unearned profits. This would include:
    • Introducing an ACT-style 75% developer 'rezoning / betterment tax' in all states on the total land value gain (between current zoning use and the new approved use) received from favourable land re-zonings. The tax would be applicable only at the time of a new development approval. This tax reflects the fact that the value of the new property rights allowing higher value developments is created by the community through the political process(2)
  • Stabilise Australia’s population size as soon as practicable (also see Sustainable Population & immigration policy)

"We can stabilise our population and take this demand for housing pressure off immediately...It is simply a federal government policy decision." Redland City Bulletin


  1. Overdevelopment in the form of both sprawl and densification.
  2. This policy has been successfully functioning in the ACT since 1971.

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