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Please find in the attached pdf, notes on the above documents prepared by PLan: the Planning Action Network, Inc.




The Government says it wants better planning outcomes.
This is PLan’s submission, with information from the community.

The three documents supporting this reform process are:
Booklet A. Consultation Outcomes Report - (33 pages). Here Elton
summarises public survey input October-December, 2017.
This is a useful information and opinions sharing document.
A chart on Page 19 provides percentage opinions on seven key
planning system questions.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Booklet B. Planning Reform Directions (Dark Blue Cover-12 pages)
This second booklet is very different from the first. It suddenly jumps
to outlining specific sweeping changes proposed as amendments to
the Planning Act and NT Planning Scheme. It is as if each proposed
change was endorsed by a mention in Booklet A.
Booklet B works on the basis that the necessary planning reforms
are already clear, as if derived from the results of the ELTON Survey.
For instance, the first proposed change listed is to:

'Revise the purpose of the Planning Act, and refine the structure
and principles of the NT Planning System'.
This is astounding. The Objects of the Planning Act (section 2A)are
the very lifeblood, underpinning balanced planning.
Where in the Booklet A survey is it stated by the community that the
Objects of the Planning Act should be changed ?
These Objects have been in place for many years.
Booklet B introduces both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the planning
reform amendments actually proposed by the NTG, with references
to where they will appear in the new instruments. This has serious
Most people have had very little involvement with the planning
system, and how it works. Many have said that they find this review,
and the way it saysit proposes to achieve good overall planning very
complex and difficult to understand.
The normal staged government legislation change process of
presenting first green, then white papers, with legislators then drafting
proposed agreed amendments would have been much better, and
have gained more trust.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Booklet C. Planning Reform Phase 1-Priority Reforms (White Cover)
(19 pages)
This booklet details the changes suggested in Booklet B,
discusses them, and then recommends the wording for most of the
individual proposed amendments, as if now ready for Phase 2.
In my view, many of the people attending ELTON ‘review’ sessions
were pressured step by step to ‘ go along’ or ‘agree’ that these
proposals, even just by session time pressures or group pressures.

A moment previously they may not have even known about the
proposals, their place in the system, or their impact on good planning.
They were however involved in crucial decision making about the
outcomes in the planning system.
It was put to me that agreement was being sought without knowing
the ultimate outcomes. We were often told that time was short. Often
for the participants this was their first exposure to any part of the
planning system, how it works, or the relevant terminology. There
was not time to discuss or digest, and I had to stop.
A main objection by the community is that inappropriate
developments, particularly oversized and insensitive ones, are too
often approved, sometimes for political reasons, rather than for good
planning. This was recognized in Booklet A.
It is well known that developers prefer the flexibility of ‘policy’ above
quantifiable regulation. They seek opportunities to be assessed on
performance outcomes, rather than prior prescription. Interpretation
is king, and fine tuning can slip away.
The newly established NT Planning Commission has been
made responsible for identifying future ‘developer opportunities’
for commercial, including large new residential developments.
The community has frequently expressed concern about its jargondominated theoretical models for Area Plans, such as ‘activity
centres’, and artificial modeling in a future time span. Land capability
and environmental issues, climate change, social and cultural issues,
and public community rights have been easily ignored in the
processes used. There has been superficial consultation, with not
enough community input.
This strategic planning was previously done by a small section
within the mainstream planning organisation by very experienced and
informed planners. Strategic planning does not warrant a separate
NT Planning Commission. It should revert to the main stream, and
share its routine administrative resources, with some appropriate

professional staff supplementation at times when there are major
strategic developments. There is no real role for a permanent
elevated NT Planning Commission with its expensive separate elite
Board, meeting only occasionally, and the need for a wasteful and
confusing duplicated second structure of hearings and decision
making under the same Minister. The Chairman has already been in
part seconded to very important responsibilities associated with the
newly developing NT Oil and Gas industry.
This booklet seems to be largely an agenda covering the developers.
For a long time, there have been other issues than development
approval to be considered in order to achieve good sustainable
planning in urban, suburban, rural and remote areas, within both
tropical and desert NT environments.

Booklet, pages 4-5)
The NT Planning Commission is unnecessary as a permanent body.
Its central role of providing Area Plans will soon be completed.
Its everyday existence rests on a principle of densification, now
enshrined in NTPS by Amendment 387, and the NT Compact Urban
Growth Policy. This is inappropriate to the Northern Territory which
does not have the land shortages and continued population
pressures suffered by Sydney and Melbourne.
The late amendment of the Planning Act involving the NT Planning
Commission was rushed tough in the last days of the CLP
Government, without proper notice or public consultation, particularly
with local government, by Minister Tollner. It should be cancelled, not
consolidated permanently into the Planning Act.
Minister Tollner’s action has resulted in a unwieldy and unsupported
duplication of two planning assessment processes, one of which is
unnecessary. There was really no need for two separate streams.

Tollner’s action has resulted in the NT Planning Commission relying,
even today, on the professional planners of the mainstream planning
section (Development Assessment Services) to carry out the
professional advice assessment of NT Planning Scheme
applications, reporting at hearings, and professional technical support
for decision making.
The infrequency of NT Planning Commission hearings does not
justify a separate organisation chart component for professional
staffing there. As before, assessment and reporting for both DCA
and NT Planning Commission hearings can be done by the same
professional staff without an extra staff structure. The Chairman of
the NT Planning Commission - Mr David Ritchie- has now been
allocated an unrelated second responsibility by the Chief Minister.
Thus it is sensible in both administrative and budgetary terms, not to
persist with the expansion of the NT Planning Commission as a
separate entity (post Minister Tollner), but to re-combine the two arms
of the mainstream planning system into one. The key is to keep
professional and experienced planning staffing at sufficient levels to
keep pace with ongoing strategic plan issues. Otherwise they can
possibly get out of hand through only being attended to only every ten
years or so.
Bringing the two streams back together would also answer another
current processing problem. That is how to support the Minister in
final decision making when dealing with matters presently set for NT
Planning Commission. With a re - combining of the two planning
system streams, the Minister could be directly advised professionally
on all types of decisions falling within that his/her decision making

NT PLANNING SCHEME (NTPS),ETC (White Booklet, pages
The NTPS contains essential zoning, and other important systems
and principles. It has been built up over the years by Planning
Scheme Amendments.

The Objects of the Planning Act are clear and balanced. These
should in no way be weakened in favour of broad policy which
relegates them and changes their purpose in comparison to the
NTPC, in spite of claims of greater transparency.
PROCESSES. (White Booklet, pages 10-13)
It is agreed that the community will be able to continue to rely on the
NTG being responsible routinely for providing printed, and on - line
information about development applications, assessment processes,
hearings and decision making.
The weekly Planning Notices of development applications, including
land clearing, and special proposed changes, must continue officially
in the NT News, and also on informative site notices, regardless of
any other method of advice. Facebook and social media are not
The archived section of the notices should now be freely available to
the public.
The official Land Information System on line, showing land ownership
should be freely available to members of the public.
There should be easy access to DCA reports and decisions, not
always dependent on computer access.
It is agreed as at 2.2.1, that there be pre-application mandatory
community consultation in cases where High Impact Development is
expected. This needs to be defined broadly, but carefully, and
not restricted only to possible impact on amenity and/ or environment.
Development Assessment Services, and not the applicant, should be
responsible for setting up such consultations.
Where appropriate post exhibition meetings should be
available between applicant and potential submitters.

In each case the exhibition period for applications should be 28 days.
Just as there is now a ONE STOP SHOP for planners to help
developers making applications, a COMMUNITY ADVOCATE should
give information on how submissions are to be made. Development
Assessment Services (DAS) has made a useful beginning, with a
switchboard information number. This needs to be more publicised.
Relations between (DAS) and the community should be normal,
promoting transparency and trust in the planning system. There
should be more confidence, more understanding both ways. Less
protective attitudes amongst professional planners are necessary. To
some community is being treated as the ‘enemy’.
‘Minor’ applications may appear simple, but must be handled
seriously. Excessive demands over such as lot size, parking,
setbacks, height, and the placement of sheds and containers should
be avoided, because the impact soon adds up in terms of urban
degradation. Public urban degradation lies in such easy precedents.
Pleasant streetscapes, once carefully monitored, are important in
good planning. Buildings, including homes, should address the street.
Setbacks, with tidy gardens, trees and open space, on residential
lots are important for appearance, recreation and play. This is as
important in multiple dwellings as i single dwellings, including rentals.

(White Booklet, pages 13-15)
For a very long time, the community has had little trust in the DCA to
make balanced decisions.
There is strong objection to the more recent use of the Conditional
Precedent form of approval, with impacts like traffic not being
assessed before locking in development approvals. Such is strongly
the case with the 4 Blake Street decision.

The community becomes strongly dissatisfied with any lack
of balanced decision making, calling for change.
Decisions have been seen to be made on political, or broad general
policy bases.
Hearings should be held outside working hours, allowing all
participants equally to attend.
The DCA, not the DAS planning staff, must clearly demonstrate, in
writing, that it has actually taken every part of Section 51 of the
Planning Act seriously in the assessment of all applications. It does
not appear to have being doing so.
Planners should not be permitted to write reports that are properly
DCA reports, and/or recommend the decision to the Chair, or panel
of the DCA in writing, or otherwise. It is not ‘balance’ to do so, as has
been recently claimed by some planners. Some of these reports have
been extremely poor.
We have been appalled and angered by how some community
submissions have been downplayed by ‘professional' planners.
Many do not understand and ignore the real meaning of ‘culture’.
For some time, planners have been routinely making written
recommendations to the DCA even before applicants and submitters
have made their verbal presentations at DCA hearings.
Applicants must vacate the presentation table after finishing their
presentation to allow submitters to properly address the DCA.
The planning system has for a long time ignored consideration of the
essential provision of parks, open spaces, community purpose land,
and other not for profit facilities as parts of applications, or separately.
Pathways must be established for the creation of these essential
elements of social planning.

This is particularly the case with high rise development in the CBD,
and new suburbs when residential lots have been made smaller as
part of increased densification. Since developers do not see this as
their responsibility, it must be made a separate proper task for the
planning system.
No pathway for providing for these social functions has been in place
for over twenty years. The rights and mental/recreational wellbeing of
the public have been denied. Common law rights to open spaces
and the special character of natural urban environments as
Conservation Zones has been abused.
The DCA should be renamed the Northern Territory Planning
Authority to encapsulate its wider responsibility than assessing
development applications only.
Responding service authorities must use their expertise to address
any relevant specifics, and not just routinely submit general
statements of agreement.

Booklet, page 13)
It is not agreed that the Chair of the DCA should be a lawyer. Most
important is a knowledge of planning, aspects of planning, and their
wide and narrow implications.
At the start of their tenure, members of all DCA panels must receive
education and training in their tasks and responsibilities.
Each panel should be appropriately composed with Local
Government nominees, and community members. Each should carry
out their particular role, and not follow other preferences. Community
members should remain in communication with the public.
DCA members should not behave as pro-development agents or

political representatives, or in any other biased way.
A DCA code of conduct, must make all conflicts of interest declared.
Reports of reasons for decisions should not be just general
statements, but informative, and easily understood by the community.
The votes of each member must recorded for the public scrutiny.
An informative professional DCA Annual Report should be prepared
promptly by the Chairman for the Legislative Assembly.



There is currently an imbalance in the Appeals process. Appeals by
third parties are severely restricted. A genuine appeal system is
essential to the integrity of the DCA, and its processes.
Third parties need to be given the same time for an appeal as
The right to appeal should not be governed by neighbourhood
proximity, or limited to particular cause, such as ‘amenity’ or review.
Appeals can be made to the NT Civil and Administrative
Tribunal(NTCAT) or to a full court jurisdiction.
As a right, third party appeals should now be extended not only to
submitters with land situated in RL(Rural Living zones) but also to
submitters in the CB (Central Business), as this is now a prime
residential zone. There should be no limit for ‘standing’.
An effective and accessible Appeals process is a deterrent to misuse
of the planning system and its processes.
Appeals were previously heard in the NT Land and Mining Tribunal.
As a tribunal, it was established that Appeals should not be
dependent of formal legal participation, but that the emphasis be on

interpreting planning and its rules.
As it is a tribunal, this should also be the case with planning appeals
in the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT). This is a
combined purposes administrative tribunal, rather than a formal court
but it should must special planning expertise.

11.1 We agree with reference 3.2.1 that there be a serious time limit
for deferred applications to prevent them falling into limbo.
11.2 Time limits must apply for activating permit use, or be
11.3 A third area timewise, is the ‘variation situation’. Here the
applicant submits additional or changed information, post exhibition.
The submitter then rarely has time to review the new information in
the three or four days set by DAS before the DCA hearing.
The amended application should be withdrawn and resubmitted as a
new application. At present the usual practice is for it to proceed, but
this disadvantages submitters.
pages 14-15.)
EDP’s must be redefined as they were originally intended, thus
putting an end to the unfortunate continued opportunist wasteful
misuse of this device. What appears simple can easily
lead to decision making uncertainties which can become a longterm
threat to the reputation of ministers.
Concurrent applications should be withdrawn. Some appear simple,
but some the combinations proposed are unworkable. There is more

saving in this for developers who use separate applications, in case
the ‘concurrent' one does not succeed.

MISCELLANEOUS RELATED ISSUES (White Booklet, pages 16-19.)
Several issues important to the community arise here. Attention to
these issues is overdue.
For a planning system to work, enforcement of compliance must be
effective. This requires sufficient levels of dedicated competent
staffing, with enforceable legal processes in place.
13.1 Compliance depends on respect for the planning system and its
processes, including the NTPS, and integrity based decision making.
This Planning Reform exercise confirms that tightening compliance
is long overdue. New powers, authorities and tools, are urgently
needed, as well as a will to prosecute. We support this, knowing that
abuse has long persisted.
Two examples are the illegal clearing of no.1 Boulter Road. In this
case Minister Tollner told the community that the penalties were not
sufficient to warrant pursuit. Those responsible for the illegal clearing
were known.
Another serious non compliance is the refusal over many years to
remove the illegal stockpile from Conservation zoned land on the
Kulaluk lease at Ludmilla.
Familiar non-compliance situations include the misuse of zoned land,
especially Conservation land, illegal dumping, failure to activate
development permits within two years, development non compliances in building, like ignoring setbacks, poor drainage
provision, failure to rehabilitate land used commercially, excessive
noise and air pollution, clearing of large areas of natural bushland,
and not maintaining bushland free of certified weeds.

We are pleased that planning staff are actively investigating stronger,
practical compliance, enforcement and penalties to deter not
Existing Use Rights are also being addressed(p16). We appreciate
that the passing of time can be a legitimate factor in some existing
use rights matters. However, the local community would very angry if
this category was applied wrongly retrospectively to cases like the
polluting ‘Minmarama Stockpile’ on Conservation land, on the Kulaluk
lease in Ludmilla.
This stockpile was declared illegal years ago by the Planning but
never ‘moved by’ Minister Tollner. The developer had applied
unsuccessfully to retain it as a going concern on site for another 15
years, but was refused. Even though given a very generous time
allowance because it may have been inconvenient to move the fill
promptly, the developer has never moved the mounds of the fill. This
developer appears to have impunity.
Whilst we would support responsible compliance by body corporates,
we regard it as unfair to penalise officers and individual members of
body corporates not individually actually responsible for
non compliant decisions of the corporate body, particularly if they do
not support the non compliance (p18).


The word ‘PLANNING' is a much more all embracing than the word
‘DEVELOPMENT’- a much narrower economic term.
That needs to be recognised in a practical way by the NT
Government, in order to achieve better planning for the whole of the
Planning is for people and includes sustainable social, cultural,
environmental issues, as well as long term economic ones.

Many planning issues are not addressed in the Planning Reform
Document. It is seriously too narrow to really examine all necessary
parts of planning responsibility.
Timely genuine public consultation with professional planners who
listen, and can apply what they hear, is the key to better planning
outcomes, and to an open government which the community feels it
can trust.

PLan: the Planning Action Network, INC


Developing the North: Supporting Jobs through the Contemporary Management of Pastoral Land

Developing the North: Supporting Jobs through the Contemporary Management of Pastoral Land

15 August 2018

Today, the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly is debating proposed amendments to the Pastoral Land Legislation Amendment Bill 2017, in a bid to ensure the contemporary management of pastoral estates.

Subleasing arrangement were introduced as part of the amendments in October 2017. 

However, the Territory Labor Government has made the decision to progress the Bill without the sublease provisions, to allow more time for discussions with stakeholders and for workable models to be developed for increased native title rights and to maximize agricultural jobs and the economic prosperity of the North.

The key amendments proposed in this Bill address a new pastoral lease rent methodology, and address administrative anomalies and prescribe limitations that affect the composition of the Pastoral Land Board. 

The Territory Labor Government is continuing discussions with the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) and land councils to progress models for granting non-pastoral use permissions on pastoral land that recognise the rights of native title holders.

Quotes from Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Eva Lawler.

“The Territory Labor Government is developing the North and ensuring we are maximising economic benefit from the Territory’s pastoral estate, but we need to ensure this is done in a fair and equitable way.

“The effective management of the Territory’s pastoral estate is key to maintaining our natural and cultural resources and providing for sustainable economic development into the future. 

“These amendments will allow for our pastoral estates to be managed more effectively.

“We have been talking through these issues with both land councils and the NTCA and they have also been considered by the independent Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee, which recommended better protecting the rights of native land holders.

“The Territory Labor Government is progressing subleasing in the Pastoral Land Act but this is contingent on agreement on a model for increased procedural rights for native title holders in the issuing of a non-pastoral use permit.”

Media contact:Kim Stephens 0417 683 144

CDU Population Report


Population Research Report

Synthesising Northern Territory Population
Research: A report to the Northern Territory
Department of the Chief Minister

A report on twelve years of population research, the causes and
consequences of population change in the Territory, and evidence
based policy options to address these changes

Dr Andrew Taylor


Professor Dean Carson
Northern Institute
Charles Darwin University


. C


Population Research Report Summary

1 Overview

In order to better understand the Territory’s changing population and the reasons behind these
changes, the Northern Territory Government commissioned researchers at Charles Darwin
University (CDU) to analyse past population research. Dr Andrew Taylor and Professor Dean
Carson from the Northern Institute prepared their report on the trends, causes and consequences
of population change in the Territory. They also recommended strategies for improving the
Territory’s population growth.

This Summary Report provides an overview of the full report, its findings and recommendations.

1.1 The population challenge

Sustained population growth is critical to the economic and social development of the Northern
Territory. A growing, skilled and diverse population and labour force are essential to achieving a
healthy and sustainable economy and society. A growing population lifts demand for housing, goods
and services; increases the tax and revenue base; builds and diversifies the pool of skilled
Territorians; enhances economic growth; builds resilience; and underpins diversity and community

1.2 Influencing population growth

The changing population is in part a reflection of international and national conditions and policies
and therefore difficult for the Northern Territory to influence. There are some factors the Northern
Territory Government has capacity to exert some leverage over, while others also have roles to
play. In order to inform strategies, both for influencing ‘levers’ and managing the inevitable changes,
detailed analysis of recent Northern Territory, interstate and international population trends is

Population challenges are not unique to the Territory. Many other jurisdictions have faced similar
issues. Looking to Australian and overseas case studies with relevant parallels allows the collection
of insights and lessons that can be applied to Territory population strategies.

There are also unique ‘push and pull’ factors of Territory migration. Identifying and understanding
the most significant motivators for people coming to and leaving the Territory is critical in
developing sound policy responses that positively influence population.

1.3 Recommendations

The research from CDU has highlighted that, although the Territory is currently experiencing a low
population growth era, this translates into relatively small ‘on the ground’ numbers. A return to the
thirty-year average annual growth rate requires only a net improvement of around 2600 people per
year. Australian and international experience suggests, however, there is no single ‘silver bullet’
strategy to achieve this population growth. Rather, a suite of tailored initiatives aimed at influencing
migration behaviours of specific population groups could provide the best chance of success.
Research suggests that the most promising key markets and strategies include:

o attracting early career women;

0 attracting, and particularly retaining, people moving into mid-career and late career to broaden
the population base;

0 identifying Territory ‘alumni’ and attracting them to return to the Territory or promote the
Territory to friends and colleagues elsewhere;

0 implementing strategies to attract migrants from specific international source markets based on
research into the factors that encourage them to move to and stay in the Territory;

0 making the Territory more ‘retiree friendly’; and

2 March 2018

Population Research Report Summary

0 encouraging new arrivals to update their address with Medicare (in order to be counted for the
purposes of calculating GST distribution).

2 Understanding recent population trends

The Northern Territory is currently in its third low growth era since the 1980s. It is important to
acknowledge that the current era is distinguishable on a number of levels. The existence of eras in
interstate migration indicates longer term cyclical dynamics may be influencing the Territory’s
population trends. In the Northern Territory and other Australian jurisdictions, long periods (seven
to nine years) of low growth as a result of negative net interstate migration (NIM) are often
followed by shorter periods (three to five years) of positive interstate migration contributing to
better growth rates. Ascertaining cyclical effects and the likelihood of an upswing is a complex task,
however. Research has explored some of the interstate economic and social indicators.

Findings include:

0 Lower housing costs in Sydney and Australian capital cities as a whole are associated with
positive NIM to the Territory. Lower housing costs outside of the Territory may make it easier
for migrants to ‘take the risk’ of moving here, confident they can re-enter the housing market if
the move to the Territory turns out to be short term.

0 Falling youth unemployment and increasing job availability in many states, especially the
‘peripheral’ states of Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania, are linked to positive
Territory NIM. This suggests the presence of a national ‘peripheral migration system’ of which
the Territory is part.

0 The Territory tends to have positive NIM when its employment conditions are similarly strong to
those in other peripheral states, suggesting some people might be enticed to migrate when they
perceive there is a relatively low risk to leaving employment or the jobs market in their home
state — as with housing, it suggests confidence in re-entering the jobs market if needed.

0 Relatively high cost of living elsewhere in Australia may make people more likely to consider a
move to, or to stay in, the Territory because the Territory is then not so ‘disadvantaged’ by its
generally higher cost of living.

Many of these indicators do not exist right now, which means the current low population growth
era is concerning, as the trends that usually contribute to positive NIM are no longer present.
This means the Territory cannot rely on NIM cyclical dynamics to reverse the current

population situation.

Negative NIM is not unusual during low growth periods in the Northern Territory. It is the size of
the current deficit and the fact that negative NIM is the strongest contributor to low population
growth that are concerning. During the past four years, 2000-3000 more people have migrated out
of the Territory than was projected, which exceeds all prior records of NIM loss.

The Territory’s current low growth population ‘era’ began in 2010. Its key features are:

0 A long period (29 consecutive quarters) of negative NIM;

0 Lower proportions of interstate migrants from traditional key sources (notably South Australia,
New South Wales and Victoria) coming to the Northern Territory;

0 Increased seasonal volatility for both interstate and overseas migration;

0 Reduced contributions to population growth from net overseas migration;

0 Uneven growth within the wider Northern Territory, with Darwin growing and the
remainder not;

0 Large declines in the Territory’s biggest in-migration group of early career workers,
particularly women;

2 March 2018

Population Research Report Summary

0 Dramatic declines in children and teenagers migrating to the Northern Territory (linked largely to
changing migration patterns of women); and

0 Increased departures of key population groups like early career workers and self-funded retirees.

Improved understanding of these features, and others, will inform the development of effective
policies to arrest an undesirable trend and in some cases reverse it. It is also important to recognise
that while these traditional migration markets continue to decline, total interstate migration flows in
Australia are larger than ever before and are increasing, especially for women. There may be
opportunities for the Northern Territory to ‘tap into’ new and emerging groups of migrants as
traditional ones continue to decline.

Figure1: Recent Northern Territory population trends

2,000 — Naturallncvease — NetOverseasMigratlon

- - Net anernate Migration — - long mm Netflverseas Migration

— - LungLungrerm Met interstate Migrallon


m lszms

As shown in Figure 1, net interstate migration has been negative for 29 consecutive quarters. Net
overseas migration has also steadily declined and become highly volatile, with quarters both well-
above and well-below the long term average. Unlike migration, natural increase (the difference
between births and deaths) continues to be very stable.

2.1 The importance of international migrants and their communities

As the Territory’s NIM position has declined, overseas migration has grown in importance. Overseas
migrants have long played a prominent role in population growth in the Northern Territory.
Although there is inevitable leakage of international migrants into the Southern states (especially
once visa requirements are met), overseas migrants have the potential to significantly improve the
Territory’s current population position. For example, the Indian community in Alice Springs grew
considerably from 2006 to 2011 as a result of active recruiting for skilled job vacancies in the health
sector. The community has continued to grow (by around 60%) from 2011 to 2016. This growth is
important as it can encourage ‘chain migration’, where recent migrants encourage their friends and
family to join them. Other benefits include growing cultural diversity, increasing supply and demand
for a diverse range of businesses, increasing numbers of school and university students, and
increased numbers of births from higher fertility rates common to many migrant groups.

2.2 Migration trends for Territory life stage segments

The Territory has always had distinctive age-related patterns of interstate migration. Relatively high
numbers of young adults move to the Territory and relatively high numbers of adults in their late
30s and 40s move away.

In more recent times, the younger age in-migration ‘spike’ has reduced somewhat and there has
been a small but important increase for in-migration of people in their late fifties and early sixties.
These age-related trends correspond to particular life stages based around jobs/careers and
family formation.

2 March 2018

Population Research Report Summary

Young adult in-migrants have tended to be single and at the start of their careers (known
internationally as ‘escalator migrants’ who are trying to advance their careers rapidly), while slightly
older out-migrants are looking to begin or have just begun their own families or are continuing their
careers elsewhere.

Some older people come to the Territory for short periods of work at the end of their working lives,
and leave on retirement. Different strategies might be used to encourage more in-migration and
less outmigration of people transitioning through these various life stages.

Figure 2: Proportional distribution of interstate migration flows to and from the Territory, 2015-16



l Inflows
40% Outflows
10% l l

Proportion of flows

Children Teens Early Mid-careerLatecareer Seniors
{0—14yr5} (15-19yrs] career (40-54yrs} (55-65yrs] (55+yrs)
Life stage

3 Lessons from abroad

Sixteen overseas jurisdictions were reviewed by the researchers, who identified them as similar to
the Northern Territory in terms of population characteristics and growth challenges. These
international comparisons show most Northern regions in developed countries have experienced
periods of low population growth or concerning trends (e.g. young female out-migration).
Jurisdictions have employed various strategies to try and recover from such periods. In general
these strategies have all emphasised population retention through lifestyle, investment, job
opportunities, diversification of the economy and heavy investment in education. Summaries of the
research findings include:

0 Low population growth was often the result of less people moving to these regions rather than
more people moving away;

0 Most population growth initiatives were elements of broader economic development strategies
(i.e. investment in jobs, transport, communications);

0 Some strategies focused on retaining people while others focused on attracting new residents by
promoting education and employment opportunities;

0 Some jurisdictions implemented strategies to retrain late career workers in order to retain them
in the region; and

0 Establishing alumni networks of past residents and visitors, students and tourists was aimed at
encouraging these people to return.

4 Population growth strategies in Australia

While Tasmania has implemented specific population growth policies, other Australian jurisdictions
generally include population issues in broader strategic plans or economic development strategies.

2 March 2018

Population Research Report Summary

Tasmania and South Australia are both useful case studies as they, along with the Northern
Territory, are considered ‘low growth states’. Low growth states typically have strategies to
stimulate population growth to achieve aspirational population targets which are usually higher
than figures in formal population projections.

Mechanisms to achieve those targets are generally similar to what is seen internationally, including
stimulating economic development (job creation), improving access to education, improving
transport and other infrastructure, and improving the liveability of cities and towns. Tasmania and
South Australia also target increased international migration through skilled migrants, international
students and humanitarian migrants.

Potential points of action formulated for the Territory from CDU’s analysis of other Australian
regions include:

o Recognising there may be few policy levers to facilitate population growth during eras where
conditions in key economic sectors are poor (currently mining and tourism, for example);

0 Policies for promoting housing affordability, welcoming international migrants, improving tertiary
and higher education facilities, and improving transport and communication technologies may
‘soften the blow’ and position the Territory for faster recoveries; and

o Investigating population implications from policies promoting economic diversification or ‘smart
specialisation’ (for example, being an LNG hub) may be beneficial, and especially so given the
relatively narrow economic focus of Australia’s Developing Northern Australia agenda.

5 Push and pull factors for Territory migration

Understanding the unique aspects of the Territory’s migration system and the factors that
encourage people to move into and out of the Northern Territory are critical, as is understanding
the characteristics of those who stay here long term (Territory survivors).

Research indicates the availability and quality of work is the most important factor for people
moving to and away from the Northern Territory. People migrate to the Territory based on actual
and perceived better employment opportunities in some sectors, including higher salary
opportunities, to apply specialist skills and education and opportunities to engage with Aboriginal
people. Migration based on career escalation helps explain why many people do and will continue
to come to the Northern Territory for a limited or fixed period of time.

2 March 2018

Population Research Report Summary

Figure 3 Territory Mobility Survey (2008), main reason for moving to the Territory by mover type

'5‘. Q1: Main reason for move by Mover Type



llntoNT ElOul of NT DWIthIn NT EIConlrul




'Fuund um, Luuklng rurw-m DIfEreM work wm posh»;
"5 rhary mumma ‘9
I-relyle mane relaxed nester and cuuurwnec nnnom-nn-es

mner reason cnnlams masansmat -um name massmea mm ma available _
wlegunes Reasens far In nvmg

5.1 Migration within the Territory

Compared to other Australian jurisdictions, population re-distribution within the Territory through
internal migration is small. However, the Northern Territory is experiencing an increased
concentration of people in urban centres (primarily greater Darwin).

Steady and long-term urbanisation has a number of negative population effects as well as eroding
the capacity for growing the economic and social base of the regions. For example, local
governments may have diminishing rates bases that cannot keep up with costs, while the potential
for innovative business start-ups may be limited by people and skills shortages.

5.2 What motivates people to leave?

Work and family dominate the reasons people leave the Territory. While work is the main driver in
younger and middle ages, after the age of 55 the primary drivers are retirement, family or social
reasons and cost of living. The Territory Mobility Survey revealed those leaving were most likely

to be couples with children (37%). This may reflect young and early career couples’ in-migration for
work, starting a family while in the Territory and then out-migration to be close to family

support networks.

A 2014 study carried out by the Council on the Aging and CDU found that cost of living was the
most prominent reason seniors left the Territory, followed by being closer to family or friends. A
significant number of people also identified the climate and access to health services in the
Territory as reasons for leaving.

5.3 ‘Surviving’ through life-stage transitions

Research from CDU has shown that getting people to stay for five years leads to higher retention of
populations. In 2008, CDU studied almost 2000 older Territorians as part of the Territory Mobility
Survey which evidenced a large decline in the intention to leave the Territory after five years of
residence. This inverse relationship between number of years spent in the Territory and the
likelihood of leaving applies across all ages, such that encouraging people to stay beyond the five
year median is likely to assist with retention overall. The ‘critical’ period to encourage five year stays

2 March 2018

Population Research Report Summary

is likely the first year or two as people consider moving from temporary to more permanent living or
working arrangements.

Surveys also show that survivorship in the Territory is particularly vulnerable during key life stage
transitions, for example:

Going from school to university;

Transitioning from not being part of a family to having children;

0 Progressing from early-career through mid-career into late-career; and
Transitioning from work to retirement.

Staying in the Northern Territory throughout life stage transitions requires certain expectations to
be met and policies which facilitate this are likely to have a higher chance of success. Proposed
actions to achieve this include:

0 Strategies designed for workers transitioning from one career stage to another, in particular,
training and professional support for workers who have spent their early career in the Territory
and are now looking to progress; and

0 Strategies to make people feel welcome and attached to the Territory within a year or two of
arrival; for example, assistance in moving from temporary to permanent housing and with
raising a family.

There has also been a recent increased outflow of Aboriginal people from the Territory. It will be
important to understand what is driving this change, and what might be done to encourage more
Aboriginal Territorians to stay or return.

5.4 Putting it together in the Northern Territory context

Surveys indicate that a large portion of people who arrive in the Territory do so with the intention
of staying for a fixed period of time. Many of these, in particular those who come primarily for
career escalation, will not be influenced by retention strategies. However, others such as pre-
retirees transitioning to retirement, mid-career workers transitioning to late-career, overseas skilled
migrants and career-driven movers with no fixed idea about their length of stay in the Territory may
be readily influenced to stay.

The role of family is important in considering how to improve retention of identified groups. The
loss of women and couples with new families is considerable, which points to the need for
strategies to make the Territory more attractive to new parents, grandparents and other family
support networks.

6 Population targets

Population targets can be beneficial because they signal action. They are also useful in setting
expectations with stakeholders. However, targets may detract from the importance of sustaina bility
and community well-being in the population discussion.

Population targets are rarely met; in the medium term populations never change precisely according
to expectations or forecasts. Despite the methods and materials for population forecasting coming
a long way in the last decade, projections and targets can quickly become obsolete due to changes
in one or more of the assumptions the targets are based on. As well, external factors (such as those
described on page three) are significant contributors to population growth trends and are outside
the influence of the Northern Territory Government.

2 March 2018

Population Research Report Summary

7 Strategies for growth

Population strategies should be focused on target population markets; that is, groups of people
considered likely to respond to strategies and incentives to come or stay in the Territory. The
researchers identified key ‘green’ ‘orange’ and ‘red’ target markets based on their likelihood of
taking up attraction and retention initiatives. The identified markets for attraction and retention are:


* * * International migrants O * ** Older people 0

* * * Repeat dwellers O * ** Chiidren/ young families .

* * * Late career workers 0 * ** Residents 'in transition’+

* * * Early career women 0 * * Young professionals (especially women)

* * Seasonal and temporary workers (base here) * * NoneDarwin residents

* Lifestyle migrants . * Indigenous residents

* FIFO workers (convert or base here) * Mid-career workers .
* International migrants O
* 0

Out of work construction workers/ miners etc

+ For example, school to university, between career stages, making career changes etc

Key strategies recommended for attracting (and retaining) each of the ‘green’ markets include:

o Targeting international migrants for recruitment and retention;

0 Leveraging existing residents who are part of growing overseas born communities in order to
encourage chain migration (such as family migration) and/or encourage associated migration (for
example, professionals encouraging others from their home communities to migrate by their
social media posts);

0 Ensuring the availability of high quality education services (both school and post-school),
competitive cost of living and good transport connections to southern capitals to assist in
reducing out-migration, particularly of professional early career women; and

0 Establishing an ‘alumni’ database containing contact details of past residents and visitors; and
providing information about opportunities to return to the Territory and promoting them to
these alumni via social media, a web site, a newsletter or similar communication.

Targeting the ‘orange’ markets for attraction and retention was also considered important by the
researchers. Seasonal and temporary workers have some potential for improved recruitment
through strategic marketing. For domestic workers, there may be opportunities to convert their
short term employment to longer term residence through promoting work or career pathways

in the Territory.

The improved retention of Aboriginal Territorians might also be considered as an area for specific
policy initiatives as the net loss to interstate is growing year on year. The likely reasons for out-
migration from the Territory are not fully understood. However, like all populations, Aboriginal
people are urbanising around the world. A range of other issues may be influencers including
improving education outcomes, employment and health. Additional research is required to identify
the causes of this outflow and how it might be stemmed, including how more Aboriginal people
might be attracted back to the Territory.

8 Global trends and ‘owning’ the Territory’s transience

Analysing and understanding global trends that influence the Territory’s population is important.
While they cannot be changed, new opportunities for the Territory may arise out of these drivers.

2 March 2018

Population Research Report Summary

Understanding global technology and economic trends and their relationship to Territory population
growth allows beneficial ‘ownership’ of the Territory’s population transience.

There has been a strong focus in the Northern Territory on natural resource developments which
are accompanied by periods of high labour demand, particularly in construction and expansion
phases. Workers are attracted to these high paying jobs but tend to leave once the work has ended.
Examining ways to keep these transient workers in the Territory for the long term will assist in the
development of effective retention initiatives.

Another example of a global trend relevant to the Northern Territory is the substantial change in
the organisation of defence forces in the Western world, the increase in attention towards internal
security and the decrease in attention to border protection. Understanding these changes will assist
in developing policies that are compatible with Territory defence sector changes.

9 Further research and communications

There are a range of further activities that could support the implementation of the actions
suggested by CDU and other researchers. These include the following:

o A series of focus groups could be undertaken with the international migrant communities
identified in the report (Filipino, Indian, New Zealand and Nepalese communities to begin with)
to identify factors that could contribute to increased recruitment and retention of these
population segments;

0 Research could be done with retiring and newly retired Territorians who are considering leaving
the Territory to identify what might make them decide to stay;

0 An online survey of Territory ‘alumni’ could be conducted to identify when and why they may be
interested in moving back to the Territory;

0 A ‘welcome pack’ could be developed for newly arrived interstate migrants both to encourage
them to update Medicare and other records, and to lead them to an online and ongoing survey
to track their experience of embedding themselves in the Territory in the first five years
of their stay;

0 These activities could be coupled with a rolling survey of Territorians and annual focus groups
to monitor how attitudes to living in the Territory change and to evaluate the impact of
strategies implemented under the population policy; and

0 Results of research projects would be distributed to the broader community through
regular e-updates.

2 March 2018


Dual Occupancy Correspondence

Dual Occupancy Correspondence

This email is in two sections, dealing with two separate issues, and lots. (See advert below).

Section A

We have now had a chance to see the full text of the EDP advertisement which we were apparently only sent part of earlier. At that time, we naturally  assumed it was an amended version of the  Lot 796(67) Ryland Road  advert.

The  c change to the heading and frame avoids the confusion of the earlier wording, and therefore is better as a standard lead in to legitimate EDP’s.

Section B

We are very concerned at the acceleration of what are really Dual Occupancy applications  being accepted by your department and presented as  EDP’s

This is a travesty of due process, we we are always asked to follow. The very policy (Dual Occupancy amendment of the NTPS) of allowing Dual Occupancy land uses has been rejected. It was reviewed and then cancelled through an extended process of public consultation, followed by the final  decision by the immediately previous Planning Minister(Manison).

The application is made more offensive when presented as a Concurrent Application for both subdivision and development.  However, it is not listed on the NT Planning Notices (Summaries panel for items closing on 24 August, 2018) as an application of the Concurrent type.

This application should particularly not be accepted because it is clear example of the FACTORS  WHY  Dual Occupancy was rejected as  a policy.  

Relevant Factors

1.         An acceptance of the application would represent a spot rezoning, affecting neighbours lots. 

2.         This application is totally inconsistent with the zoning pattern of Brinkin, which is mainly SD.

3.     The subdivided lots would be less than800sm.

4.         The distinctive zoning character of Brinkin, and particularly in this section, is to have large lots accommodating large homes and gardens, clearly balanced, in other sections, by smaller lots with homes of a medium density character.       

5.     Ad hoc subdivision, which Dual Occupancy represents, would  cause a mosaic zoning effect changing the quality of life and land values, in this now well established suburb.

6.         And hoc  approval by the Minister  based on a single lot, rather than wider impact, and planning principles from the NTPS, would become a precedent for other similar applications. This would be outside normal due process, wasting valuable time for the Minister, the department and the community, and causing more later problems. 


It is our strong view that the Brinkin Terrace application should be withdrawn.

Development Assessment Services should have the power to reject some non complying  applications  based on appropriate reasons,   Obviously other important agents of the NT Government have  power to reject applications when there are good reasons that can be demonstrated.

This is an example of one such case. 

Please acknowledge this email and provide a substantive response.


PLanning Bazaar

PLanning Bazaar

You are invited to hear from real people who are tackling the issues facing the Territory today.

Community activists and organisations bring you updates and stories.

PLan: the PLanning Action Network hosts a talk fest at Jervois Park, Jervois Road, Darwin.

Next to the Deck Chair Cinema.

Sunday 23rd September 2018 4pm - 5pm

$100 Door Prize - drawn on the day!

Food for the mind, bring your own tucker and a chair.

For more details see the PLan website: https://planinc.org.au or call Nick Kirlew 0447 499 794.

Planning Bazaar V4

7 Brinkin Terrace

Exceptional Development Permit application for a Dual Occupancy

URGENT CALL OUT Closing Date midnight Friday, 24 August, 2018 - more details below.


1.     At present there is, on the internet, on the 'NT Planning Notices/development applications online' an Exceptional Development Application (EDP).

This is to allow a second building, and a subdivision, on an SD (Single dwelling zoned lot, and would not normally be allowed. This is Brinkin Lot 8857, at 7 Brinkin Terrace. The present size of the lot is 1200sm. Thus the subdivision would be a ‘dual occupancy’ resulting in two 600sm lots.  

2.    Planning is based on zoning, using appropriate types of land for particular uses.  Zones have different colours on maps. Compatible uses are arranged close to one another, and vice versa. Land ‘lots' vary in size with their intended appropriate uses.

3.    Brinkin is a respected, well planned and established suburb, with a range of residential uses separated into different sections.   

This application is to subdivide one of the largest standard lots (1200sm) near the foreshore. Here big impressive homes and gardens are characteristic.

4.1    'The NT Planning Scheme  at Clause 5.1 (1) states that the primary purpose of Zone SD is to provide single dwellings on individual lots.’ ...

[Note: 'Undefined uses are prohibited in this zone.’]

4.2    The lots in this part of Brinkin being of a similar size - over 1000sm, to cut one in half, and build on it  would change the character of this part of the suburb.

4.3    Most SD’s in the whole Northern Suburbs are 800sm, or more.

4.4    One subdivision/dual occupancy here would start a precedent on similar lots which is not supported by the NT Planning Scheme, and does not have its endorsement. This could ultimately cause difficulties with infrastructure, and social impact.

4.5    The application is not in the public interest. Except for the immediate neighbours who were asked directly for their support, many do not support the proposed subdivision believing the lots would be too small for their environment. This is shown by the advertising signs on nearby homes.

Their signs say:    "LET US PRESERVE WHAT WE HAVE"

4.6    It is often said that planning should provide certainty. This is spot rezoning which does not fit any standard model - two anomalies.

4.7    Approving the application would almost certainly lower property values on Brinkin Terrace and Kuru Court.  Since Brinkin is regarded as one of the best real estate ‘locations' in Darwin, a similar response could be expected with such densification of lots, in Hibernia, and/or Claymore.

4.8     Big established gardens and space, particularly handsome large front setbacks, contribute much to the impressive streetscape, character and amenity of Brinkin. In contrast at no. 7, the streetscape and the two lots would be crowded.

4.9    It is expected that the amenity in the adjacent lot in rear, on Claymore would be adversely affected.

4.10     SD’s are usually presumed to be family homes.  If there is to be rented commercially to several entities, difficulties with parking can be expected. Especially if there is provision only for no more than two off road parking spaces for each of the two SD’s.

4.11    Many local residents are not happy with how the application might affect them.

4.12    PLEASE NOTE: The NT Planning Scheme does not support ' Dual Occupancy ‘ as type of development.

[After a period for public consideration under an Interim Order by Minister Manison, NT Planning Scheme Amendment 483 of 6.10.2017, was issued. It deleted the provisions that would have allowed dual occupancy on Zone SD (Single Dwelling residential) lots.]  

5.    Submitting information

Closing Date Midnight Friday, 24 August, 2018

For personal emails use a pdf, and address to:

The Manager,
Urban Planning,
Development Assessment Services
'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

OR if you prefer it:

The full details of the application  Exceptional Development Application(EDP) are at 'NT Planning Notices/development applications online’  with a download.

There is a place there to submit your submission electronically, but it is a good idea to copy it before you send it.

Frog Hollow Significant Trees

Frog Hollow

Frog Hollow is situated on Lots 5665 and 5672 in the City of Darwin. All of Lot 5665 and the northwestern portion of Lot 5672 are covered by parkland with many old and shady trees. All of the parkland is referred to on the City of Darwin website as Frog Hollow Park “a popular space for events and gatherings”. The remaining south-eastern portion of Lot 5672 houses the Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts which includes the Darwin Visual Arts Association. The whole Frog Hollow area is highly valued by the Darwin community. Additionally, the recent City of Darwin election highlighted the importance of natural green space within the City of Darwin, particularly in the CBD.

The Darwin Primary School was built in 1952 on the area known as Frog Hollow; the school buildings were on what is now Lot 5672 and the school playground covered the western portion of Lot 5672 and Lot 5665. Prior to the school Frog Hollow was a natural drainage line which became a wet season creek. Lot 5665 of Frog Hollow was declared as a Heritage Place under the Heritage Conservation Act in March 1996. The Heritage Register states “Frog Hollow is open parkland that was originally utilised as worker camps in the initial years of Commonwealth jurisdiction over the Northern Territory. The open land of Frog Hollow is highly valued by the Darwin community for its social and educational associations with the workers camps and later the Darwin Primary School. It is also valued as natural parkland within the Central area of the city.”

The community values the whole of the Frog Hollow precinct, not just Lot 5665. The central part of the precinct proposed to be developed into a main road is on Lot 5672 and contains many of the highly valued trees.

50 trees are proposed to be removed for the road. The significant tree listing discussed in this report shows that all of Frog Hollow needs protecting. The proposed main road is very wide and not required to meet Darwin’s needs, it should not be built through Frog Hollow.

Northern Territory Register of Significant Trees

The Northern Territory Register of Significant Trees was established by the National Trust of Australia (NT) and Greening Australia (NT) to raise community awareness about the value of trees and to protect and maintain this important part of our natural and historic heritage. Trees are included on the register on the basis of one or more categories of significance. The Northern Territory Register of Significant Trees is housed at the National Trust of Australia (NT)’s Darwin office at Audit House, 2 Burnett Place, Larrakeyah.

Frog Hollow Significant Tree Listing

The trees at Frog Hollow were listed on the Northern Territory Register of Significant Trees as a “Group of Trees” on 8 July 1986. Their number on the register is “Area 1” and the listing covers Lots 5665 and 5672 and adjacent road reserve. The categories of significance that the trees were nominated under are:

  • Category 2: Any tree outstanding for its large height, trunk circumference or canopy spread. •  Category 6: Any tree which occurs in a unique location or situation or provides a significant contribution to the landscape, including remnant native vegetation, important landmarks and trees which form part of an historic garden, park or town.
  • Category 10: Any group or avenue of trees conforming to any of the above criteria.

Many of the trees at Frog Hollow are included in the listing. The trees mapped in the significant tree listing are shown on the image on the following page. Many of the trees were planted in the 1950’s when Frog Hollow was the site of the Darwin Primary School. The Register of Significant Trees includes maps, species lists of all the mapped trees, and photos of some of the trees. There were 33 different species of trees included in the listing. It appears some trees have since been removed, or have possibly died. However many of the listed trees remain.

Image of Frog Hollow showing listed Significant Trees (image from Nearmap 2017)Image of Frog Hollow showing listed Significant Trees (image from Nearmap 2017)

Images of Frog Hollow from either end of Proposed Main Road (Google Maps 2016)Images of Frog Hollow from either end of Proposed Main Road (Google Maps 2016)

Barneson Boulevard and Tiger Brennan Drive duplication project

View the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Consultation Report

Landbridge Hotel Subdivision 2017

Landbridge Darwin Luxury HotelA representation of the Landbridge Darwin Luxury Hotel on a brochure given to us at an ELTON consultation. It was clearly stated that it was early days, with a long way to go before finalisation. It was actually said that the hotel may not even look like this. Note the proposed use of the public foreshore which is not permitted by the existing Waterfront Area Plan. We, and others expected a series of commercial public consultations. Note the wording: "Community Newsletter 1" on the front of the brochure.

PLan has asked the NT Government, through the Development Consent Authority (DCA)  to carefully delay,  rather than making a hasty decision on the rezoning of land in the Waterfront Precinct, for the proposed Landbridge Darwin Luxury Hotel. The DCA hearing  went ahead on  Friday, 9 June, 2017.  

Strong indications are that  few  members of the public had any idea where exactly it was intended to build the hotel it in the Waterfront area, except that it would not clash with  the Deckchair Cinema.

PLan was included in a brief CONCEPT ONLY discussion  session with commercial consultants ELTON, a few weeks ago.  

We were informed that it was early days. The mock-up of a building, which looks like a bastion, with aerial  bridge type public access,  as shown on a single-sided A4 sheet, the consultant said, might not even be like that. It would be some time before more details were available. We certainly had the impression that that we would be involved in more such details before any applications were made. Other stakeholders share that  impression.   

The subdivision application which was to be considered on Friday, however, includes hundreds of pages. There is a recommendation by staff of the Department of the Infrastructure, Planning, and Logistics for approval  by the Development Consent Authority(DCA).  Very few people knew to make submissions.

The NT News on the morning of Friday,  9 June, 2017 (page 7) contained the following quote:


The Development Consent Authority will today pass an application to subdivide waterfront land to pave the way for Landbridge's luxury hotel project. Darwin Council raised concerns around restricted public access along the foreshore. However the DCA is expected to approve the application to subdivide regardless Plans show the hotel  will have private foreshore access. The DCA meeting will be held today at the Novotel on the Esplanade.

Though we are not surprised about this anticipation before the event, we would like  decisions to be less predictable in an 'independent' body making complex decisions.

NOTE THAT: The Planning Act makes on provision for public appeals against subdivision applications, even though, like this one, they can be very important.

There are three major issues here which must be taken into account:

  1. The Area Plan  for waterfront land uses is  established by  the 'Darwin City Waterfront Planning Principles  and Area PLan'. This is an essential part of the NT Planning Scheme (Part 8 - Clause 14.1.1).  This includes a map showing a wide public foreshore. THIS FORESHORE IS PUBLIC LAND, AND SO IS SHOWN AS NOT AVAILABLE FOR BUILT DEVELOPMENT. The proposed hotel  in this new application, is to include  this foreshore land for its development. Historically, public use of the port area,  including the foreshores, has been a major issue through the life of the waterfront. Foreshores are used world wide for public recreation. A subdivision process, or a change in land ownership  does not nullify the well established Area PLan, based on this principle.
  2. The proposed subdivision for the hotel  takes in this public foreshore,  as if by routine. The reason given for this is that the actual site of the hotel is in the Darwin surge zone. The subdivision application by the hotel a major  change to the Area Plan to incorporate seven  metre protective wall. This would take  in all the foreshore at front, and some of the sea. This  would deny the public of its foreshore rights. A different engineering arrangement is needed for the surge protection.  
  3. Having regard to  national security issues, including those raised very recently by Four Corners, a diligent pause is wise  for the NT Government  in which to assess more widely  whether it is in the public interest now or in the future, to have the hotel situated in such a nationally strategic position.

Considering these serious issues, we ask the NT Government to avoid making an immediate decision, and also to provide the general public a longer and more thorough consultation period.


Our Facebook page cover photo is of the colour-keyed zoning map for Darwin. Zoning is the very basis of professional planning. It is how our various land uses are arranged to work together in a compatible way. Each zone has its own NT Planning Scheme rules, and appropriate infrastructure. This includes, the several types of residential uses in zones with different characteristics. 

The zoning initially set down provides an orderly pattern with which new developments must comply. Land values are to a large extent based on established zoning.

What then is Dual Occupancy?

Dual Occupancy is an idea, which if applied, allows existing residential zoning patterns to be disrupted. Dual Occupancy equals the effect of spot rezoning when occurring in built up areas. The zoning fabric and pattern is destroyed by one by one changes. This is the very 'spot rezoning' that is supposed to be avoided by the strategic planning using the Area Plans. These plans for future growth were imposed on Darwin by CLP Planning Minister-Dave Tollner, Commissioner Gary Nairn, and NT Planning Commission in the last few years.

In simple terms, ‘dual occupancy’ is permitting the building of two houses on lots zoned specifically for SD(Single dwelling/s), and 1000sm or over. This is a ridiculous duplication of density. It retrospectively undermines planning, by causing smaller house sites within established zones. It has a cumulative effect.

Dual Occupancy Amendment no.452 to the NT Planning Scheme

In the dying days of the CLP Government, Planning Minister Tollner rushed major planning changes and newly introduced NT Planning Commission planning processes through the NT Parliament. This included Amendment no.452 to the NT Planning Scheme, allowing Dual Occupancy. This was opposed by the public in submissions, and at a hearing before Denis Burke. About 50 attended, though held in office hours. The opposition was strong.

Strangely an approval decision followed by Minister David Tollner.

The approved no. 452 with new NT Planning Scheme clauses was signed by Minister Tollner on 27 July, 2016. It was published with other of his decisions on 29 July, 2016. The NT Government election was held on 27 August, 2016.

Review by Our Planning Minister Manison

ALP Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics - Nicole Manison on 19 October, 2016, established an Interim Order preventing Amendment 452 from being used for 12 months. Now she has implemented a review of the provisions of the decision, setting up a consultation process by the firm of Elton Consulting.

Contacts for Consultation by Elton Consulting

Elton Consulting has prepared a Consultation Paper, April. 2017, called Northern Territory Dual Occupancy to be available on their project website at www.elton.com.au/dualoccupancy. If that reference fails, as does now for me (Google search elton.com.au/dual occupancy-Dual Occupancy community consultation-Elton consulting).

There is discussion paper to download, a register for updates, a place to register for a workshop, a detailed on line survey of your details, and a brief space to comment on dual occupancy. There is a free workshop in Darwin on Saturday morning, 6 May, 2017 for which you can register. The telephone hotline is 1800 870 706, not responding at present.

We explained the short notice to Elton’s adding that we expected the community to be at the Seabreeze Festival - the focus on Saturday, 6 May, 2017 at Nightcliff. They are unwilling to change that date, as their programme is tight, and they have other ‘Stakeholders’. This, and the short window, is most unsatisfactory.

Community Opinion, and the Content of the Discussion Paper

We do not know who wrote this Discussion Paper, but in our view it is superficial, but at the same time strongly biased towards a tick for Dual Occupancy. The full story, and the true picture of its impact on our tropical living are not being told.

In 2012 there was strong opposition, including from Council, when Elton was involved in a move to introduce Dual Occupancy. This failed. Its introduction would benefit a few individuals, but could spread like a pox on our suburbs, and destroy suburban character, and ultimately the planning system. ‘Random’ exceptions to zoning through dual occupancy could be approved all over Darwin.  

The strong objections given by home owners and suburban residents, as part of due process during the exhibition period, and at the hearing in 2016, should have been adequately sufficient to quash Planning Minister Tollner’s attempt to legalize dual occupancy for years to come. 


If you share the view already expressed by many suburban residents that Dual Occupancy should not be introduced, here are some reasons you might choose from for mention in your own words, in your comments to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. email address. It is always a good idea to keep a copy of your submission.  

  • This proposal needs to be rejected. 500sm is not large enough to build a separate tropical home.
  • Amendment 452 is unnecessary now. There are a serious overestimations of the rate of growth of the Darwin population in the coming years.
  • Dual Occupancy would destroy our highly prized suburbs like Larrakeyah, Brinkin, Nightcliff, Northlakes, by randomly splitting land into small lots.
  • Location, location, location is the catch cry of real estate agents. This would destroy certainty of suburban values.
  • Good planning rests on informed zoning, with a proper mix. Dual Occupancy is random and can be cumulative.
  • Dual Occupancy is not about overall housing need.
  • Smaller homes on share lots are catered for by the MD (Multiple dwelling zoning, and by independent units.
  • Rarely is existing utility infrastructure in older suburbs sufficient for dual occupancy, though the saving on infrastructure is often used as a poular argument.
  • Roads, particularly in circuits, are narrower, leading to parking and traffic problems.
  • Battle axe blocks, regarded by planners as undesirable, would multiply.
  • Dual occupancy affects three sets of neighbours, reducing privacy affecting lights and noise.
  • Most existing homes are placed centrally, and addressing the street, meaning demolition before a second house can share the lot.
  • Dual occupancy would result in loss of tree cover for natural shade, and cumulative loss of valued gardens in older suburbs.
  • Denser dwellings have a greater dependence on air conditioning as the breezes are lost. Clothes dryers are also needed.
  • Overall, there is a cumulative loss of amenity in affected suburbs.
  • The large figures for lots of 1000+ show that there is a huge potential for insecurity amongst the neighbours of such homes. With a big investment, and possibly a mortgage, waking to a development sign in a ‘safe’ zone, would cause severe uncertainty and stress followed by disruption by noise.
  • Given that public opposition has centred on the concept of dual occupancy per se, the Amendment no.452 clauses have as yet not been properly assessed by residents. For instance , attached dwellings would lack acceptance in large lot suburbs.
  • With subdivisioning left optional for dual occupancies, Councils face uncertainties about services, land values and rating.
  • Our opinion is that the discussion paper is superficial, but biased towards dual occupancy. It lacks critical analysis. It is unbalanced and misleading when it uses Cairns with a different planning system as an example. Most of the pictures are of copious modern duplexes. Duplexes are already catered for in Darwin the MD zone.


I hope there is now greater understanding of planning and the negative implications of allowing Dual Occupancy and the clauses of NT Planning Amendment no.452.

'The State of the nation starts with you', by Hugh Mackay.

Published in The Conversation.

Author: Hugh Mackay, Honorary Professor of Social Science, University of Wollongong; Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Arts, Charles Sturt University

Disclosure statement: Hugh Mackay does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

Partners: Charles Sturt University - Charles Sturt University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

A ‘loss of community’ is one of the most common concerns among contemporary Australians. AAP/Tracey Nearmy.

This is an edited version of the Gandhi Oration, delivered by Hugh Mackay at the University of New South Wales on January 30, 2017.

I wonder what Gandhi would have made of Australia in 2017 – a place that many people who live here regard as the best country in the world.

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Planning Act Amendment put up by Planning Minister Tollner on the last day of the Giles Parliament

Attachment below is a copy of a Letter to the Leader of the Opposition. This amendment gives the NT Planning Commission power over the NT Planning Scheme, and reduces the public and local government's right to comment on proposed changes.

pdfPlanning Act Amendment 2016

Below is Plan's media release after the bill was passed. This was passed on the last day of the Parliament, in spite of being opposed by the Opposition.


Flagstaff Park Development Proposal

Flagstaff Park (Lot 5180, Town of Darwin) is the public park (zoned PS- Public Open Space) on the top of the end of Myilly Point. It has l panoramic views of the Darwin Harbour, and is of history and heritage significance. The old 'gardens' are a remnant of Flagstaff House, which was a Vice Regal home, until destroyed by Cyclone Tracy in 1974.

This park was publicly dedicated by Chief Minister Clare Martin to the people of Darwin in 2001.

Continue Reading

Help Save the Gardens Suburb Community

The Gardens is a small suburb almost hidden between the Botanic Gardens and the Stuart Highway. A tight nit community has chosen to live here, supposedly out of harms way. They are now literally campaigning to save their community from destruction by high rise development. On Saturday 30 August, about 100 of them rallied close to the proposed site. Lot 7820 is at the corner of Blake Street and Gardens Hill Crescent (look it up in a directory if you don't know where).

A yellow sign alerted them to a Planning Notice for the following:

To rezone Lot 7820 Town of Darwin (4 Blake Street from Zone CP(Community Purpose) to a Specific Use Zone

This means there has been an application for a lot officially zoned for a community use to be rezoned for the construction of a development. In this case, the ultimate objective is to build two nine storey apartment buildings which would be totally out of character with the suburban area. It has a mix single detached dwellings, and modest one to two storey town houses, perhaps with the odd three storey.

Full details of the proposal, and how to object, are under 'Details of Proposed Planning Scheme Amendments'.on the internet at 'NT Planning Notices', or 'One Stop Shop NT'.

Closing date for objections is 12 September 2014

The decision is to be made by the minister for Planning after a hearing by the Development Consent Authority at which all objectors can attend and speak.  Local residents are objecting strongly to the prospect of Community Purposes land being taken for development, and see this as the 'thin end of the wedge' for the complete destruction of their much loved suburb and community which they have invested in, and call home.

THE GARDENS COMMUNITY would welcome more objections based focussed on the use of Community Purposes zoned land for residential densification. (See also more details below).

There is a email address for supporters to contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please download/print out the following document:


EIS about the new Fighter Aircraft due soon in the Top End

The new Australian Fighter Aircraft will be the F35A LIGHTNING II.  Details of the Environmental Impact Statement(EIS), other relevant information, and comments will be at www.f35evolution.com.au.

Pitch Black Air Exercises 2014

There will be aircraft noise during  PITCH BLACK quite separately.  This has a major disrupting effect on parts of Darwin, which  affected people may want to minimise. People have asked at least for a timetable, and monitors at various parts of Darwin to record sound levels.

Complaints may be made to the Air Services website.

Reports about  all types of air noise complaints can be found here. Very few complaints have so far come from Darwin.

Draft Darwin Regional Land Use Plan

The NT Planning Commission now has on exhibition a copy of the  Draft Darwin Regional Land Use. This is the next stage on from the Towards a Darwin Regional land Use PLan, and is supposed to reflect the consultation on that document. The plan is the big picture future plan. The Commissioner Gary Nairn has commented that the plan does not look very different, but the noters with it contain a lot of information for consideration.

The Draft can be downloaded from: www.planningcommission.nt.gov.au

If you cannot download, contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and request a hard copy or USB.

There are big changes proposed, so please have your say, particularly Do not dam the Elizabeth River.



Old Hospital Site (Myilly Point) Draft Proposal

The Northern Territory Government, via the NT PLanning Commission, has at last put together a draft proposal about the OLD HOSPITAL SITE/MYILLY POINT/FLAGSTAFF PARK/KAHLIN.

Unfortunately it proposes that over 60% of the land would be taken up by residential development  'to pay for' making green open space available.  Not really appropriate when it is all crown land which we already own, and support through out taxes.   I do not know where our  government's have got this concept of charging us twice for what is ours, and what has been neglected for years. (The ALP had proposed a 20% to 80% public balance, which was bad enough).


View the concept plan here

More useful details for members who want to express an opinion to the NTG by the cut off date 11 June, 2014, will find more detailed information at  Territory Planning Commission

Feel free to make your own posted submission if you want to say more than the online response seems to allow. Your opinion is important.

Proposed Nightcliff Foreshore Cafe/Restaurant

After a long delay, City of Darwin finally announced its consultation on the idea of building a Cafe/Restaurant on the Nightcliff Foreshore near the Nightcliff Swimming pool.

Lord Mayor Katrina Fong Lim made it quite clear on ABC TV News (25.3.2013) that those who are totally against any such building here on the foreshore headland, that is who are for the 'status quo', can say so now, in the consultation process.

The attachment below from the C of D website provides an outline of the situation.

rtfNightcliff ForeshoreCafe/Restaurant

There is additional information on the C of D website which you can find by searching 'Nightcliff Foreshore Consultation'.

Council's online survey has great detail about preferring one of the two optional buildings, but there is nowhere you can state you are against any buildings at all in this location.

The consultation will close at 5pm on 6 May, 2013.


For further information please contact the City of Darwin, Anna Malgorzewicz, Senior Community Engagement Officer on (08) 8930 0404 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


After two people searched unsuccessfully to find within the 'consultation survey, a place to vote for the 'status quo' , that is, NO CAFE/RESTAURANT, a call was made to Council.


Just check carefully, as the rest of the 'consultation survey' is about the two built options.

Please note that this survey is for anyone who cares, not just the residents of Nightcliff.

The consultation survey is on the main City of Darwin website. Just wait for the Nightcliff Foreshore feature as it roll around onto the screen.


This proposal has been put together by a group of Nightcliff residents calling themselves Friends of Nightcliff. The group includes Simon Scally an architect and Marisa Fontes a landscape architect and other community members.

Like many of us, they do not want a restaurant, but  love the Nightcliff foreshore for relaxation. They see this time of focus as the occasion to improve the Nightcliff Headland for the enjoyment of all residents and ratepayers. The greatest urge seems to be for a cafe/coffee shop, rather than a restaurant. 

The  main suggestion is to improve safety and landscaping on the area and improving the pool infrastructure, modernising it, and tucking a cafe into the  end of the refurbished pool building. There would be no 250sm+ $1.5 million+ restaurant on the headland, on the eroding cliffs.. Other costs would need more carefully managed.

A major feature would be the re-routing of the walking/running circuit around to the sea side of the pool, away from Casuarina Drive, and the car parks. This would eliminate clashes between cars and pedestrians.

Here is the Masterplan, with key references shown below on the map. PLan suggests you may wish  to vote NO at question 6, on the Council Survey,  and instead support some of these ideas for improving the precinct. for everyone. Voting NO leaves the options open.

pdfNightcliff Pool Precinct Masterplan

Margaret Clinch
Convener Plan

Palmerston CBD Masterplan

Palmerston City Council is exhibiting a draft Masterplan for their CBD for comment and consultation.

The coloured draft masterplan brochure is NOW on display at www.palmerston.nt.gov.au

The link is on the main website page, and all pages can be opened and viewed.

Details are given about the consultation process.

Greater Darwin Plan Scuttles the Darwin Town Plan Values - A Densification Bulldozer

On the morning of 1 March, 2012, Chief Minister Paul Henderson announced his Greater Darwin PLan for our beautiful tropical city by one of the best natural harbours in the world. It introduces chaos, and leaves residents living in uncertainty.

Largely as a result of having attracted INPEX LNG Plant here, the Northern Territory Government (NTG) expects Darwin to grow at an exponential rate. We have already been experiencing housing shortages, with unaffordable rents and home prices. However, this is not the answer Darwin residents need, or can tolerate.

Our old Darwin Town Plan set the minimum size for the single dwelling (SD) house lot in Darwin at 800 square metres for tropical living.

The NTPS also lists this as a minimum size lot for a house. This size was a step down from earlier minimums of 1000 square metres and 1200 square metres still much sought appreciated in suburbs like Nightcliff.

Most of Darwin was planned in the days of the Commonwealth administration, up to 1978.

The Northern Territory Planning Scheme (NTPS) was introduced in 2007, supposedly to have Territory wide uniform effect. Since that time, it has been amended over 200 times. Its greatest impact has been through through special conditions (SU's) for suburban developers.

New housing in Palmerston was on much smaller lots. than in Darwin. The NTG had become dependent on developers for new suburbs, IT agreed to smaller lots for projects oh more than 50 homes. That later spread to Lyons and now Muirhead.

Planning means planning for appropriate uses in appropriate places and relationships. Needed are areas for various types of residential, commercial, industrial, community uses, such as schools, tertiary education, aged care, hospitals, libraries, museums, community centres, child care centres, youth drop ins, etc., and parks for sport and recreation, and environmental conservation. Infrastructure is essential, and planning must respect land capability constrains such as water supplies and storm surge.

Darwin suburbs each have their own character. People choose the amenity of the place where they purchase or live.

The Henderson Greater Darwin Plan brings home the insecurity thrust this year on rural dwellers, to your own suburb.

We have already seen a series of spot rezonings for multiple dwellings and apartment blocks. Now we face dual occupancy before its ramifications have been thought out.

Your way of life would be destroyed if two or three neighbours go for dual occupancies for profit in this plan, or if there is a deceased estate. Trees and gardens are at risk, as is tropical design, as houses closer together will need airconditioning.

We have already seen rezonings of Community Purposes land for residential projects, as by Charles Darwin University at Palmerston. Exceptional Development Permit (EDP) applications have become the rage, In Conigrave Street, Fannie Bay, the NTG has already approved an EDP for two four bedroom houses side by side on one lot, despite objections.

Strange that Department of Planning staff assert that such changes based on policy, some of which predate actual amendments to the NTPS, will not increase density, nor affect the amenity of particular suburbs, precincts or neighbourhoods.

This is not good planning.


For more information, visit our Shop 23 in the Rapid Creek Business Village in Trower Road, Rapid Creek.

We are open Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-5 pm. In addition, we will also be open on Sunday, March 4 and 11 12noon-3pm to discuss these issues.


pdfGreater Darwin Plan (Full Version)

pdfGreater Darwin Plan (Stakeholders Version)

Urgency to densify the suburbs of Darwin

In unseemly urgency to densify the suburbs of Darwin, the Northern Territory Government wants to undermine rules of the Northern Territory Planning Scheme (NTPS)-again. This time the catchword is 'DUAL OCCUPANCY'

The idea is to amend the rules so t that the Development Consent Authority (DCA) could consent to two houses on any single lot zoned for a SD(Single Dwelling). That is if it is at least 1000 square metres in area. This, it seems, could be ANYWHERE in an ordinary residential suburb. There goes choice and certainty. THIS WOULD BE IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THE MINIMUM LOT SIZE FOR AN SD LOT IS 800 SQUARE METRES. THIS WOULD MAKE A NONESENSE OF THE NTPS.

Some may welcome the opportunity. However, the impact on the community and its tropical lifestyle could be greatly negative. This is densification of our tropical lifestyle by stealth.

The attachment below contains the details of the proposal - and I feel sure this is a real planning amendment, not a review. HOWEVER YOU ARE INVITED TO COMMENT. THE QUICKEST WAY IS TO SUBMIT A COMMENT IS BY EMAIL (via 'This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.')

Address it to: Strategic Planning, Department of Planning.

Identify ' Planning Amendment 2011/0935' DUAL OCCUPANCY'

Provide your name, address and contact, and list of your reasons against having two houses in each of your neighbour's back yards.

These might include perhaps loss of privacy, loss of gardens, noise, smells,cutting off of shade and breezes, more traffic, and strained infrastructure services.

Then there is possible loss of house values, and perhaps higher council rates because of your lot's new development potential.


Our Location

Our valued volunteers man the office Thursday afternoon between 1pm and 5.30pm. We are located at 26B/16 Charlton Crt, Woolner.


Post: GPO Box 2513, Darwin, NT, 0801
Phone: 08 8927 1999
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.