It is incredible what planning information you can source for free for your property. The trick is just to know where to look. As housing is regulated in Australia, before you even consider building or renovating, you must have all the facts and the up to date paperwork at hand. This list of resources will help you cut through the red tape and give you access to the information you need.
Local Council Website
Your local council is a minefield of free information. Therefore, visit their website to see what information can be found directly online.
Planning maps can be found online with relative ease. Visit your local council website and just follow the links. It is merely a matter of inputting your address, and you will easily be able to see what online records are held on the property.
Development Application/Planning Permit Tracking
A Development Application (DA) can be lodged online with your city council. A DA application, once approved, gives you permission to build, alter, subdivide or change the use of a building, or even subdivide the land. When you are given your application number, you can then track the permit online. Past planning applications can also be viewed online up to a certain historical point. It may be useful to speak to the Duty Planning Office initially to see whether your development is exempt from any prior consent.
Duty Planning Office
To seek planning advice, the Duty Planner can be most helpful. The Duty Planning Office will advise whether a DA is required, the costs involved, whether your project is legal and any codes or policies which could impact your plans. Visit your local council website to find the necessary contact details so you can ensure you are speaking to the correct person.
State Government Website
Just as your local council website is a font of knowledge, don’t discount your State Government Website. We have put together a list of state planning portals and the controls you need to pay specific attention to.
State Planning Portals
Each state has its own planning portal to help you locate the information on your property simply and efficiently. Here are the links to each respective state and territory in Australia.
New South Wales (NSW): https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/find-a-property
Queensland (QLD): https://planning.dilgp.qld.gov.au/maps
Victoria (VIC): https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/
South Australian (SA): http://www.saplanningportal.sa.gov.au/
Western Australia (WA): https://www.planning.wa.gov.au/
Tasmania (TAS): http://www.iplan.tas.gov.au/Pages/XC.Home/Home.aspx
Northern Territory (NT): https://nt.gov.au/property
Property owners in each Australian state and territory must pay particular attention to the following controls and how it implements their planning development goals.
i. Land Zoning
Land zoning differs from state to state, as does the zoning codes for each state. Visit your state website to learn more about the specific land zoning regulations and how they might apply to you.
ii. Floor Space Ratio
The floor space ratio will need to be determined for any developmental or building plans. Follow the state rules as to how they correctly tally the figure.
iii. Height of Building
It can get tricky when each state has their own set of rules. It applies to fence heights and even building heights, so make sure you understand any minimum and maximum heights applicable to your situation.
iv. Landscape Ratio
Like the floor space ratio, it pays to double check that you are using the correct landscape ratio. A quick visit to your state website will quickly confirm that you have not been misinformed.
Always check back to your nominated state portal to ensure your information is valid and accurate before you go ahead and submit any development applications.
Old Real Estate Listings
Old real estate listings can also provide free online information regarding the property in question. As most properties have an old listing on realestate.com.au, that is a great place to start. Failing that, search on Google and see what other listings may be available.
The internet can be a valuable resource when it comes to locating free planning information. It can help you avoid a lot of time standing around in queues at your local or state council office or paying exorbitant fees for the release of the data.