These powers must be exercised within the scope of the power, in
good faith and with reasonable care.
A local government officer's role is to assess a development
application and advise the local government. Occasionally a
development application may be decided by an officer exercising a
delegated authority from the local government.
A councillor may be involved in a development application in
various roles, including as a mediator between interests, an
elected community representative and a decision maker.
Political aspects of a development proposal
A development application may be open for public submissions,
which the decision maker will be required to consider in deciding
whether to give an approval.
If your development is controversial and you wish to engage a
councillor as a mediator between you and the interests opposing the
proposal, a high level of formality should be expected. The
councillor will likely seek delegated authority from the council to
assist in negotiations and involve other local government officers
in any meetings with you.
You may also approach your elected representative as a member of
the public and communicate your views in support of the proposal.
However, keep in mind that the councillor has a responsibility to
represent the current and future interests of all residents and
your views will not be the only views they must consider.
Lobbying activities (such as a professional lobbyist acting for
a third party client) may be the subject of State laws. Become
familiar with these requirements if you are undertaking
In a decision maker role, a councillor will need to keep an open
mind until all information is available, including the
recommendations of the local government officers and any public
Balancing the private and public interests involved
Overall, the laws governing planning and development seek to
balance the private property interests of landowners and the public
interest in orderly development.
Having considered public submissions on a development proposal,
the decision must be made in accordance with planning principles
and the applicable planning laws, based on the merits of the
application. The decision must be made in good faith, which would
include avoiding any improper purpose, bias or personal or
Ordinarily, an officer's recommendation will be followed by
a local government unless there is a finely balanced planning issue
involved and there are good grounds why a contrary decision is
A councillor's overall responsibility is to act in the
public interest for the whole local government area. This means the
decision must be a decision that a reasonable elected councillor
who is not influenced by personal considerations would make.
The Council announced planning policies to encourage more inner suburban retirement village and aged care development.
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