Planning compliance mechanisms

Access Canberra compliance activities are aimed at ensuring positive outcomes for industry and the community. The legislative framework includes a variety of options for dealing with non-compliance.

Non-compliance with legislation and standards

Non-compliance activities may include:

Offences can result in warnings, controlled activity orders, rectification directions, prohibition notices, penalties or injunctions.

Prohibition notices

Access Canberra can give a prohibition notice to prevent the starting or continuing:

Serving of notice

A prohibition notice can be given to a lessee or occupier, or anyone by whom or on whose behalf the activity was, is being or is to be conducted or is likely to be conducted.

Two or more prohibition notices may be given in relation to the same activity.

It is an offence to carry out an activity that has been prohibited by a prohibition notice.

Ending of notice

A prohibition notice ends in accordance with the notice or when the notice is revoked, whichever is the earliest. A person who is the subject of a prohibition notice may apply in writing to have it revoked, stating the grounds on which revocation is sought. We may revoke the notice if satisfied on reasonable grounds the notice is no longer necessary or appropriate.


There are penalties for offences under the Planning and Development Act 2007.

For example, the maximum penalty for a corporation undertaking a development without approval is 2,500 penalty units or $1,250,000. Penalties for offences are on a sliding scale, depending on whether the offence was intentional, reckless or negligent, or a strict liability. Some offences under the Criminal Code 2002 also apply.

However, if a person undertakes a development in accordance with an existing development approval and the development is prohibited or exempt from requiring development approval, it is not an offence to undertake the approved development.

If a development is exempt from requiring development approval and the development is commenced while the exemption applied but the exemption was removed before the development is completed, the development remains lawful.

The use of land, a building or structure remains lawful provided the use remains authorised by the relevant lease, licence or permit. This is despite any change in law that stops the use from being exempt from approval and despite the case of any use not being continuous.

If the use is authorised by a lease, the use remains lawful even if the lease is sold (or subject to other dealing) or renewed. However, this protection is lost if the lease is surrendered or terminated, if the affected lease expires and no application is made for a further lease or the use is authorised by a licence or permit and the licence or permit ends (whether on expiry or otherwise and even if renewed).


Access Canberra or anyone else may apply to the Supreme Court for an injunction where a person has engaged, is engaging or proposes to engage in conduct that was, is, or could be, a contravention of a controlled activity order or prohibition notice.

The Supreme Court may grant an injunction restraining a person from engaging in particular conduct or requiring the person to carry out other actions if:

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