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Implications of Planning Reform on Section 7 Searches - Circular 37.9

To Chief Executive Officer
Corporate Services Staff
Governance Officers
Planning - Building Staff
Date 12 September 2019
Contact Stephen Smith
Response Required No
Summary The LGA has sought advice and developed recommended actions for councils, in response to statutory search requests made utilising Form 1 under Section 7 of the Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Act 1994 that reference (the soon to be repealed) Development Plans.


Statutory obligations under the Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) (LBSC) Act and Regulations require councils to provide specified information to persons who make an application (statutory search request).

The relevant information Councils need to respond to are provided in the Form 1 statement provided by a vendor of land or business under section 7 of the LBSC Act to any purchaser.

Two of the questions that Councils are required to respond to in Form 1 reference Development Plans.

The legislative changes to the planning system by the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 and the transition to the new Planning and Design Code will result in the repeal of Development Plans.

No transitional changes to the LBSC Act or Regulations have been made to take account of the changes to the planning system.

Recommended Action

The LGA sought advice to address this statutory and regulatory vacuum. Based on this advice, the LGA recommends the following action to be taken by it’s membership;

From 1 October 2019, until the date on which a Council’s Development Plan is repealed and replaced by the Planning and Design Code, a Council responding to a statutory search request should also provide written information. Please find suggested information note here: Information Note(33 kb)

By the provision of this information, Councils will alert the person making the request to the impending changes to planning policy, and provide that person with an appropriate avenue for further enquiry, if they wish.

The person receiving the information has the responsibility to determine if, and how much of this information is then conveyed via the Form 1, or by any other means, to any purchaser. 

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