There are two levels of planning legislation in Australia. One where local councils can develop and implement their own planning schemes and supporting local policies, and the other where State Governments provide the planning framework that offers a degree of uniformity, but where local councils determine their land use zones and establish local policies. These are well established processes supported by Acts of parliament. It is important to note that not all land use activities require a planning permit or a development approval, but this will be determined by the land zoning, planning overlays and other planning triggers.
ATHA undertook a review of the planning legislation in 2019 and found that THOWs are not separately defined in any legislation. Rather, there are mentions of moveable, ancillary, transportable, relocatable, manufactured home and secondary dwelling. As a result a development or planning application for the permanent occupation of a tiny house would need to be made on an individual case by case basis. This process then lacks consistency and is at the discretion of the local council, which could differ over a council or state border. Failure to have a nationally consistent planning approach to tiny houses means that tiny house dwellers may need to identify, which councils are tiny house ‘friendly’ if they seek to move it.