Property 101: Get in the zone on commercial property

Property 101: Get in the zone on commercial property
Property 101: Get in the zone on commercial property

Land use zoning is a tool used by local governments to define the types of land use permitted or prohibited in each zone.

Simply put, zoning is a framework to decide what can and what cannot be built in specific areas.

Zoning differs from state to state in Australia, but land under the control of the Commonwealth (federal) government is not subject to state planning controls.

Although zoning differs from state to state, zones are generally classified into these broad categories: Residential, Commercial, Industrial, Agricultural and Mixed-Use. Within these are sub-categories, with zones typically identified by a colour on a map.

When considering investing in commercial property, it pays to check with the local council about the zoning of the land to avoid running afoul of the law and nasty surprises later.

Listed below is the zoning for states and the ACT.

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT has commercial zones from CZ1 through to CZ6, with CZ5 for mixed-use, while CZ6 is a leisure and accommodation zone.

New South Wales

NSW has a Standard Instrument Local Environment Plan in place with that covers residential, commercial and mixed use among others. Listed is the zoning for commercial: 

B1 Neighbourhood Centre

B2 Local Centre

B3 Commercial Core

B4 Mixed Use

B5 Business Development

B6 Enterprise Corridor

B7 Business Park

B8 Metropolitan Centre

Northern Territory

The NT has a long list of codes, with commercial zones divided into the following:

CB Central Business

C Commercial

SC Service Commercial

TC Tourist Commercial

The residential goes from single dwelling to high density.


The Queensland Planning Provisions (QPP) document provides a format and structure for local governments to prepare their planning schemes while allowing the flexibility to address each local government's circumstances. Zoning is controlled by individual councils and differ from council to council across the state.

South Australia

In SA, zoning differs from council to council across the state.


Tasmania has 23 different zones, and all its 29 councils each have a planning scheme within the guidelines of the Tasmania Planning Commission , with the exception of the Hobart City Council which has two.


All land in Victoria has a zone, specifying particular purposes for land, such as residential growth, low density residential or commercial 1. The framework is managed by the Victoria Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure.

Western Australia

Local councils in Western Australia set their own planning schemes, which are controlled by the Western Australian Planning Commission.

Zoning Land Use

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