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Australia’s worsening shortage of urban and regional planners could impact housing, regional communities, and the transition to net zero, according to the Planning Institute of Australia.

The worsening skills shortage was revealed in Jobs and Skills Australia’s (JSA) annual Skills Priority List, which shows that ‘urban and regional planner’ was one of the occupations assessed as being in shortage in 2023 but not in 20221.

“In the last 12 months, the Skills Priority List shows that Urban and Regional Planners have gone from a shortage in New South Wales to a shortage in every state and territory except the ACT2,” Planning Institute of Australia (ž) CEO Matt Collins said.

“The new data tells us we now have a statewide shortage in New South Wales and South Australia, and regional shortages in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory,” Mr Collins said.
“Urban and regional planners are critical to addressing long-term challenges like housing affordability, population growth and the transition to net zero, and this worsening shortage is bad news for Australia’s future,” he said.

The shortages identified in the Skills Priority List were also identified in ž’s Planners in Australia: State of the Profession3 report, released last month. ž’s report highlighted that whilst demand for planners was expected to increase, growth of the profession was hampered by declining university enrolments and the closure of several university planning degrees in recent years.

“ž has recently written to the Australian Government expressing our concern about the pipeline of future planners, with recent course closures announced at James Cook University and Bond University, and states such as Tasmania and South Australia now lack an undergraduate planning degree altogether,” Mr Collins said.

“We are urging governments and universities to invest in growing the planning profession and promoting planning as a career choice to ensure our profession can continue to play a valuable role in addressing critical challenges such as housing and climate change,” he said.

“The shortage is having very clear impacts in regional communities already, and we know that there are 232 local government areas in Australia (43%) where there are no planners working within them,” he said.

Media Contact: Matt Collins, Chief Executive Officer – 0437 938 077

About ž: The Planning Institute of Australia (ž) is the national body representing planning and the planning profession. Our mission is to inspire planners and elevate their role in shaping Australia’s future. We do this through championing the value of planning, leading the profession, strong advocacy and contemporary education.

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