Course Outline

ENP411 Advanced Planning Policy and Practice

Course Coordinator:Greg Mews ( School:School of Law and Society

2022Semester 1

USC Sunshine Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to the USC website for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This advanced course will extend your knowledge of theory and law through policy and strategic planning at
multiple levels of governance. You will cover complex decision-making involving statutory and non-statutory
instruments including public works impact assessment. Throughout the course, the knowledge and skills
required by the professional planner in practice and planning ethics are addressed through incorporating visiting
practitioners and workshop sessions to problem-solve current planning practice issues.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus Workshop - 3 Hours 3hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

Extending knowledge of theory and law through policy and strategic planning at multiple levels of governance

Complex decision- making involving statutory and non-statutory instruments including major project impact assessment. 

Planning ethics. 

Problem-solving and evaluation of current planning practice issues in the context of best practice planning policy and adequate data and monitoring.

What level is this course?

400 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Perform critical analysis and demonstrate strategic thinking and Problem solving skills as applied to a diverse range of regional and urban planning issues Creative and critical thinker
2 Demonstrate knowledge application of sustainable development Sustainability-focussed
3 Demonstrate a capacity to reflect on personal values and professional practice to inform theory Ethical
4 Demonstrate understanding of planning theory and principles as well as the need for and use of credible information for planning policy and strategy Knowledgeable

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the USC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Timely and detailed feedback is provided for each assessment. Feedback is provided both within text and general
comments to build scholarly skills. Students are able to seek feedback through face-to-face discussion with the
course coordinator. Tutorials will include extended discussion and review of the assessment task requirements
and scope.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Essay Individual 10%
1000 words
Week 4 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Report Individual 50%
3000 words
Week 8 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Written Piece Individual 40%
1000 words
Week 13 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Mini Essay
To demonstrate evidence of how theory and practice inform each other (theory-practice dialectic).
Product: Essay
Write an essay on techniques used to address a current planning issue by a guest lecturer, and explain how this demonstrates or informs planning theory (including ethics) on the topic.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrated understanding of application of planning techniques to address an issue in
3 4
Demonstrated understanding of planning theory (which could include ethics).
All - Assessment Task 2:Report
To analyse how a critical planning issue is addressed strategically at multiple levels of governance, propose amendments to local government statutory and non-statutory instruments, and test applicability to a real development proposal.
Product: Report
Imagine you are a strategic planner working for Sunshine Coast Council. Write a report to Council
senior staff and elected officials recommending how to address a strategic planning issue on the
Sunshine Coast (e.g. peak oil, public transit, affordable housing) through the mechanisms
available to local governments. Your report will include:

1) An analysis of how the issue is addressed in ‘best planning practice’ as identified in the
literature, and assessment of relevant international, national, and State government
policies, as well as one of the Sunshine Coast Council planning strategy papers for
consistency with best practice.
2) Examples of how the relevant best practice principles and Council strategy could be
implemented through statutory and non-statutory mechanisms by:
a) writing an amendment to a relevant planning scheme and code; and
b) including provisions in non-regulatory mechanisms such as the Corporate Plan,
community plan, and/or Council budget.
3) A review of an existing development or a current development application to determine
if it is consistent with, or how it would need to be revised to be consistent with, the
visions and directions in a Council Strategy paper and the planning scheme.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Critical analysis of planning issue and reference to best practice from literature
1 4
Critical assessment of multiple levels of policies with reference to best practice.
1 4
Demonstrated understanding of the existing planning scheme and codes, applicability to
an existing development or current development application, and appropriateness of
alternative solutions.
1 2 4
Demonstrated understanding of non-regulatory mechanisms of implementing policy
and best practice.
Succinct well-structured written communication.
All - Assessment Task 3:Ministerial Briefing Paper
To learn how to succinctly brief a State or Commonwealth government Minister on a complex planning issue and provide principled and evidence-based advice.
Product: Written Piece
Imagine you are a planning or policy advisor working for State or Commonwealth government.
Write a brief to your Minister critically evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a major public
or private infrastructure project proposal in Australia.
Your brief will be divided in two parts:
a) Explain the limitations of the proposal and identify what type of knowledge and
techniques are needed in order to appropriately address content issues. Recommend to
the Minister how he/she should decide on the application and provide reasons.
b) Suggest how to improve the decision-making process, perhaps requiring amendments to
legislation and/or a state planning instrument or guidelines, with reference to good
principles for planning and impact assessment.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Critical analysis of perceived strengths and weaknesses of the proposal with supporting
1 2 4
Demonstration of knowledge and application of advanced planning and impact
assessment principlesto inform recommendations for improved decision-making
2 4
Succinct written communication.

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Directed study hours may vary by location. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

There are no required/recommended resources for this course.

Specific requirements

Lists of required and recommended readings may be found for this course on its Canvas site. These
materials/readings will assist you in preparing for tutorials and assignments, and will provide further information
regarding particular aspects of your course.

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Eligibility for Supplementary Assessment

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


USC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

Visit the USC website:

Student Charter

USC is committed to excellence in teaching, research and engagement in an environment that is inclusive, inspiring, safe and respectful. The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University, and what in turn is expected of students, to achieve these outcomes.

General Enquiries

  • In person:
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    • USC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
    • USC SouthBank - Student Central, Building A4 (SW1), 52 Merivale Street, South Brisbane
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  • Tel:+61 7 5430 2890