(Left to right): Gary Prattley, MacroPlan; Mark Batty, Western Australian Local Government; Brendan Nelson, PIA

Creating places for people and enhancing safe and healthy communities dominated this year’s national planning awards.

Planning Institute Australia president Brendan Nelson said the nominations highlighted the Australian community’s priorities for future development.

“Projects related to the environment, climate change, open space and recreation featured strongly amongst the award winners and commendations, showing that these things matter greatly to the planning profession and to the community more broadly,” Mr Nelson said.

Queensland took out almost half of the awards including the award for Public Engagement and Community Planning, given to the Queensland government’s state-wide consultation on The Queensland Plan.

The Planner of the Year award also went to a Queenslander – Chris Isles from Place Design.

Western Australia took home four awards and two commendations.

These included the Best Planning Ideas – Large Project, given to the City of Swan for its Strategic Bushfire Risk Analysis.

Victoria and South Australia received one award each.

Former Victorian Planning Minister John Thwaites was named 2015 Planning Champion for his persistent promotion of the importance of planning and an inner-Adelaide project that transformed a car-dominated environment into a place for people won the From Plan to Place Award.

In NSW, the award for Outstanding Student Project went to Ashleigh Ryan from Newcastle.

The Outstanding Achievement by a Young Planner award went to Charlene Liau from the ACT.

Mr Nelson said the judging panel was impressed with the broad cross section of work by planners across all sectors with 49 entries considered across 13 categories.

“It’s a clear signal that planners across the nation are determined to demonstrate the unquestioned value that planning delivers to all corners of the nation and every aspect of the lifestyles Australians enjoy,” he said.

The Awards for Planning Excellence exist to emphasise the role of the planning profession and to increase public awareness of good planning.

Entries that merit an award demonstrate a contribution to liveable communities, excellence in planning and recognition of the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental sustainability.