The Planning Commission currently has seven members who provide planning leadership and deliver professional, independent advice. The Commission strengthens links between the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority, Development Consent Authority, Heritage Council and Local Government Associations.

The Planning Commission comprises:

  • Chairperson
  • Chairpersons of the Development Consent Authority, Heritage Council and NT Environment Protection Authority
  • a representative of the Local Government Association
  • up to five additional members with appropriate qualifications and expertise appointed by the Minister, who hold office for up to two years.

The Commission membership includes the chairpersons of three bodies with statutory decision-making powers for development, providing for a greater shared understanding of the aspirations of the planning system in delivering outcomes.

Where required, the Commission can also second people on its subcommittees or engage external consultants.

Our members

Dr David Ritchie

Chairman (appointed 12 July 2017)

Profile picture - David Ritchie

Dr David Ritchie has 38 years’ experience working in the NT for organisations responsible for land management, in professional expert roles and also senior management and executive. This work includes extensive experience with statutory boards with roles under land development, land rights, and environment and heritage legislation.

For more than 20 years, David has held chief executive roles, leading organisations responsible for land resource planning, remote service delivery, parks and wildlife, natural resource management, environment protection, Aboriginal cultural heritage and museums, art galleries and archives. Throughout his career, David has had extensive involvement working closely with Aboriginal communities in remote regions of the NT.

David also brings specific planning experience gained in the roles of Executive Director Lands, Chief Executive Department of Lands and Planning and Chief Executive of the NT Land Development Corporation.

David is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Anthropological Society. He is also a director of not-for-profit company Ninti One Limited, on the board of the Northern Territory Land Corporation and chair of the NT Grants Commission.

Dr Paul Vogel AM

Ex officio member (appointed 14 November 2016)

Profile Picture - Dr Paul Vogel, Chairperson NT EPA

Dr Paul Vogel was appointed as the chairperson of the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NT EPA) on 14 November 2016.

Now a non-executive board chair/ director and strategic consultant, Paul was chairman of Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority from 2007 to 2015. Paul was also the inaugural Chief Executive and Chairman of the South Australian EPA from 2002 to 2007 and prior to that held senior executive positions in the WA departments of the Premier and Cabinet and Environmental Protection.

Paul has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of WA and has extensive knowledge and experience across a broad range of environmental issues and sustainability, in organisational and regulatory reform and in the delivery of strategic environmental and business outcomes.

Paul is also chairman of a national Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) on Contamination and Remediation of the Environment; chair of the WA Marine Science Institution, deputy chair of the CRC on Transformation in Mining Economies; Special Counsel at Cannings Purple and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He was appointed to the NT EPA from 1 January 2016.

Suzanne Philip

Ex officio member (appointed 31 July 2017)

Image of Sue Philip DCA ChairSuzanne is the Chair of the Development Consent Authority, which is an independent statutory body responsible for determining development applications in the Territory.

Ms Philip has lived in Darwin since 1982, raising a family and contributing extensively to the Territory’s legal and business sectors and the community, from a number of platforms.

She is a Solicitor and Barrister of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, and has extensive experience as a Senior University Lecturer, teaching Contract, Commercial, Vendor and Purchaser and Property law.

From 2008 to 2014, Ms Philip held the position of legal member and Chair of the NT Agent’s Licencing Board, responsible for licencing real estate, business and conveyancing agents and investigating allegations and holding disciplinary inquiries about licenced agents.

Ms Philip has participated in both the development and community advocacy side of the planning process and has a high-level experience, and long-held interest in planning matters.

Allan McGill AM

Ex officio member (appointed 7 May 2020)

Allan McGill - head and shoulders photographAllan’s career has spanned 40 years of local government employment, working in councils from inner city urban to the most remote reaches of the Northern Territory. Experience with Melbourne City Council and a range of councils in rural Victorian and NT communities led to senior and executive positions in Katherine, Alice Springs and Darwin city councils.

He has spent the past 40 years as a CEO or in senior management positions and as Chief Executive of the Northern Territory departments of Local Government and Housing. Allan has held and continues to hold many longstanding committee and board positions, often as chair, president or in a key office bearing position.

Since retiring in 2017, Allan has taken on a number of short-term roles, has completed several project reviews and has been seconded to organisations under special administration.

Allan is an advocate for the arts and appreciates the Territory’s eclectic local scene. As a drummer in a local band, he understands the importance of teamwork and active listening; skills he transfers to his professional life too! Currently Allan is chairman of Venture Housing, chairman of Tiwi Partners Pty Ltd, a member of the Tiwi Leaders Forum and a member of the Northern Territory Racing Commission. Allan was appointed as a member of the Heritage Council of the NT, and as chairperson, on 7 May 2020.

Robert Jennings

Representative of the Local Government Association of the NT (appointed 12 July 2017)

Profile picture - Robert Jennings

Robert is the Chief Executive Officer of the Alice Springs Town Council, and previous CEO of the Katherine Town Council. Robert has served as an executive officer in government across three states and territories. He has an ongoing personal commitment to integrity, excellence and service to the organisations he leads as well as to the community and the Northern Territory.

Robert has performed the roles of CEO, General Manager and founding partner in a number of government entities and commercial architectural and developer organisations over the last 20 years. He has experience across a wide range of businesses, government, infrastructure, land development, urban planning, architecture, building and construction, large-scale design and project management, sustainability, emergency management, tourism, community and economic development.

Robert combines his people and project management skills with his qualifications that include a Bachelor of Architecture, Bachelor of Economics, Bachelor of Applied Science, Diploma of Business (Leadership and Management) and registration as an architect. He is also a member of numerous other government and community boards, institutes and associations

Dorte Ekelund

Member (appointed 12 July 2017)

Profile picture - Dorte EkelundDorte is an urban and regional planner with extensive experience in land use and infrastructure planning across all levels of government and in various jurisdictions. She also has considerable experience in environmental policies and management, including water policies and programs; climate change mitigation and adaptation action; and ecological preservation and management. Her experience in energy includes membership of the COAG Energy Senior Officials and delivery of significant investment in renewables.

Dorte has held the roles of Director-General in the ACT Environment and Planning portfolio, Deputy Director-General of WA Department of Planning and Infrastructure, a commissioner on the WA Planning Commission and was head of the Major Cities Unit in the Australian Government. She is currently  an independent director on the boards of ICON Water and the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia, is on the University of Wollongong’s Smart Infrastructure Facility Advisory Council and is an adjunct professor in planning at the University of Canberra.

Dorte holds a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (Class 1 Hon.) and a Master of Business Administration, is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Fran Kilgariff AM

Member (appointed 12 July 2017)

Fran has a long history of involvement in many areas of regional and economic development, local government and community in the Northern Territory. She was born in Alice Springs and educated there and in Adelaide. She has qualifications in radiography, prehistoric archaeology and teaching plus a long experience in various aspects of Territory affairs.

Her community involvement has included being Mayor of Alice Springs for eight years, on the Board of St John Ambulance NT since 2004, president of the YMCA of Alice Springs for eight years and on the national YMCA board where she was vice president for three years. She is currently on the board of Venture Housing, a not-for-profit affordable housing company and a chair of Olive Pink Botanic Garden.

Fran was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2010 for services to local government and contributions to the social and economic development of Alice Springs. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.