Although primary responsibility for urban planning rests with the Australian states and territories, the Commonwealth government has from time to time influenced urban agendas and regulation. The most recent period following the election of the Australian Labor Party in November 2007 signified a new era of federal interest in cities and planning, expressed through the establishment of a Major Cities Unit, a series of State of Australian Cities reports and the development of a National Urban Policy. At the same time, a national reform agenda focusing on planning regulation and development assessment was building within the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and its various working groups. In this paper we review the growing influence of national level policy agendas on state and territory planning reforms. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.