About planning and development processes in Queensland

If you plan to develop, diversify or expand your business operations, you may need a development permit or other approvals. If you plan to invest in agricultural or related supply-chain businesses, you may find it helpful to understand these processes.

You can discuss the requirements for your proposed development with your local council or the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) in the first instance, including by meeting with them at a pre-lodgement meeting.

Even if your proposed activity does not require a development permit under the local council planning scheme, you may require Queensland Government or Australian Government approvals before you can begin. We've included 2 examples below:

Example 1—Developing water infrastructure

If you propose to construct a water bore to access groundwater, you will need:

Example 2—Clearing native vegetation

If you propose to clear native vegetation, you will need to:

Queensland's planning system

The planning system ensures development in Queensland is beneficial for local communities. It consists of a statewide framework for land use planning that takes into account the needs of councils, developers and communities. Local councils write their planning schemes to take into account the state planning instruments. Read more about Queensland's planning framework.

For a successful development proposal, you must ensure you review and respond to the planning schemes and state policies relevant to your activity. Read about how the development system works.

Who is involved in development processes

You can read examples of development assessment processes in our assessment guide, as well as the overview below on the roles of government authorities and agencies in the development process.

  • Your local council is often the most appropriate first point of contact in determining whether approvals are required for your development under the Planning Act 2016. The council may be the decision-maker (assessment manager) for some applications.
  • For development applications where the state has jurisdiction, the Director-General of the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP) is the Chief Executive of the Planning Act 2016 and your assessment manager or referral agency.
  • DSDMIP coordinates SARA, which provides a whole-of-government approach for assessing developments against state interests for land use planning and development.
  • If your proposed development falls into a regional plan area, DSDMIP will assess your proposal against the Regional Planning Interests Act 2014.
  • Some aspects of your development may be assessed outside of the Planning Act framework or outside the jurisdiction of DSDMIP. Contact your regional SARA office to find out more.

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