Planning Reform Queensland

The Queensland Government is undergoing a once-in-a-generation reform of its planning system. The reform is the largest of its kind and aims to deliver the best planning system in Australia that stimulates positive development and opportunities for all Queenslanders.

Planning reform is led by the Deputy Premier, the Hon. Mr Jeff Seeney, and is seen as critical in reinvigorating the Queensland economy.

‘If we want organisations to invest in Queensland, as a government we play a key role in facilitating this process and must make it as simple as it possibly can be,’ said Mr Seeney.

At the heart of planning reform is replacing the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 with clear and concise legislation. The replacement legislation is currently captured in the Draft Planning and Development Bill and Planning and Environment Court Bill. The draft bills aim to strip away unnecessary state intervention to give back to local governments the autonomy and flexibility to plan for their communities and create a stable base for the industry to conduct business.

The reform journey News and resources

The reform journey

When the reform journey commenced in 2012, the state made a commitment to deliver reform in the most efficient way possible. This meant that incremental changes to the system would occur, compared to lengthy discussion paper processes, which has proved unsuccessful for other states in recent years.

Approaching reform in this manner has enabled the state to more easily and quickly identify and deliver real wins for the planning community, whilst continuing to progress longer term projects including new legislation. Reform is being delivered across four streams including:

Stream One – Legislation: Development of draft planning bills and regulations that form the foundation of the entire planning system in Queensland.

Stream Two – Plan Making: Looks at the transition of current planning schemes, what content the state will now mandate and options for changing schemes.

Stream Three – Development Assessment: How the current rules for processing applications will occur in Queensland, considering the new streams of assessment.

Stream Four – ICT: Changes to the state’s IT systems are necessary to support the planning system e.g. MyDAS and support, websites, decommission of eDA.

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Making it real

The mantra for planning reform is 'making it real'. The team recognises that planning reform will only be successful if delivered in an authentic way, alongside industry, community and local government to ensure the reformed system delivers 'real' benefits and improvements from day one.

Focus groups, monthly and annual forums and workshops are regularly hosted, along with informal meetings to test ideas and concepts. The ‘testing’ of ideas ensures no time and effort is wasted on going down a path which will not deliver ‘real benefit’.

The renewed planning system will represent a truly collaborative effort between the state and broader planning community.

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Reform objectives

The team has clear and driving objectives which underpin its reform work. These objectives remain front of mind and are used to progress new concepts and ideas. Planning reform objectives:

  • create the best planning system in Australia.
  • facilitate strong and positive planning and development outcomes for all Queenslanders
  • streamline the assessment and approval processes
  • remove unnecessary red tape
  • re-empower local governments to plan for their communities.

Key users of the planning system will benefit from the reform agenda. The main user groups and benefits are:

  • Councils will have more flexibility and discretion to better plan for their communities
  • The planning industry can now focus on outcomes, not process
  • Developers will have greater certainty regarding outcomes
  • The community has the confidence that the planning system promotes and protects their interests.

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Delivering strong outcomes

Committed to delivering real outcomes, the government has already successfully delivered major planning reform initiatives.

State Planning Policy (SPP) was established in December 2013 to simplify and clarify matters of state interest in land use planning and development. Previously represented in a myriad of policies, the SPP translates the state’s interests so local government can better and more easily deliver positive planning outcomes for their communities.

On 1 July 2013, SARA was launched to streamline development applications (where a state interest exists). Prior to SARA’s introduction, applicants would need to manage responses from several departments, making the process time consuming and confusing. Applicants now lodge one application and are provided a consolidated response, to ensure no conflicting or 'unreasonable' requirements are imposed on applicants.

The department reviewed the existing infrastructure charging framework to improve clarity, equity and consistency of the system. After the review the department produced the Infrastructure Planning and Charging Framework that strikes a balance between local government financial sustainability and property development feasibility.

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The department recognises that true reform can only be achieved if the broader planning community are ready for the renewed system.

Alongside our regional services partners, a dedicated team is solely focussed on supporting local government and industry through the transition.

The team will be out and about throughout 2014/2015 in a bid to talk to as many people as possible about reform and what it will mean for key users of the system. The team will make information available in a variety of ways including meetings, presentations, videos and printed material.

If you feel your organisation would benefit from some additional reform information or presentations, please contact the team at

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The department is committed to keeping industry and local government informed throughout the reform program. Sign up for regular updates, so you know what is happening and how you can get involved!

October 2014

31 - Development Assessment Process and Forms available

Over the last few months we have received many requests to see preliminary information on the development assessment process. We have now made the proposed development assessment process and forms available in the development assessment section under the resources tab. These documents are preliminary only and align with the current draft of the bills, and therefore are subject to change.

27 - Planning Reform Queensland attend LGAQ Conference!

Planning Reform Queensland were in attendance at the LGAQ Conference, held in Mackay last week. Deputy Director-General of Planning and Property, Greg Chemello took the opportunity to attend the conference and speak with local government about planning reform. Members of the team were also on hand in our reform booth to speak with Council representatives throughout the conference. Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a chat!

September 2014

29 – Out and about

Throughout the eight week consultation period for the draft bills the department talked to over 2,000 people across the state. Industry and council sessions were held in the majority of regions across Queensland, in addition to several live streamed events and presentation recordings.

The team also spoke at several community and peak body events in a bid to further assist those interested in understanding the intent and main elements within the draft bills.

22 – Watch and learn about draft planning bills

Several presentations on the draft planning bills are available to watch from this page. The presentations outline how the draft planning bills differ to the current legislation; in order to assist people in understanding the key elements.

20 – Detailed information on draft regulation

After receiving feedback throughout the consultation period regarding the content of the regulation, the team has developed a detailed information paper. The information paper outlines the likely content within each section of the regulation.

12 – State testing draft tools

Several workshops were held across the state to discuss and table ideas covering planning scheme transition and the proposed development assessment rules. If you’d like more information on these sessions, please contact your regional services office.

August 2014

15 - Hear about the draft planning bills

Throughout August and September, the reform team will be meeting with local government and industry and speaking at several events about the draft planning bills. Visit our resources page to see when and where you can hear about the draft planning bills.

1 – Draft Legislation open for consultation

The Draft Planning and Development and Planning and Environment Court Bills are open for public comment from 1 August to 26 September 2014. The draft planning bills provide the basis for an efficient, effective, integrated, transparent and accountable planning and development assessment system.

July 2014

24 - Premier addresses Property Council of Australia

The Hon. Campbell Newman addressed the Property Council of Australia for his Annual Premier’s Address, and spoke of the government’s role in ‘bringing back the cranes’ and how planning reform will continue to unlock the potential of Queensland. Read more.

11 - Business confidence in Queensland continues to top the country

The Queensland Government’s commitment to planning reform has led to continued business confidence for the sixth quarter in a row. The Property Council / ANZ Property Industry Confidence Survey, shows Queensland once again leads the other states in planning and managing growth.

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frequently asked questions

As we go through the reform journey, we’ll regularly update our Frequently Asked Questions. If you can’t see your question below, please get in contact. For information on the draft planning bills, download our questions so far document (PDF icon 380 KB).

Why is planning reform needed in Queensland?

A strong economy needs investment. Development brings investment. Queensland’s planning system is highly regulated and adds unnecessary complexity to a development application. This complexity creates an unnecessary barrier to investment.

The renewed system will strip back the state’s involvement and create a system that is focussed on positive outcomes, and not simply the process.

What department is responsible for delivering reform?

The Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning are responsible for delivering reform. The reform team sit within the department’s Planning and Property Group, which is led by Deputy Director-General, Mr Greg Chemello.

Why is the state writing new legislation? Why not just tweak the existing?

Queensland’s current planning legislation – The Sustainable Planning Act 2009 - is long, complex and unresponsive. The highly-regulated legislation has also created a process-driven industry, rather than one focussed on delivering positive outcomes.

The Queensland Government is preparing new planning legislation with the aim of having Australia's best planning and development assessment system. The draft Planning and Development Bill and the Planning and Environment Court Bill, provide the basis for an efficient, effective, integrated, transparent and accountable planning and development assessment system.

Planning reform is a significant change for the industry. What support will be provided?

The Reform Team will create as many opportunities as possible to build the awareness and understanding of the renewed system and what it means for the various users. The State will endeavour to provide several months between the new legislation passing and its enactment. This will allow more time for local government and industry to prepare for the ‘new way’.

More details on the training and support model will be shared over the coming months.

What will happen with MyDAS as a result of the reform agenda?

MyDAS is the system which supports development assessments where a state interest exists. A dedicated IT team are delivering enhancements to MyDAS and aligning it with the new legislation and proposed processes. The intent is to deliver an enhanced version of MyDAS to the industry when the new legislation is enacted.

When will reform be delivered?

The timing of when the renewed planning system will commence depends on the timing of the new legislation passing. The intent is to pass the new legislation in late 2014, for enacting in the second quarter of 2015. As updates come to hand, these will be posted in the ‘Announcements’ section.

got a question?


phone: 0428 715 609


As we transition to the new system, the department will post a range of resources to help you better understand reform and what it means for you. Please contact the department on at any time, if you require more information.


Draft Planning Bills - Greg Chemello (26 August 2014)
Greg Chemello, Deputy Director-General talks about planning reform, how it’s being delivered, some of the key drivers and some of his key highlights within the draft planning bills.

Question and Answer Session on the Draft Planning Bills
The department hosted a free question and answer event on Friday 19 September, to assist the planning community in further understanding the draft planning bills. Members of the team, including Deputy Director-General, Mr Greg Chemello were available to answer questions.

Draft Planning Bills

Draft Planning Bills Information Paper (PDF icon 227 KB)
This document outlines the key elements of the draft planning bills and the intent of why some elements are or are not there.

Draft Planning and Development Bill (PDF icon 227 KB)

Draft Planning and Environment Court Bill (PDF icon 227 KB)

Draft Planning and Development Regulation Information Paper (PDF icon 227 KB)
Detailed document on the intent and proposed areas the regulation will cover.

Draft Bills questions so far (PDF icon 227 KB)
Download questions and answered that were covered throughout the consultation period which ended on 26 September.

Plan making

Plan Making - James Coutts (26 August 2014)
James Coutts, Executive Director of Planning Services outlines the major changes in the plan making space.

Development assessment

Development Assessment - Jesse Chadwick (26 August 2014)
Jesse Chadwick, Drafting Instructor for the Department discusses the development assessment elements and how this will affect the planning community.

Proposed Development Assessment Process

Proposed Development Assessment Forms

Dispute resolution

Dispute Resolution - Dean Misso (26 August 2014)
Dean Misso, Drafting Instructor for the dispute resolution space, outlines the approach taken in this area and some of the key outcomes.

Transitional provisions

Repeal, Savings and Transitional Arrangements - Jesse Chadwick (26 August 2014)
Jesse Chadwick talks through the current thinking on transitional provisions within the draft planning and development bill.

hear from us

Members of the department are regularly out and about speaking about planning reform. These sessions are outlined below.

If your organisation would like a presentation about the draft bills by the department, please contact The department will make every effort to accommodate these requests.

the team

Led by Deputy Director-General of the Planning and Property Group, Mr Greg Chemello, the reform team comprises around 50 strong professionals. The team are a combination of plan making, development assessment, information technology, communication, change management, training specialists. Located in Brisbane, the team coordinate activities across the State, through their Regional Services partners. If you live in a regional area and would like to learn more about reform, find your local department office.