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Planning reform

The Queensland Government is reforming the current planning and development system to ensure the state's continued growth and prosperity. This reform has been driven from extensive consultation. These changes will assist in delivering a contemporary planning and development system that can provide sustainable development outcomes for all Queenslanders.

This comprehensive reform aims to:

  • streamline assessment and approval processes
  • remove unnecessary red tape
  • re-empower local governments to plan for their communities.

The new planning reform agenda strengthens changes already made through the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

Key elements of planning reform are:

Proposed Planning and Development Act

The Queensland Government is currently reviewing planning legislation to create the best planning and development assessment system in Australia. Captured in the proposed Planning and Development Bill that is currently being drafted, it will create a more efficient, effective, integrated, transparent and accountable system.

The proposed legislation focuses on driving Queensland's prosperity, balancing community wellbeing, economic growth and environmental protection. The legislation will also:

  • empower local governments to better plan for their communities
  • reform the state's planning and development assessment system
  • reduce red tape for business and industry.

The SPOLA Bill 2012

The Sustainable Planning and Other Legislation Amendment (SPOLA) Bill was introduced into Parliament, with assent on 22 November 2012 to become the SPOLA Act.

This legislation is the first step towards reforming and simplifying the planning framework and is the result of extensive consultation with local government, the property and construction industry and the environmental sector. SPOLA delivers on the government's commitment to restoring the efficiency, consistency and certainty to the planning and development system.

A key component of this act is establishing a single state assessment and referral agency for development applications.

Key changes brought about by the Bill provide for:

  • establishing a single state assessment and referral agency for development applications
  • removing of ineffective structure planning and master planning arrangements for declared master planned areas
  • reducing the regulatory red tape for development applications involving state resources, by removing the requirement for evidence of the resource entitlement or allocation to be submitted with applications
  • giving assessment managers, in particular local governments, discretion to accept development applications as properly made, despite non-compliance with the provision of mandatory supporting information
  • providing for the Queensland Planning Provisions to apply across all local governments to enable consistency in assessment levels for certain low risk developments, such as landscaping and car-parking
  • giving the Planning and Environment Court discretion to award costs for some proceedings, except for enforcement orders about development offences.
  • giving the Planning and Environment Court power to direct that the Alternative Dispute Resolution registrar may hear and determine minor disputes.

Further information

State Planning Policy

The Queensland Government has established a new approach to state planning policies that simplifies and clarifies state interests.

The single State Planning Policy has been developed to replace the various current state planning policies in existence.

Infrastructure contributions framework

The local infrastructure contributions framework system is being reviewed to introduce a well-balanced infrastructure charging framework that is equitable, transparent and provides certainty.

On 1 July 2013 the department released a discussion paper (PDF icon 614 KB) for public consultation.

Read more about infrastructure charges and the review to this system.

Sustainable Planning Act 2009

The Act came into effect on Friday 18 December 2009, replacing the Integrated Planning Act:

To understand the differences between the IPA and SPA, please read:

The Act:

  • shifts the focus from planning process to delivering sustainable outcomes
  • reduces complexity through standardisation
  • adopts a risk management approach to development assessment
  • introduces a broader range of opportunities for people to reach agreement and resolve disputes
  • provides improved opportunities for the community to understand and participate in the planning system.

Planning instruments

Planning instruments made under the IPA continue to have effect as though they were made under SPA.

An innovation in SPA is the creation of the Queensland Planning Provisions, a standard approach to planning schemes to improve community engagement and understanding of planning.

Integrated Development Assessment System forms and eDA

SPA maintains the benefits of an integrated development assessment system and enables the use of electronic planning tools such as eDA (electronic development assessment).

  • For applications lodged on or before 17 December 2009, please send your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
  • For applications lodged on or after 18 December 2009, the SPA IDAS forms will need to be used.

Development assessment process reform—operational works and large subdivisions

To streamline assessment processes, the Development assessment process reform – operational works and large subdivisions project will achieve an average 25 per cent reduction in assessment timeframes for large subdivisions and the majority of operational works applications.

The project is an initiative of the Council of Mayors (SEQ) and Local Government Association of Queensland, and is funded by the department.

Further information

Contact the department for further information on planning.

Last updated on Thursday, 03 July 2014