Queensland’s planning legislation
On 12 June 2014, the Queensland Government announced the replacement of SPA and the SP Regulation as part of its reform program. This program is a once-in-a-generation review that will recast the way planning and development is undertaken in Queensland. The renewed system will deliver strong, positive planning and development outcomes for all Queenslanders. Initiatives already undertaken as part of the reform program include the preparation of the State Planning Policy, the establishment of the State Assessment and Referral Agency and the overhaul of the local government infrastructure planning and charging framework.
The existing legislation (SPA) is long, complicated and confusing. The replacement legislation - the draft Planning and Development Bill ( 883 KB) and draft Planning and Environment Court Bill ( 227 KB) that are both now available for comment - present a more concise, streamlined and sensible basis for plan making, development assessment and dispute resolution.
Have your say
The Draft Planning and Development Bill ( 883 KB) and Draft Planning and Environment Court Bill ( 227 KB) were released for consultation on 1 August 2014. You can have your say on the draft Bills until 26 September 2014.
A complementary information paper ( 832 KB) has been developed to guide readers through the draft Bills. The paper outlines the main legislative changes, policy positions, glossary of new terms and examples of what regulation may include.
SPA is the legislation applied to Queensland's planning, development and building system. SPA is designed to:
- manage the process by which development takes place, including ensuring the process is accountable, effective and efficient and delivers sustainable outcomes
- manage the effects of development on the environment (including managing the use of premises)
- coordinate and integrate planning at local, regional and state levels.
Previous amendments to SPA
Sustainable Planning (Infrastructure Charges) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (SPICOLA 2014)
The Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA) was amended by the Sustainable Planning (Infrastructure Charges) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (SPICOLA 2014) that was given assent on 19 June 2014.
SPICOLA 2014 is the result of extensive consultation with local government, the development industry and community stakeholders and delivers on the government's commitment to provide a local infrastructure charges framework that is equitable, certain and transparent, while supporting both local government sustainability and providing confidence to the development industry when planning and delivering projects. For further information on the SPICOLA 2014 refer to the Queensland Legislation website.
SPICOLA 2014 includes amendments to:
- simplify, streamline and clarify the operations of the long-term infrastructure framework
- provide certainty and consistency across a whole range of elements such as conditioning, offsets, refunds and the determination of necessary infrastructure
- specify credits for existing use rights
- improve the dispute resolution and infrastructure agreement processes
- align the water distributor-retailer infrastructure charging and planning arrangements with the local government framework
- simplify infrastructure conditioning arrangements for state agencies.
Sustainable Planning and Other Legislation (SPOLA) Act (No. 2) 2012
Sustainable Planning Regulation (SP Regulation) amendments
Since the commencement of the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009, there have been a number of amendments made which are detailed below. Please note any amendments to the SP Regulation initiated and led by other state agencies are not necessarily listed below.
The Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 was amended on 3 July 2014. These amendments take effect on 4 July 2014.
The amendments are as follows:
- Schedule 20 Court Fees and Schedule 21 Building and development committee fees have been increased in line with the Government indexation rate.
- The amendments under Sustainable Planning (Infrastructure Charges) and other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 have been made. This includes new fees relating to the Building and Development Committees and the publication date and name of the new Statutory Guideline (03/14) Local Government Infrastructure Plans.
- The publication date of the Statutory Guideline (02/14) Making and Amending Local Planning Instruments has been updated to 11 June 2014.
- The existing exemptions in Schedule 3, 18 and 24, to provide that Priority Development Area (PDA)-related operational work and PDA-related development is exempt from state assessment have been clarified.
- The trigger for self-assessable aquaculture has been amended to reflect the recent update of the code for self-assessable development for low impact aquaculture by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).
- The referral trigger for development on land adjoining a declared fish habitat area has been removed.
- The level of assessment for development on contaminated land has been changed from code assessment to compliance assessment. This is as a result of a review undertaken by the Department of Environment and Heritage (DEHP).
- The publication date for the State Development Assessment Provisions (version 1.4) (SDAP) has been updated to 20 June 2014.
- The need for referral of development applications for Class 1 (houses), and sole occupancy units in Class 2 and 3 and Class 4 buildings, where an interconnected smoke alarm is installed, has been removed.
The following provisions have also been amended in the SP Regulation, and will commence on 4 August 2014:
- New development assessment fees and provisions are prescribed in Part 3, Division 3 (Fees) and Schedule 7A for State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) development assessment fees. The new fees were determined following a review of fees charged by the state government for assessing a state interest triggered under Schedules 6 and 7 of the SPR, and for Brisbane core port land under section 283ZP of the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 (TIA).
The Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 was amended by the Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation (No. 2) 2014 on Thursday 24 April 2014. These amendments take effect on 28 April 2014.
The amendments result in the following changes:
- inserting new section 10C in table 5 of schedule 4. This change provides an exemption from development assessment against the Brisbane City Council planning scheme for all aspects of development for the construction of the underground busway and railway infrastructure project know as BaT, to provide busway and rail transport infrastructure along the route shown on the map called 'Draft Reference Design for Consultation Purposes' dated March 2014. Development assessment against the Brisbane City Council planning scheme will still be required for any supporting development, for example, residential, shop or office development; and any relevant state assessments or approvals in relation to the BaT will continue to apply e.g. Environmental Impact Statement processes under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 and any relevant legislative requirements under schedules 3 and 7
- amending schedules 7 and 9 to ensure that the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) can operate as efficiently and effectively as intended by:
- removing duplication of SARA referrals where development is within 25 metres of a state-controlled road
- removing cross referencing to referral triggers that no longer exist as a consequence of referral trigger reduction amendments made in December 2013
- removing certain low risk use referral triggers based on thresholds prescribed in schedule 9
- amending the definition of 'railway' in schedule 26 to refer to 'rail transport infrastructure', consistent with the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994
- reflecting the updated version of State Development Assessment Provisions (version 1.2) (SDAP).
The Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 (SP Regulation) was amended by the Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation (No. 7) 2013 on Friday 29 November 2013. These amendments take effect on 2 December 2013.
The amendments result in the following changes:
- removing references to the former topic-based state planning policies
- as a result of the implementation of the new State Planning Policy, enabling local governments to assess certain state transport infrastructure and strategic airports and aviation facilities
- reflecting the updated version of the State Development Assessment Provisions (version 1.1) (SDAP)
- providing for the new statutory guideline 01/13 Making and amending local planning instruments
- removing reference to declared catchment areas, consistent with the Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013
- enabling the chief executive of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA) to identify an 'urban area'
- reflecting reforms under the Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Act 2013 including changing assessment trigger requirements to reduce the number of smaller-scale development applications, introducing application fees for new clearing purposes and updating some existing ones to align with the assessment trigger changes, and introducing and broadening exemptions, and
- accurately reflecting relevant provisions and triggers in order to improve State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) operations by:
- removing superseded provisions that reflect old referral arrangements to state agencies
- correcting and clarifying applicable fees for certain applications
- clarifying the codes that apply to development in wild river area for clearing native vegetation
- ensuring that exemption certificates can be granted where works are considered to have an insignificant impact on coastal management
- reducing the number of referrals to SARA for the construction and operation of certain works that take or interfere with water in a watercourse, lake or spring.
The Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 was amended by the Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation (No. 6) 2013 on Friday 11 October 2013.
The amendments made the following changes:
- inserting new section 10B in table 5 of Schedule 4, which provides an exemption from development assessment against the Moreton Bay Regional Council planning scheme for all aspects of development for the construction of the Moreton Bay Rail Link project. The exemption means that assessment or development approval under the planning scheme will not be required, but any other state assessments or approvals will continue to apply e.g. building work and coastal approvals; and
- amendments to schedules 5, 7 and 26 to clarify a number of Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS) provisions applying to various transport related development applications, to ensure that the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) operates as intended and that development applications are referred and assessed as required.
The Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 was amended by the Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation (No. 5) 2013 on Friday 30 August 2013.
The amendments will result in exemptions for development for the purposes of G20 radiocommunications works, other than for building work regulated under the Building Act 1975, carried out on or before 30 June 2015, by:
- insertion of a new section 9A which clarifies that development for the purposes of G20 radiocommunications works is not assessable or self-assessable development
- amendment of schedule 4 to ensure that development for the purposes of the G20 radiocommunications works is exempt under local planning instruments
- amendment of schedule 18 to ensure that subdivision of 1 lot into 2 for the purposes of G20 radiocommunications works is not subject to compliance assessment, and
- insertion of new definitions to support the exemption for G20 radiocommunications works. G20 radiocommunications works means radiocommunications infrastructure or equipment to be constructed, installed or used as part of the Government Wireless Network for the G20 meetings to be held in Queensland in 2014.
The amendments also amend schedule 7A, part 2, items 12 to 22 to clarify the circumstances where development application and assessment fees are payable for aquaculture or fisheries development applications, to ensure that the correct fees will apply as intended. The amendment has not resulted in any increase in fees.
The Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 was amended by the Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation (No. 4) 2013 on Friday 2 August 2013.
The amendments made the following changes:
- amendment of schedule 13A (Excluded matters for Strategic Cropping Land (SCL) or potential SCL concurrence agency jurisdiction) to include aquaculture, community infrastructure mentioned in schedule 2, and saleyards. The amendment will exclude these matters from concurrence agency jurisdiction for the assessment of impacts on SCL or potential SCL
- amendment of schedule 24 (Clearing of native vegetation - not assessable development under schedule 3, part 1, table 4, item 1) to include new items under part 1 (Clearing and other activities or matters - general) for clearing vegetation for an airport-related purpose on airport premises, and clearing vegetation for community infrastructure mentioned in schedule 2. The amendment exempts these developments from vegetation management assessment
- inserting relevant definitions supporting the operation of the provisions for airport premises, airport-related purpose, livestock, and saleyard.
The Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 was amended by the Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation (No. 3) 2013 on 1 July 2013.
The amendments establish the administrative arrangements, development assessment fees and assessment criteria required to support the effective operation of the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA), which commenced on 1 July 2013. SARA will deliver a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to the state's assessment of development applications.
The Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 was amended by the Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation (no. 2) 2013 on 12 April 2013.
The amendments enable the timely delivery of new high school facilities under the Flying Start for Queensland Children program by reducing the regulatory burden for non-state schools. Schedule 4, table 5, item 12A is amended to remove the minimum 50% state government funding requirement, instead requiring that a minimum of 50% of the gross floor area of a development is for the purpose of Fflying Sstart development.
The amendment also enables an exemption for new development under the Flying Start program that occurs in an existing building footprint, that does not disrupt koala habitat under the South East Queensland Koala Conservation State Planning Regulatory Provision. This will ensure the timely delivery of appropriate development for new year 7 students.
Other amendments to the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 are necessary for the purpose of updating legislative references, including references to the Geothermal Energy Act 2010 and the the Aurukun and Mornington Shire Leases Act 1978.
The Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 was amended by the Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2013 on 15 March 2013.
The amendments result in significant improvements to referrals and other development assessment processes under the Sustainable Planning Act framework. Some amendments commenced on 15 March 2013, including:
- simplified and reduced transport related referrals for relevant development applications (to commence on 25 March 2013)
- simplified referrals for applications involving contaminated land
- simplified and reduced referrals for applications for coastal development
- removal of referrals for applications involving declared significant projects on strategic cropping land
- removal of referrals for applications under regional plans other than the South East Queensland Regional Plan
- reduced public notification periods for certain development so that it aligns with the general notification requirement of 15 business days
- the chief executive under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 prescribed as the assessment manager for applications involving an environmentally relevant activity and vegetation clearing
- removal of redundant provisions, including those relating to evidence of state resource allocation
- the regulation made consistent with assessment categories that may be prescribed for development under an airport land use plan.
Amendments to simplify and reduce transport related referrals for relevant development applications commence on 25 March 2013.
On 14 December 2012, the Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation (No. 8) 2012 amended the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 to repeal Statutory Guideline 03/09-Declared master planned area structure plans.
This means that structure plans for declared master planned areas will now be required to be transitioned into local government planning schemes by following the process outlined in Statutory Guideline 02/12 - Making and amending local planning instruments (MALPI) ( 376 KB). The amendment also includes new definitions in the regulation for terms that are no longer defined in the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA), due to the removal of the planning partnership arrangements.
Materials currently available
- IDAS forms and checklists
- Interactive versions of IDAS forms and checklists
- Building and Dispute Resolution Committees forms and guidelines
- Compliance assessment state planning policy and fact sheets
- Fact sheets about the Sustainable Planning Act
- Development assessment process and IDAS flow charts
- Queensland Planning Provisions
- Public notification forms and guides
- Sustainable planning forms and templates (excluding IDAS forms)
- Standard conditions for deemed approvals and fact sheet
- Statutory guidelines
- Local government infrastructure plans
- Infrastructure charges resolutions, PPI index and factsheets
- State planning regulatory provision (adopted charges) 2012
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