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Blackwater

The Blackwater Priority Development Area (PDA) was declared on Friday 30 July 2010. It encompasses the entire town north of the Capricorn Highway.

The Blackwater PDA includes existing houses, as well as some short term accommodation facilities, commercial and industrial uses and associated infrastructure.

The Blackwater PDA will help to meet housing pressures expected from growth in the resource sector by bringing land to the market quickly and deliver a diversity of housing to suit the needs of the growing Blackwater community.

Note: In February 2013 the Urban Land Development Act 2007 (ULDA Act) was repealed and replaced with the Economic Development Act 2012 (ED Act). From then on land areas identified for priority development were referred to as PDAs not UDAs and existing UDAs were transitioned under the ED Act. Any reference to the term UDA on this website is taken to mean a transitioned UDA.

Blackwater

Blackwater UDA map

1. Blackwater State School
2. Blackwater Town Centre
3. Blackwater State High School
4. Blackwater Hospital
5. Golf Course
6. International Coal Centre
7. Blackwater Industrial Area
Yellow line: Urban Development Area boundary

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  • Blackwater UDA Development Scheme

    On 29 July 2011 the Blackwater UDA Development Scheme was approved by the previous state government.

    The development scheme is the planning document that will assist in planning, carrying out, promoting, coordinating and controlling the development of land in the Blackwater Urban Development Area (UDA).

    All development applications within the UDA are assessed against the development scheme.

    In Blackwater, development applications are assessed by staff within the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning following the transition of ULDA functions into the department.

    Supporting documents

    The Blackwater UDA Development Scheme is supported by a number of guidelines, an open space and townscape strategy report, the Duaringa Shire Planning Scheme 2007 and the Queensland Development Code.

    Background report

  • Blackwater Interim Land Use Plan

    The Blackwater Interim Land Use Plan (ILUP) was in effect until the development scheme was completed. The ILUP has been superceded by the development scheme.

  • Infrastructure funding

    The delivery of infrastructure is a key component of facilitating development within Priority Development Areas (PDAs) and ensuring adequate funding for this infrastructure is vital.

    For information about the overarching infrastructure funding framework, infrastructure framework for the PDA, please download the Infrastructure funding framework (PDF icon 490 KB)

  • Blackwater UDA regulatory map

  • Blackwater FAQ's

    Where is the Blackwater Urban Development Area?

    Blackwater is located within the Central Highlands Regional Council area, approximately 200 kilometres west of Rockhampton in Central Queensland.

    The Blackwater Urban Development Area (UDA) measures 150 hectares which comprises the full extent of the town north of the Capricorn Highway.

    The Blackwater UDA includes approximately 1,800 existing homes, as well as some short term accommodation facilities, commercial and industrial facilities and associated social infrastructure. Within this area, the ULDA, which is a state government body, assumes the planning powers of local government.

    What will the ULDA do within the Blackwater Urban Development Area?

    The ULDA will:

    • Prepare a development scheme for the Urban Development Area (UDA) that outlines:
      1. how development will be managed, such as when an application is required, the requirements for different types of development
      2. the infrastructure required to support such development (the infrastructure plan) and
      3. how the ULDA will deliver the land use plan and infrastructure plan (the implementation strategy).
    • Assess and decide development applications over land within the UDA.
    • Work with stakeholders to:
      1. deliver urban developments that include a range of housing styles and densities at a variety of price points, incorporating best practice sustainability.
      2. improve the availability of land for residential development
        encourage investment in the town by making it a more attractive place to live and visit.

    Within the UDA, the ULDA may also deliver essential infrastructure.

    How long will it take the ULDA to complete developing the Blackwater UDA?

    It is anticipated that a new housing development by the ULDA will be underway within the UDA during 2011. The ULDA may also undertake further projects over the next few years. However, most development will be undertaken by private developers over time.

    Why Blackwater?

    The Queensland Government selects UDA's based on criteria including:

    • areas of high growth or housing stress
    • areas that contain significant portions of government land
    • areas that are close to employment opportunities and other services

    The ongoing growth in the resource sector is expected to place increasing pressure on the Blackwater housing market.

    Blackwater is exhibiting considerable housing stress with a median rental price for a three bedroom house in the March quarter of 2011 of $700 per week. New housing in Blackwater is primarily three or four bedroom homes on large housing blocks. This lack of diversity means all households - singles, couples and families - are catered for with a larger style of home.

    There is a clear absence of smaller types of housing in the market with detached houses the dominant type within Blackwater.

    What is the vision for Blackwater?

    The Queensland Government has earmarked Blackwater as a demonstration site for regional housing diversity.

    The Blackwater UDA will assist in meeting the housing pressures expected from the growth of the resource sector. Through its own demonstration projects, and participation in related government processes, the ULDA will assist in bringing land to market quickly to deliver a diversity of housing to suit the varied needs of the growing Blackwater community.

    A key component of demonstration projects undertaken by the ULDA will be the provision of a wider diversity of house and land packages than is currently available in the Blackwater market with a focus on small lots and smaller houses. Traditional size house and land packages will also be available.

    Full development of vacant land within the Blackwater UDA is a long-term project, but it is anticipated that some new housing developments within the UDA will be underway during 2011.

    Will I have a say in how the Urban Development Area is developed?

    The ULDA undertook comprehensive consultation with the local community in preparing the proposed development scheme for the UDA.

    Prelimary consultation began in August 2010 followed by a consultation on a draft structure plan in October/November 2010. In February 2011, a formal six-week consultation period commenced for the proposed development scheme. Consultation at each stage involved newspaper advertisements, information sessions at the Blackwater Town Centre and Civic Centre, and delivery of newsletters to each Blackwater address.

    If you would like to keep informed of the ULDA's involvement in the Blackwater UDA, please sign up for our newsletter by emailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or sign up for our e-newsletter.

    What is the Blackwater UDA Development Scheme?

    The Blackwater UDA Development Scheme is the finalised development scheme prepared by the ULDA and approved by the Deputy Premier and Minister for Local Government following consideration of submissions on the Blackwater UDA Proposed Development Scheme.

    One change incorporated in the submitted development scheme in response to submissions received is an explicit statement that the identified part of the eastern growth area is the only area suitable for larger scale (more than 100 rooms) non-resident worker accommodation.

    How does the Blackwater UDA Proposed Development Scheme address housing issues?

    A key purpose of the Blackwater UDA Proposed Development Scheme is to address housing issues within the Blackwater UDA. There is a limited supply of residential land in Blackwater which impacts adversely on affordability and availability of suitable housing options for various sections of the housing market. Key support workers, for example, find it difficult to find accommodation and often their preference for smaller unit type housing is unavailable.

    The proposed scheme includes three main responses to this issue: identification of a new residential development area adjoining the eastern boundary of the township; reallocation of large areas of undeveloped open space within the township for residnetial purposes; and more flexibility in the development of different and smaller house types within the residential area.

    The development of new areas for residential development will require a number of issues to be investigated. All of the lang identified is State land. On some sites Native Title may need to be addressed. Appropriate sites will then need to go through a public access to enable it to be purchased for development.

    How is workers accomodation dealt with in the proposed scheme?

    Non-resident worker accommodation proposals will be regulated in three main ways:

    • proposals will be guided by draft ULDA guideline no. 3 - Non-resident worker accommodation which sets out standards of locating and designing high quality accommodation facilities;
    • proposals must be publicly advertised; and
    • larger-scale proposals (more than 100 rooms) are encouraged to locate in the new eastern growth area.

    What does the Blackwater UDA Proposed Development Scheme propose for the business centres, including the Blackwater Town Centre?

    The three existing business centres in the vicinity of the Capricorn Highway, McKenzie Street, Arthur Street and Blain Street are protected and reinforced as the best locations for commercial and civic activity.

    The Blackwater Town Centre is proposed to be improved by encouraging more business and community development including additional retail development fronting Blain Street, development of open space and enhanced landscaping and on-street parking in Blain Street.

    Where can I see a copy of the development scheme?

    Printed copies can be obtained from the ULDA offices, level 4, 229 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane.

    What is the relationship between the Central Highland Council's Duaringa Planning Scheme and the ULDA's planning documents?

    The ULDA planning documents for the Blackwater UDA - the Interim Land Use Plan and Proposed Development Scheme - apply in relation to development of land within the UDA in place of the Duaringa Planning Scheme. That is, the ULDA planning documents determine how proposed development is defined, when a development application is required and what criteria are considered for development assessment.

    However, the ULDA planning documents call up and apply some of the development assessment criteria in the Duaringa Planning Scheme, in particular some of the detailed standards for non-residential development. Where there is any inconsistency in the respective provisions, the ULDA planning documents prevail over the Duaringa Planning Scheme.

    When the final Development Scheme for the Blackwater UDA replaces the Interim Land Use Plan and Proposed Development Scheme, it will operate in a similar way in relation to the Duaringa Planning Scheme.

    The ongoing growth in the resource sector is expected to place increasing pressure on the Blackwater housing market.

    Blackwater is exhibiting considerable housing stress with a median rental price for a three bedroom house in 2009 of $480 per week. New housing in Blackwater is primarily three or four bedroom homes on large housing blocks. This lack of diversity means all households - singles, couples and families - are catered for with a larger style of home.

    There is a clear absence of smaller types of housing in the market with detached houses the dominant type within Blackwater.

    Will housing density increase within the UDA?

    New development undertaken by the ULDA at Blackwater will provide a range of housing choices to cater for the diverse needs of the Blackwater community through a mix of densities, types, designs, price points and home ownership and rental options.

    Other development in the UDA will be encouraged to also provide diversity in housing choice, including smaller houses and smaller lots.

    Will building heights increase?

    Residential development within the Blackwater UDA will generally be one and two storeys, consistent with existing development in the town.

    How long will it take to complete developing the Blackwater UDA?

    Full development of vacant land within the Blackwater UDA will happen over time in response to population growth. The ULDA will undertake a number of demonstration projects, but most development will be carried out by private developers.

    It is expected that the first stage of construction will begin in the last quarter of 2011.

    Can the ULDA compulsorily acquire property?

    No. The ULDA does not have compulsory land acquisition powers and cannot forcibly acquire anyone's land.

    What is the difference between housing affordability, affordable housing and public housing?

    Housing affordability reflects the broad principle of minimising the price of new housing by:

    • getting land to market faster
    • streamlining development approvals
    • simplifying planning requirements
    • offering a diverse mix of lots

    Affordable housing refers to housing for low to moderate income households at a price that they can easily afford, including housing that is within the reach of first home buyers.

    Housing is considered affordable if households are spending no more than 30 per cent of gross household incomes on rent and no more than 35 percent for home purchase. There are many different models for providing affordable housing including rental schemes, part-purchasing, and full-purchasing.

    Social housing (or public housing) is rental housing that is owned by the government or community housing organisation and made available to households with very low incomes and special needs. In Queensland, this service is provided by or through the Department of Communities. The ULDA is not a public housing or social housing provider.

    Will there be affordable housing in the Blackwater UDA?

    Through its regulation of development and demonstration projects, the ULDA seeks to achieve a diverse range of housing within the UDA to meet the needs of Blackwater's current and future residents. Greater housing choice, including smaller houses on smaller lots, can assist in reducing the cost of housing. The ULDA will undertake a number of projects that will demonstrate housing diversity.

    The ULDA will also contribute to housing affordability more directly through the funding of mechanisms that will help deliver and retain affordable housing in the Blackwater UDA. The ULDA is currently considering a number of mechanisms for this purpose. This housing is aimed particularly at meeting the needs of key workers.

    What will housing look like in the Blackwater UDA?

    Houses within the ULDA demonstration projects will feature modern building design techniques and materials, while still being of an appropriate design to complement existing Blackwater architecture.

    Development requirements in the development scheme and associated guidelines will seek to achieve high quality and diverse forms of housing elsewhere in the UDA.

    How does the ULDA development assessment process differ from the process used by Central Highlands Regional Council?

    Development applications over land outside a UDA are made to and assessed by the local government under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA) and their planning scheme.

    Development applications over land within a UDA are instead made to and assessed by the ULDA under the Urban Land Development Authority Act 2007 (ULDA Act). The Interim Land Use Plan and the Proposed Development Scheme have a role in development assessment until the Development Scheme becomes effective for the area. Under the ULDA Act, the assessment process has been streamlined to enable a development application to be assessed and decided within 40 business days after lodgement. This shortened timeframe does not include circumstances where there is a need for additional information or public notice of the application.

    What happens to a development application that has already been lodged with council?

    When an Urban Development Area is declared, development applications already lodged with the local government for the area and awaiting decision, continue to be assessed by the Central Highlands Regional Council under the SPA and the provisions of the Duaringa Shire Planning Scheme.

    What happens to a building application that has already been lodged with a private building certifier?

    The ULDA is not responsible for assessing building work against the Building Act 1975. The application will continue to be assessed by a builder certifier.

    What will happen when a development application is lodged with the ULDA?

    When lodging a development application within a UDA, the application will be assessed under the Urban Land Development Authority Act 2007. The Interim Land Use Plan and the Proposed Development Scheme had a role in development assessment until the Development Scheme became effective on 29 July 2011.

    How can you lodge a development application with the ULDA?

    Following declaration, all new development applications over land within the UDA are required to be lodged with the Urban Land Development Authority. An application using the ULDA form can be lodged via mail to the following address:

    Urban Land Development Authority
    GPO Box 2202
    Brisbane QLD 4001

    Please refer to the development assessment page for information (e.g. application form) about lodging a UDA development application.

    The Central Highlands Regional Council can also assist in forwarding UDA development applications to the ULDA.

    How can you lodge a building application?

    The ULDA is not responsible for assessing building work against the Building Act 1975. Building applications continue to be assessed by a builder certifier.

    How can I purchase within a ULDA development?

    Once homes become available in a ULDA development project, the ULDA or the builder will make details for the purchase of those homes available. In nearly all cases, homes will be sold on the open market at market rates.

Last updated on Tuesday, 25 February 2014