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Moranbah is located within the Isaac Regional Council area, approximately 200 kilometres south-west of Mackay in Central Queensland.

The Moranbah Priority Development Area (PDA) was declared on 30 July 2010, it is a 1218 hectare area made up of a number of different sites within the existing Moranbah town and a large site to the west of Goonyella Road.

The Moranbah 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Note: In February 2013 the Urban Land Development Act 2007 (ULDA Act) was repealed and replaced with the Economic Development Act 2012 (ED Act).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.


Moranbah UDA map

1. Moranbah Golf Course
2. Moranbah Hospital
3. Moranbah sporting fields
4. Coles
5. Moranbah State High School
6. Moranbah East State School
7. Moranbah State School
Yellow line: Urban Development Area boundary

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More information

  • Moranbah UDA Development Scheme

    On 29 July 2011 the Moranbah 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 Moranbah UDA.

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

    In Moranbah, 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 Moranbah UDA Development Scheme is supported by a number of guidelines and the Queensland Development Code.

  • Moranbah Interim Land Use Plan

    The Moranbah Interim Land Use Plan (ILUP) was in effect until the development scheme was completed. The ILUP was superceded by the development scheme.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 for the PDA, please download the Infrastructure funding framework (PDF icon 490 KB)

  • Moranbah UDA regulatory map

  • Moranbah FAQ's

    Where is the Moranbah Urban Development Area?

    Moranbah is located within the Isaac Regional Council area, approximately 200 kilometres south-west of Mackay in Central Queensland.

    The Moranbah Urban Development Area (UDA) measures 1218 hectares which comprises a number of sites within Moranbah town and a large site to the west of Goonyella Road.

    The Moranbah UDA encompasses large areas of vacant land, part of the local golf course, and a small amount of residential and industrial land.

    What is the vision for the Moranbah UDA?

    The Moranbah UDA will assist in meeting the housing pressures expected from the growth of the resource sector. The ULDA will bring surplus government land to the market quickly and deliver a diversity of housing to suit the varied needs of the growing Moranbah community.

    The ULDA vision for Moranbah is a thriving major regional activity centre which has a key role in supporting the expansion of the Bowen Basin mining industry.

    A key component of demonstration projects undertaken, and considered, by the ULDA will be the provision of a wider diversity of housing options and house and land packages than is currently available in the Moranbah market with a focus on small lots and smaller houses. Well designed townhouses and units will suit the needs and budgets of many couples or single people living alone. Traditional size homes will also be available.

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

    In contrast, affordable housing refers to housing for low to moderate income households at a price that they can reasonably 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 per cent for home purchase. There are many different models for providing affordable housing including rental schemes, part-purchasing, and full-purchasing.

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

    Will there be affordable housing in the Moranbah 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 Moranbah'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 Moranbah 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.

    How does the ULDA development assessment process differ from the Isaac 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 (the ULDA Act). The Interim Land Use Plan and the proposed development scheme have a role in the 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 by the state government, development applications already lodged with the local government for the area and awaiting decision continue to be assessed by the Isaac Regional Council under the SPA and the provisions of the planning scheme for Belyando Shire.

    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 and the application will continue to be assessed by a builder certifier.

    How can you lodge a development application with the ULDA?

    When lodging a development application within a UDA, the application will be assessed against the Urban Land Development Authority Act 2007. In July 2011 the Moranbah UDA Development Scheme was approved by the Queensland Government. All development applications within the UDA will now be assessed against the approved development scheme.

    All new development applications within the UDA are required to be lodged with the Urban Land Development Authority. A UDA development 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 Isaac Regional Council can also assist in forwarding UDA development applications to the ULDA.

    How can I purchase within a ULDA development?

    Once homes become available in a ULDA development project, the ULDA or the builder will make available the details for the purchase of those homes. In nearly all cases, homes will be sold on the open market at market rates. You can register your interest in new housing in the Moranbah UDA by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Will building heights increase?

    Yes, given the mining constraints surrounding the town there is very little expansion room. As a result, residential development within the Moranbah UDA will generally be in the range of up to three storeys, with some higher developments in key locations such as near the town centre.

    How does the development scheme address housing issues?

    A key purpose of the Moranbah UDA Development Scheme is to address housing issues within the Moranbah UDA. There is a limited supply of residential land in Moranbah 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 development 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 residential 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. On some sites Native Title may need to be addressed. Appropriate sites will then go through a public process to enable it to be purchased for development on the local market.

    How is workers accommodation dealt with in the scheme?

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

    • proposals will be guided by the ULDA guideline no. 3 - Non-resident worker accommodation which sets out standards for locating and designing high quality accommodation facilities
    • proposals must be publicly advertised
    • larger-scale proposals (more than 100 rooms and containing mess facilities) are restricted from being located near the town centre and existing established residential areas.

    What does the development scheme include for the business centres, including the Moranbah Town Centre?

    The Moranbah Town Centre is proposed to be improved by encouraging more business and community development including additional retail development.

    The ULDA will investigate opportunities to redevelop vacant State land holdings, including Ted Rolfe Oval, to improve the role and function of the town centre, creating liveable places with big box and speciality retail services catering for the local community. The Moranbah town centres will be well-integrated with surrounding existing and future civic and commercial uses and meet the ULDA's objectives of delivering high quality, sustainable and environmentally responsive urban environments which embrace and support a healthy and diverse community.

    Where can I see a copy of the development scheme?

    Printed copies can be viewed at the ULDA offices at Level 4, 229 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane, and at the Isaac Regional Council office located in the Grosvenor Complex, Batchelor Parade, Moranbah, 8.30am - 5pm Monday to Friday.

    Has a decision been made about the development application for large scale non-resident worker accommodation submitted by the MAC?

    Yes. On 29 May 2012, the ULDA has approved the development application for large scale non-resident worker accommodation facility in the Moranbah Urban Development Area (UDA).

    Did the ULDA liaise with Isaac Regional Council and other key stakeholders during the assessment process of The MAC's proposed development?

    Yes. On 20 January 2012 the ULDA wrote to The MAC identifying matters and concerns raised by Isaac Regional Council (IRC) and the ULDA that required further clarification and discussion as part of the assessment process. This included matters in relation to urban and building design and social, community and economic impacts.

    Consultation was undertaken with IRC during all phases of the assessment process.

    During the assessment of the development application the ULDA consulted extensively with IRC, the Coordinator-General, OESR, Queensland Health and the former Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM). In general the majority of agency requirements or concerns were incorporated and addressed.

    In December 2011, the ULDA developed a newsletter and fact sheet about the lodgement of the developing application and the ensuing process.

    Did the community input influence the ULDA's decision of The MAC development application?

    Yes. This development application was required to go on public notification. Between 20 January 2012 and 21 February 2012 the community, Isaac Regional Council and other stakeholders had an opportunity to make a formal submission to the ULDA about the application. Public notification of the application concluded on 21 February 2012 and eight submissions were received.

    The key issue raised by submitters related to the potential adverse impacts the facility may have on essential services in the town including housing to support an increase in key workers.

    Conditions were included in the approval that will support the existing and future community of Moranbah, in particular, the establishment of essential services and infrastructure that will contribute to the longevity and sustainability of the town.

    The MAC's application will be conditioned to provide 5 per cent of rooms, around 163 rooms, at a discounted rate to eligible low to moderate income households. Alternatively, the MAC can choose to enter into an infrastructure agreement to provide funds directly to the Isaac Affordable Housing Trust in lieu of rooms. The Trust will then use the funds to support other housing affordability projects in the area.

    As well, there are significant infrastructure contributions required which are based on IRC's applicable infrastructure charging framework for the area and in summary include requirements that The MAC:

    • provide an infrastructure delivery strategy for the supply of water, sewer and electricity to the site for approval by the ULDA and IRC prior to infrastructure works commencing
    • construct all local infrastructure to the site (i.e. water, sewer and electricity)
    • pay $34.4 million in contributions to local infrastructure (i.e. water, sewerage, stormwater, roads and community facilities)
    • upgrade the intersection of Moranbah Access Road and Moranbah Railway Station Road to deliver a signalised intersection (prior to the use of 50% of rooms in the facility).

    While the issue regarding the provision of health care and emergency services is outside the scope of the development application, The MAC have advised that first aid and emergency rescue services will be available during the development and operation phases of the project to support construction workers and end-users of the proposed facility. Appropriately trained personnel will be on on-site throughout the life of the project to provide first aid and respond to on-site emergencies.

    Why did the ULDA approve the development application when the community is opposed to mining camps?

    While the ULDA recognises community concerns regarding how such facilities can impact the amenity of a township, non-resident worker accommodation makes an important contribution to the accommodation needs of resource communities.

    Consultation with the Office of Economic Statistical Research (OESR) has identified that the size and type of The MAC's proposed accommodation facility is warranted in the short-term to support the resource projects in the Moranbah region.

    OESR also indicated that this facility would only go some way to supporting the huge worker demand generated by future resource projects within the Bowen Basin and that additional similarly sized facilities may be required to satisfy the expected future demand.

    However, in response to community feedback during the preparation of the development scheme, the ULDA designated sites on the outskirts of town where future large scale non-resident worker accommodation may be considered. Under the Moranbah UDA Development Scheme, an area to the south-west growth area (sub precinct 2c) of the UDA was designated for large scale non-resident worker accommodation.

    The application was assessed against the Moranbah UDA Development Scheme and the ULDA's Guideline no. 3 - Non-resident Worker Accommodation and was considered to meet the requirements of both documents.

    When will development commence?

    The MAC has advised that the proposed facility will be delivered in 11 stages with construction commencing in approximately September 2012. The delivery of each stage will be dependent on accommodation demand.

    What permanent residential development is occurring in Moranbah?

    The Moranbah Development Scheme does not prioritise the provision of non-resident worker accommodation ahead of other residential land uses.

    In July 2011, approval for a new permanent residential development of 150 lots was approved within the Moranbah UDA. Construction is now underway on the ULDA's development known as Bushlark Grove development (locally known as the Boxing Club site) which is set to deliver around 175 homes for up to 400 people.

    It is anticipated the land development will be finished in July with housing construction to follow. It is anticipated that the first homes will be completed by late by late 2012 and new residents to move into Bushlark Grove shortly after.

    What about providing affordable housing for the Moranbah community?

    The ULDA is reinvesting in the Moranbah community and is committing $1 million by providing homes for rental accommodation for key workers. The ULDA is gifting three dwellings within Bushlark Grove to Isaac Regional Council to make available for non-mining workers as rental accommodation. Once these three homes are complete, the ULDA will transfer ownership of the dwellings to the Isaac Affordable Housing Trust who will undertake tenancy allocation and management. It is anticipated these will be available in December 2013.

    Under the My Place program, the ULDA is also providing the opportunity for key workers to purchase homes in Bushlark Grove. Over the life of the development, five to ten per cent of these homes will be available under the My Place affordable housing initiative for household on incomes less than $105,000.

    In response to the specific housing issues in Moranbah, the My Place program is being extended and will be known as the Bushlark Grove Priority Buyer Program. Three priority buyer groups have been identified which consists of My Place eligible applicants, purchasers who are owner-occupiers and occupiers and local businesses needing staff accommodation.

    Information sessions for the first round of My Place for the Bushlark Grove development in Moranbah were held in June.

    Through the Priority Buyer Program 11 homes will be available for My Place buyers and 35 house and land packages, and 20 land only will be available to the owner occupier and local business priority buyer groups.

  • Background reports