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Queensland's planning and development assessment system comprises a hierarchy of planning instruments; which starts with the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

diagram depicting Queensland's planning framework

The Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA) (PDF icon) and Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 (PDF icon)came into effect on 18 December 2009 and replaced the Integrated Planning Act (IPA).

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.

As part of creating Australia's best planning and development assessment system, the Queensland Government is preparing new planning legislation. The replacement legislation - the draft Planning and Development Bill (PDF icon 883 KB) and draft Planning and Environment Court Bill (PDF icon 227 KB) - present a more concise, streamlined and sensible basis for plan making, development assessment and dispute resolution.

Transitioning from the Integrated Planning Act to the Sustainable Planning Act

The transitional provisions have been designed to minimise disruption and to ensure that all processes commenced under the Integrated Planning Act 1997 (IPA) can be completed under the IPA. All applications lodged prior to 18 December 2009 will be assessed using the IPA process. All applications lodged on or after 18 December will be assessed using the SPA process.

Local planning schemes made under IPA will remain in effect until they are updated. All new planning schemes or schemes amended to come into effect after 18 December 2009 will need to comply with SPA.

A comprehensive guide, From IPA to SPA (PDF icon 500 KB), outlining what's changed and a summary of the Act, Your guide to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, are also available.

Amendments to SPA

State Development, Infrastructure and Planning (Red Tape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014

The Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA) was amended by the State Development, Infrastructure and Planning (Red Tape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 that was given assent on 15 August 2014.

The amendments:

  • remove redundant iconic places provisions
  • address the unintended consequences of previous amendments to the transitional provisions for declared master planned areas, ensuring that notification and submitter appeal rights are removed where development is consistent with the structure plan
  • provide an optional mechanism for local governments to regulate 'party houses', if so desired by the local government.

As part of the greentape reduction reforms, other amendments to SPA and the Environmental Protection Act 1994 have been made to reduce the regulatory burden by ensuring that, where an activity required approvals under both Acts, a single application could be made and be subject to one integrated assessment process.

The amendments commenced on 1 October 2014.

For further information about the party house provisions, refer to the fact sheet (PDF icon 243 KB).

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) 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.

On 22 November 2012, Parliament passed the SPOLA Bill (No. 2) 2012.

The Act makes a number of amendments to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and consequential amendments to a range of other legislation.

The amendments are designed to:

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

Key changes brought about by the Bill provide for:

  • establishing a single State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) 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.

Commencement of provisions

All of the provisions commenced on assent, except for those related to the establishment of SARA.

The delayed commencement of these provisions allows for operational arrangements to be finalised and for further consultation about the changes to occur with affected entities. Additionally, amendments to the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 will be necessary to enable the new arrangements to take effect.

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.

  • Amendments commencing 27 October 2014

    Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation (No.6)

    The Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 was amended on 23 October 2014. These amendments take effect on 27 October 2014.

    The amendments are as follows:

    • The publication date of the revised 'Statutory Guideline 04/14: making and amending local planning instruments' has been updated to 9 October 2014.
    • The publication date of the revised 'State Development Assessment Provisions' (version 1.5) has been updated to 10 October 2014.
    • 'Statutory Guideline 03/14: local government infrastructure plans' (LGIPs) and the 'Statutory Guideline 04/14: making and amending local planning instruments' are prescribed as the guidelines to be followed by local government when undertaking a five-year LGIP review.
    • References to the 'State Planning Policy 2013' have been amended to 'State Planning Policy', to reflect the latest version of the State Planning Policy dated July 2014.
    • Schedule 4, Table 5, Items 10, 10A, 10B and 10C have been amended to clarify that, in addition to construction, the use of the identified state transport projects (e.g. the Gold Coast Light Rail project) cannot be made assessable under a local planning scheme, temporary local planning instrument, or preliminary approval.
    • Schedule 7 has been amended to remove the State Assessment Referral Agency (SARA) referral trigger for low-risk tidal work (e.g. single vessel private pontoons) applications which are also assessed by the Gold Coast Waterway Authority.
    • Schedule 7A has been amended to clarify the application of SARA fees for several referral triggers, including aquaculture development where the applicant holds a resource allocation authority. The amendment also removed fees relating to the Wild Rivers Act 2005, which was repealed by the State Development, Infrastructure and Planning (Red Tape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014.
    • Schedule 9 (Development impacting on state transport infrastructure and thresholds) has been revised to include a new SARA referral trigger for 'Hardware and Trade Supplies', and to remove the referral trigger for 'Mixed use' developments. Furthermore, the referral threshold for 'Office' developments has been amended to refer to 'Gross Floor Area' instead of 'Total Site Area'.
  • Amendments commencing 4 July 2014

    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).
  • Amendments commencing 28 April 2014

    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).
  • Amendments commencing 2 December 2013

    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.
  • Amendments commencing 11 October 2013

    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.
  • Amendments commencing 30 August 2013

    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.

  • Amendments commencing 2 August 2013

    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.
  • Amendments commencing 1 July 2013

    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.

  • Amendments commencing 12 April 2013

    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.

  • Amendments commencing 15 March 2013

    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.

  • Amendments commencing 14 December 2012

    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) (PDF icon 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.

Chapter 8A of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009: urban encroachment provisions register of premises

The urban encroachment provisions of the SPA commenced in February 2012. The provisions enable particular premises to register for protection from specific nuisance actions brought by encroaching intensifying urban development.

Registration can be sought by existing industries and particular activities with significant economic, heritage or infrastructure values to the state, regional, local area or community within which they are situated.

Registration of Milton Brewery

Name of the premises:

Milton Brewery
Castlemaine Perkins Pty Limited
185 Milton Road
Milton Queensland
Lot 35 Plan SL805565
View a map of the affected area (PDF icon 2.19 MB)

Details of activities as per the Certificate of Registration (PDF icon 202 KB) and EPA Permit (PDF icon 1.16 MB) and Spill Lighting Measurements Report (PDF icon 632 KB).

The registration ends on 27 April 2019.

Note: The existing protection for Milton Brewery was transferred to SPA, and Milton Brewery is taken to be premises registered under Chapter 8A, part 3 of the SPA.