Planning for agriculture

State Planning Policy (SPP)

The State Planning Policy (SPP) provides a consolidated and comprehensive view of the state's interests in land use planning and development. The SPP sets out the matters that must be addressed in local government planning schemes and regional plans.

Agriculture has been identified as a state interest under the 'Economic growth' theme of the SPP.

The state's interest in agriculture is that planning protects the resources on which agriculture depends and supports the long term viability and growth of the agriculture sector. This includes promoting and optimising agricultural development and increasing production in key areas.

To find out more about the SPP visit the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DILGP) website.

A detailed, non-statutory guideline has been developed to help local government integrate the state's interest for agriculture into a planning scheme. The SPP state interest guideline for agriculture is available from the DILGP website.

Regional plans

The Queensland Government is developing a suite of 'new generation' regional plans. The role of these regional plans is to identify and interpret the state's interests in land use planning and development, as identified in the SPP, for a particular region.

Regional plans define regional outcomes and identify regional policies to achieve these outcomes. The purpose of the outcomes and policies is to guide land use planning and development decisions in a region. Regional plans are prepared in collaboration with the wider community, local government and key industry groups.

Relationship between the State Planning Policy (SPP) and regional plans

The SPP and regional plans perform complementary roles: regional plans provide the basis for prioritising, qualifying or resolving the SPP state interests in a particular region, as necessary.

A regional plan provides the specific strategic direction and policies to manage identified competing state interests for a region. For example, the Darling Downs and Central Queensland regional plans provide regional direction around the competing state interests of agriculture and mining & extractive resources.

Regional plans that have a focus on agriculture include the Darling Downs, and Central Queensland regional plans. Other regional plans can be accessed from DILGP website.

Regional Planning Interest Act 2014

The Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 (the Act) gives effect to policies about matters of State interest identified in regional plans and to other regional planning matters identified in the legislation. The Act is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DILGP).

The Act identifies four areas of regional interest: a priority agricultural area (PAA); a priority living area (PLA); the strategic cropping area (SCA); and a strategic environmental area (SEA). A key purpose of the Act is to manage both the impact and coexistence of resource activities, and other specifically regulated activities, in these areas of regional interest.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) is an assessing agency for PAAs. DAF assesses applications to carry out resource activities in PAAs against criteria which are prescribed in Schedule 2 of the Regional Planning Interests Regulation 2014.

The aim of the assessment process is to achieve effective coexistence of resource activities and agricultural activities within a PAA by: promoting negotiated agreements with land owners; protecting Priority Agricultural Land Uses (PALUs); and managing impacts at both the property and regional scale.

PALUs are defined in regional plans, and may include certain types of dryland agriculture and plantations, irrigated agriculture and plantations, and intensive horticulture.

DAF's advice is provided to DSDIP for its consideration in decision-making and conditioning of approvals.

For more information on the Act, visit the DILGP website or contact DILGP on 1300 967 433.

Queensland Farmers' Federation and the Rural Planning Project

The Rural Planning Project was initiated in 2011 to improve the capacity of the rural sector to engage in relevant land use policy and planning initiatives. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries provides funding to the Queensland Farmers' Federation (QFF) to undertake the project.

The project focusses on developing practical tools for both farmers and local governments to help deliver improved agricultural outcomes in land use planning and development. To find out more about the rural planning project visit QFF.

As part of the Rural Planning Project, QFF has produced a planning toolkit and other publications to assist farmers, planners and policy makers. While the ‘Planning Legislation’ is now largely outdated, the toolkit provides a range of information on planning for a healthy agriculture sector.

Queensland Agricultural Land Audit and planning

The Queensland Agricultural Land Audit (the Audit) is an important tool to assist local government, planners, business, developers and decision-makers in integrating the state's interest for agriculture into land use planning and development at the local, regional and statewide scale.