Planning and development

Queensland has a common system which sets out how development applications should be made and assessed. Visit the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning's (DSDMIP) development web page to find out more about this process.

To discuss the development assessment requirements for your proposed development, please contact a regional officer of the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA). Development proponents are also encouraged to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting where the range of requirements for a proposed development can be discussed.

Queensland's planning and development system has been reformed to establish an efficient and accountable system of land-use planning and development assessment that will lead to ecological sustainability. The framework provides a guide on the process.

When planning a new development or to expand business operations on your property, you may need a development permit or other approvals.

It is important to note that if a development permit is not required under the planning scheme, there may still be state or commonwealth approval requirements before you can commence, similar to the example situations below.

Example 1 - Native vegetation clearing and commonwealth biodiversity laws

Proposed clearing of native vegetation needs to comply with State laws (refer to vegetation management).

It must also take into account potential impacts under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, such as on habitat of threatened species.

Example 2 - Water infrastructure development

Impacts could occur on state interests through operational works or interference with water, as a consequence of a development.

State and local government approvals processes

The Queensland state and local governments' assessment and approval processes operate under the Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS), in administering requirements of the Planning Act 2016 (Planning Act).

Your local council is often the most appropriate first point of contact in determining whether approvals are required for the development. The council may be the decision-maker (assessment manager) for some applications.

However, it is the  Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP) that coordinates the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA), a whole-of-government approach for assessing developments, against state interests. A state interest is a matter that is an important consideration for land use planning and development (e.g. biodiversity, water quality, agriculture).

The Director-General of DSDMIP is the Chief Executive of the Planning Act and the assessment manager or referral agency for development applications where the state has jurisdiction. However, there are a number of other entities that exist outside of SARA, that hold jurisdiction over certain assessment aspects of a development. Contact DSDMIP to find out more.

Please refer to DSDMIP's website for more information about the planning framework and the development application process.

It is important that processes are followed when undertaking or expanding a development or business, to ensure combined and cumulative resource and land use is sustainable in the long term. Depending on the location, complexity and/or scale of your development there may be several aspects to the assessment of your proposal, including against a Regional Plan if it is applicable in your region. To further assist in accessing the correct resources, the DSDMIP website provides a range of information, including:

Further planning and development application resources and information are available from the:

More information

There are many other sources of information that may assist you to undertake agricultural developments, including industry associations.

One of these associations, the Queensland Farmers' Federation recently conducted a Rural Planning Project, with funds provided by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

The resources developed include information on rural planning and specifically the Environmental Management and Planning Legislation: A Guide for Queensland Rural Landholders (PDF, 917KB).

This provides a good overview on interaction of legislation, however please note that the legislation itself is now largely outdated.