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The development assessment chapter contains the most significant changes for the planning system. Major changes from the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 to the Planning Act 2016 in regards to development assessment include:

  • Types of development and assessment

    • Introduces ‘categorising instruments’ (a regulation, or local categorising instrument such as a Planning Scheme) which categorises development; specifies the category of assessment required for assessable development; sets out assessment benchmarks and other assessment matters; and sets out the types of applications requiring public notification.

    • Defines three categories of development including prohibited, assessable and accepted.

    • Defines two categories of assessment – code and impact – and how assessment is undertaken.


  • Development applications

    • Removes Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS) processes from the principal legislation to the statutory instrument called the Development Assessment Rules.

    • Introduces the ability for a local government or the state to keep a list of persons who are appropriately qualified to be an alternative assessment manager and to whom an applicant may make an application; and if accepted is the assessment manager for that application; and provide for accountability measures.

  • Assessing and deciding development applications

    • Simplifies referral arrangements by replacing ‘concurrence agency’ and ‘advice agency’ (other than for provisions about appeal rights) with ‘referral agency’ and provide for a regulation to limit some referral agencies to providing advice only.


  • Development Approvals

    • Ensures an approval attaches to the premises rather than the land, and confirm that the approval does not confer or imply proprietorial rights to the land or a resource.

    • Changes ‘permissible changes’ to a development approval to ‘change applications’.

    • Amends the test for a minor change to a development approval to remove the requirement for the assessment manager to consider whether a person may make a properly made submission objecting to the change.

    • Provides a process for assessing change applications for changes that are not a ‘minor change’, rather than requiring a new development application be made.

    • Changes the assessment manager decision timeframe for extension applications from 30 business days to 20 business days to decide the application with an additional five days to provide the decision notice to the relevant parties.


Another key change includes the removal of the environmental impact statement provisions.

If you would like to understand how these changes might affect your existing or proposed developments, please call us. 


The Planning Act 2016

From the 3 July 2017, Queensland will operate under new planning legislation with the Planning Act 2016 replacing the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. The new legislation has been designed to be easier to navigate and follow although the basic system remains the same with State planning instruments and local planning instruments, a development assessment system and dispute resolution processes.

The new legislation is designed to be easier to navigate through rearranging provisions so that similar matters are grouped together, consolidating definitions as much as possible, removing descriptive detail about plan making and shifting process details to other instruments. This has significantly reduced the size of the Act with the Planning Act 2016 400 pages less than the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

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