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Dispute resolution

Disputes can arise within the planning and development system. Queensland has a strong and accessible dispute-resolution system. A person can appeal a decision to the Development Tribunals or the Planning and Environment Court, depending on what the appeal relates to.

The dispute resolution system is one of three main systems which make up Queensland's planning framework. The other systems are plan-making and development assessment.

State and local governments share responsibility for the delivery and operation of these systems. The community also plays a role. Find out more about who does what in planning.

Appealing a decision

Development Tribunals

An appeal can be made to the Development Tribunals when a person is dissatisfied with building, plumbing and certain planning decisions made by local government or private certifiers.

The Development Tribunals sit outside the Planning and Environment Court, and parties are not allowed legal representation at tribunal hearings. Decisions made by the Development Tribunals can be appealed to the Planning and Environment Court.

Planning and Environment Court

The Planning and Environment Court is a specialised court within the District Court. This court hears proceedings relating to a variety of matters, including planning and development matters under the Planning Act 2016.

There are two types of proceedings that are dealt with by the Planning and Environment Court:

  • notice of appeal
  • originating application.

View the Planning Act 2016 proceedings public register.

  • A notice of appeal is filed by a party who is dissatisfied by a decision. The dissatisfied party, in the context of a decision about a development application, can either be:

    • an applicant who is dissatisfied with a development decision or with a condition/s imposed on a development approval
    • a submitter (i.e. someone who has made a ‘properly made’ submission about a proposed development) who is dissatisfied with a development decision.
  • An originating application is filed by a party who is seeking direction from the Planning and Environment Court around procedural or legal aspects.

    In the context of the development application process, this can include disputes around whether an application has been properly made or the level of assessment used in assessing the application.

    On other occasions, originating applications may be used to seek changes to development approvals that have previously been approved by the Planning and Environment Court (through a previous appeal).

    Procedures relating to Planning and Environment Court proceedings are set out in Planning and Environment Court Act 2016, practice directions and the Planning and Environment Court Rules.

Helpful information

  • Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is available for notices of appeal filed with the Planning and Environment Court.

    Parties can request a referral to the Court’s ADR Registrar or may be ordered by the court to attend mediation. Alternatively, parties can engage with private mediators or hold ‘without prejudice’ negotiations among themselves to try and resolve some or all issues before progressing further through the court process.

  • If you are filing a notice of appeal or an originating application with the Planning and Environment Court about a Planning Act 2016 matter, you are required to provide a copy of the document to the Chief Executive of the department.

    Where the State Assessment and Referral Agency has been named as a party on the proceeding this also needs to be served on the Chief Executive of the department.

    A copy of the proceeding can be emailed to the Chief Executive at pecappeals@dsdilgp.qld.gov.au

Last updated: Friday, Jul 2, 2021