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COVID-19 response

Our state has helped support investment, development and jobs for Queenslanders during the COVID-19 pandemic through its nation-leading planning law changes.

Our planning framework remains critical in supporting the state's Economic Recovery Plan (Unite and Recover) . We are working with local governments, businesses, industry and the community to find more ways to advance Queensland's economy during this challenging time.

We have rapidly adapted to manage emerging issues during the pandemic, but our work is continuous.

  • To assist Queensland's economic recovery, temporary changes have been made to the planning framework to reduce red tape and simplify planning approvals. This means local government can be more flexible and responsive in supporting economic activity in their communities enabling business to recommence and development and construction to occur.

    Economic support initiatives give local governments options to:

    • facilitate the removal of unnecessary barriers for low risk uses
    • provide incentives and certainty to ensure economic value-adding uses can recommence or be established across the state where appropriate
    • encourage investment as soon as possible and in-line with community expectations.

    The economic support initiative amendments will be in place until 18 September 2022 and local governments can opt to use the amendments recognising that some local government planning schemes may already achieve some or all of the four proposals. Each local government will have the ability to tailor the provisions for their local area by identifying the zones and uses to suit their local needs.

    Implementation guidance to support local governments applying these temporary planning changes

    See Planning Regulation 2017 for more information

    Templates for the economic support instrument and notices

    A register of each local government’s adoption of an economic support instrument can be viewed below.

    Local GovernmentDate adoptedInstrument details
    Fraser Coast Regional Council28 October 2020Adoption notice and instrument details
    Lockyer Valley Regional Council18 November 2020Adoption notice
    Instrument details
    Somerset Regional Council 20 January 2021Adoption notice
    Instrument details
    South Burnett Regional Council 3 March 2021 Adoption notice
    Instrument details
  • The Development Assessment Rules (DA Rules) set out how development applications are assessed in Queensland. It outlines the process for lodging, assessing and deciding a development application and, importantly, how the public is notified about a development application.

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary measures were put in place to ensure communities remained informed about development in their local area. These changes are now a permanent part of the planning framework. DA Rules amendments overview.

  • The Minister's Guidelines and Rules (MGR) sets out rules and processes for a range of activities, including local government plan-making, local government infrastructure plans and Ministerial and local government designations. Changes to the MGR streamline some of these processes to enable the delivery of critical infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals, at a time when job creation is a high priority.

    The changes also improve flexibility for local governments to update the infrastructure plans to ensure they respond to changing circumstances. See MGR amendments overview.

  • This temporary regulation established requirements for keeping documents physically available for inspection and purchase in recognition of health and safety restrictions. It enabled local governments to continue to meet their statutory obligations.

    The regulation was in effect until 30 April 2022.

Declaration of an applicable event

The Planning Minister has powers under the Planning Act to declare an applicable event.

To respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Planning Minister has declared two separate applicable events since March 2020. Both these events have now ended.

The Planning Minister used the following powers under the declared applicable events:

  • Extension or suspension of planning framework periods under the Planning Act
  • Declarations of uses and classes of uses
  • Temporary use licences

More information is available on the COVID-19 applicable events and the use of each of the above powers during the applicable event.

Last updated: 20 Jul 2022