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How does planning work?

The Planning Act 2016 establishes Queensland’s planning framework which is made up of three main systems:

  • plan-making: the plan-making system guides land use planning for future development throughout Queensland.
  • development assessment: the development assessment system sets out if, and how development may occur.
  • dispute resolution: the dispute resolution system resolves disputes and offences.

The state government is responsible for improving the planning framework.

State and local governments share the responsibility for delivery and operation of these systems. The community and industry also play a role.

Who does what in planning?

  • Plan-making

    The State Government:

    • mandates the roles and responsibilities in plan-making
    • outlines in the State Planning Policy the state’s interests in plan‑making that are to be delivered through local government planning schemes
    • prepares regional plans that recognise diversity and identify the regional dimension of state interests that are important and specific to a Queensland region
    • establishes the plan making processes through the Minister’s Guidelines and Rules which includes the minimum requirements for community engagement in plan‑making
    • outlines the mandatory parts of a local planning scheme
    • provides for different categories of assessment that a local government planning scheme may apply to development
    • approves local planning schemes and amendments.

    Development assessment

    The State Government:

    Dispute resolution

    The State Government:

    • sets the rights to appeal on development decisions
    • the Planning and Environment Court sets a court-based process for resolving certain matters
    • the Development Tribunal provides a low-cost, speedier dispute resolution option for certain
      technical matters.
  • Plan-making

    Local government:

    • prepares and owns the local planning instruments that guide growth and development in each local government area.
    • its local planning scheme is the primary document that sets out plans for managing growth and change in each local government area across Queensland
    • the local planning scheme regulates what new development should occur and how
    • responsible for preparing local government infrastructure plans.

    Development assessment

    Local government:

    • regulates, through its local planning scheme, what land uses and development proposals need to obtain an approval from the local government (called assessable development) and the category of assessment that applies
    • assesses development that it made assessable in its local planning scheme
    • considers submissions and comments on development applications and issues a decision (to approve or refuse) each development application.

    Dispute resolution

    Local government:

    • may get involved in the dispute resolution system, for example where an applicant appeals a local government’s decision on a development application.
  • Plan-making

    Community and industry:

    Development assessment

    The development assessment system sets out if, and how development may occur. Community and industry:

    • applicants use the local planning scheme to identify what type of development is envisaged in which
      areas and the process and criteria that will apply to their development proposal
    • applications are made against the local government planning scheme
    • people may make comment on some types of development proposals. Find out more about
      how to have your say on a development application.

    Dispute resolution

    Dispute resolution resolves disputes and offences. Community and industry:

    • applicants may get involved in the dispute resolution system, where they disagree with, and
      wish to appeal, a state or local government’s development decision
    • community members who have made a ‘properly made’ submission on a development application
      may get involved if they wish to appeal the development decision.

Last updated: Thursday, Jul 8, 2021