Planning Reform Queensland

The Queensland Government is undergoing a once-in-a-generation reform of its planning system. The reform is the largest of its kind and aims to deliver the best planning system in Australia that stimulates positive development and opportunities for all Queenslanders.

At the heart of planning reform is replacing the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 with clear and concise legislation. The replacement legislation is currently captured in the Draft Planning and Development Bill and Planning and Environment Court Bill.

The draft bills aim to strip away unnecessary state intervention to give back to local governments the autonomy and flexibility to plan for their communities and create a stable base for the industry to conduct business.

Reform journey Our Planning System News and resources

The reform journey

When the reform journey commenced in 2012, the state made a commitment to deliver reform in the most efficient way possible. This meant that incremental changes to the system would occur, compared to lengthy discussion paper processes, which has proved unsuccessful for other states in recent years.

Approaching reform in this manner has enabled the state to more easily and quickly identify and deliver real wins for the planning community, whilst continuing to progress longer term projects including new legislation. Reform is being delivered across four streams including:

Stream One - Legislation: Development of draft planning bills and regulations that form the foundation of the entire planning system in Queensland.

Stream Two - Plan Making: Looks at the transition of current planning schemes, what content the state will now mandate and options for changing schemes.

Stream Three - Development Assessment: How the current rules for processing applications will occur in Queensland, considering the new streams of assessment.

Stream Four - ICT: Changes to the state's IT systems are necessary to support the planning system e.g. MyDAS and support, websites, decommission of eDA.

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Making it real

The mantra for planning reform is 'making it real'. The team recognises that planning reform will only be successful if delivered in an authentic way, alongside industry, community and local government to ensure the reformed system delivers 'real' benefits and improvements from day one.

Focus groups, monthly and annual forums and workshops are regularly hosted, along with informal meetings to test ideas and concepts. The testing of ideas ensures no time and effort is wasted on going down a path which will not deliver real benefit.

The renewed planning system will represent a truly collaborative effort between the state and broader planning community.

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Reform objectives

The team has clear and driving objectives which underpin its reform work. These objectives remain front of mind and are used to progress new concepts and ideas. Planning reform objectives:

  • create the best planning system in Australia.
  • facilitate strong and positive planning and development outcomes for all Queenslanders
  • streamline the assessment and approval processes
  • remove unnecessary red tape
  • re-empower local governments to plan for their communities.

Key users of the planning system will benefit from the reform agenda. The main user groups and benefits are:

  • Councils will have more flexibility and discretion to better plan for their communities
  • The planning industry can now focus on outcomes, not process
  • Developers will have greater certainty regarding outcomes
  • The community has the confidence that the planning system promotes and protects their interests.

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Delivering strong outcomes

Committed to delivering real outcomes, the government has already successfully delivered major planning reform initiatives.

State Planning Policy (SPP) was established in December 2013 to simplify and clarify matters of state interest in land use planning and development. Previously represented in a myriad of policies, the SPP translates the state's interests so local government can better and more easily deliver positive planning outcomes for their communities.

On 1 July 2013, SARA was launched to streamline development applications (where a state interest exists). Prior to SARA's introduction, applicants would need to manage responses from several departments, making the process time consuming and confusing. Applicants now lodge one application and are provided a consolidated response, to ensure no conflicting or 'unreasonable' requirements are imposed on applicants.

The department reviewed the existing infrastructure charging framework to improve clarity, equity and consistency of the system. After the review the department produced the Infrastructure Planning and Charging Framework that strikes a balance between local government financial sustainability and property development feasibility.

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The department recognises that true reform can only be achieved if the broader planning community are ready for the renewed system.

Alongside our regional services partners, a dedicated team is solely focussed on supporting local government and industry through the transition.

The team will be out and about throughout 2014/2015 in a bid to talk to as many people as possible about reform and what it will mean for key users of the system. The team will make information available in a variety of ways including meetings, presentations, videos and printed material.

If you feel your organisation would benefit from some additional reform information or presentations, please contact the team at

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Queensland's Planning System

The driving force of reform is to create the best planning system in Australia, which is clear, transparent and easy to understand and navigate.

Queensland's Planning System comprises three key elements - Legislation (PDF icon 1.3 MB), Plan Making (PDF icon 3.1 MB) and Development Assessment (PDF icon 770 KB).

Supported by the dispute resolution processes, the key elements are strongly integrated and all play a critical role in cohesively delivering positive development outcomes and opportunities for Queensland.

A detailed framework will be released in the coming months to give Queenslanders a clear view on the part each element contributes to the system and its related instruments and tools; and how the process works in reality.


At the heart of planning reform is replacing the Sustainable Planning Act (SPA) with clear and concise legislation which delivers real and positive outcomes for Queensland.

The department has prepared the Planning and Development Bill 2014 and the Planning and Environment Court Bill 2014 (the bills), that are proposed to replace SPA. To assist practitioners, a point in time document outlining the Planning and Development Regulation is also available.

Plan making

Plan making is the process of a local government creating a planning scheme with its local community in the context of their aspirations and the state's interests. The planning scheme is the principal instrument which delivers development across local government areas.

Key elements in the plan making system include state interests , state planning policy , regional plans , scheme content and process guidance . The state is working with councils to identify how it can best support the in transitioning schemes to the new legislation.

Development assessment

Queensland has a common system which sets out how development applications should be made and assessed. The system comprises a process , rules and forms . Council is usually the assessment manager; however through the state assessment and referral agency (via the electronic system MyDAS ) the state also manages some applications.

The state is working with councils to support them in transitioning their existing development assessment processes and systems.


The department is committed to keeping industry and local government informed throughout the reform program and will post regular updates on this page. The Queensland Government is operating in a caretaker role until after the election on 31 January 2015. During this time, no updates will be made to this site until after the election results are declared.

January 2015

8 January - Committee Inquiry on Planning Bills ceases due to election

With the Queensland Government now in caretaker mode, all existing Parliamentary Committees cease to exist (with the exception of the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee), along with their inquiries and referrals. If you or your organisation were preparing a submission to the State Development, Infrastructure and Industry Committee on the Planning Bills, this is no longer required. In the interests of continued effective engagement, the department will still accept feedback on the draft Planning and Development Regulation and supporting documents (due 13 February 2015).

December 2014

15 December - Consultation Report now available

In August, the department released the draft bills for public comment. 224 submissions were received and considered by the department. A consultation report (PDF icon 998 KB) is now available, which outlines how submissions were treated and expressed in the current version of the bills.

10 December - Great turn out at live stream event!

Over 200 Queenslanders tuned in to take part in the department’s live stream event on 5 December. The department outlined how the reform program was tracking, the parliamentary review process and explained the supporting elements and current thinking that aligns with the draft bills. Recordings of the live stream are available within the resources section, along with the supporting material.

4 December - Parliamentary Committee Review

The Parliamentary Committee is in the process of scrutinising the planning bills. The review process is a separate process in which the department is not involved. Find out more about the review process and how to get involved.

November 2014

26 November 2014 - Planning bills introduced to Parliament

On 25 November, the Queensland Government introduced the planning bills into Parliament. The bills will now be reviewed by the Parliamentary Committee. View the planning bills and learn more about the review process.

26 November – Supporting Information (including draft regulation)

To support the introduction of the Planning Bills, a suite of supporting material has also been released to assist the community and practitioners better understand the elements of the proposed new system. Visit our resources section for details.

26 November – Live streamed event to support introduction

To support the introduction, the department will host a live streamed event on Friday 5 December, from 9.30am to 11.30am. Visit the events tab for details.

October 2014

31 - Development Assessment Process and Forms available

Over the last few months we have received many requests to see preliminary information on the development assessment process. We have now made the proposed development assessment process and forms available in the development assessment section under the resources tab. These documents are preliminary only and align with the current draft of the bills, and therefore are subject to change.

27 - Planning Reform Queensland attend LGAQ Conference!

Planning Reform Queensland were in attendance at the LGAQ Conference, held in Mackay last week. Deputy Director-General of Planning and Property, Greg Chemello took the opportunity to attend the conference and speak with local government about planning reform. Members of the team were also on hand in our reform booth to speak with Council representatives throughout the conference. Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a chat!

September 2014

29 - Out and about

Throughout the eight week consultation period for the draft bills the department talked to over 2,000 people across the state. Industry and council sessions were held in the majority of regions across Queensland, in addition to several live streamed events and presentation recordings.

The team also spoke at several community and peak body events in a bid to further assist those interested in understanding the intent and main elements within the draft bills.

22 - Watch and learn about draft planning bills

Several presentations on the draft planning bills are available to watch from this page. The presentations outline how the draft planning bills differ to the current legislation; in order to assist people in understanding the key elements.

20 - Detailed information on draft regulation

After receiving feedback throughout the consultation period regarding the content of the regulation, the team has developed a detailed information paper. The information paper outlines the likely content within each section of the regulation.

12 - State testing draft tools

Several workshops were held across the state to discuss and table ideas covering planning scheme transition and the proposed development assessment rules. If you'd like more information on these sessions, please contact your regional services office.

August 2014

15 - Hear about the draft planning bills

Throughout August and September, the reform team will be meeting with local government and industry and speaking at several events about the draft planning bills. Visit our resources page to see when and where you can hear about the draft planning bills.

1 - Draft Legislation open for consultation

The Draft Planning and Development and Planning and Environment Court Bills are open for public comment from 1 August to 26 September 2014. The draft planning bills provide the basis for an efficient, effective, integrated, transparent and accountable planning and development assessment system.

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frequently asked questions

As we go through the reform journey, we'll regularly update our Frequently Asked Questions. If you can't see your question below, please get in contact. For information on the draft planning bills, download our questions so far document (PDF icon 380 KB).

Where shall I direct my feedback?

Until 19 January 2015, the Parliamentary Committee is asking for submissions on the draft bills - submissions must be directed to the Parliamentary Committee and not the department. If you’d like to provide feedback on the proposed regulation, or any of the material provided in the supporting material (see resources section), please submit feedback by 13 February 2015 to

Why is planning reform needed in Queensland?

A strong economy needs investment. Development brings investment. Queensland's planning system is highly regulated and adds unnecessary complexity to a development application. This complexity creates an unnecessary barrier to investment.

The renewed system will strip back the state's involvement and create a system that is focussed on positive outcomes, and not simply the process.

What department is responsible for delivering reform?

The Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning are responsible for delivering reform. The reform team sit within the department's Planning and Property Group, which is led by Deputy Director-General, Mr Greg Chemello.

Why is the state writing new legislation? Why not just tweak the existing?

Queensland's current planning legislation - The Sustainable Planning Act 2009 - is long, complex and unresponsive. The highly-regulated legislation has also created a process-driven industry, rather than one focussed on delivering positive outcomes.

The Queensland Government is preparing new planning legislation with the aim of having Australia's best planning and development assessment system. The draft Planning and Development Bill and the Planning and Environment Court Bill, provide the basis for an efficient, effective, integrated, transparent and accountable planning and development assessment system.

Planning reform is a significant change for the industry. What support will be provided?

The Reform Team will create as many opportunities as possible to build the awareness and understanding of the renewed system and what it means for the various users. The State will endeavour to provide several months between the new legislation passing and its enactment. This will allow more time for local government and industry to prepare for the "new way".

More details on the training and support model will be shared over the coming months.

What will happen with MyDAS as a result of the reform agenda?

MyDAS is the system which supports development assessments where a state interest exists. A dedicated IT team are delivering enhancements to MyDAS and aligning it with the new legislation and proposed processes. The intent is to deliver an enhanced version of MyDAS to the industry when the new legislation is enacted.

got a question?


phone: 0428 715 609


As we transition to the new system, the department will post a range of resources to help you better understand reform and what it means for you. Please contact the department on at any time, if you require more information.


Draft Planning Bills - Greg Chemello (26 August 2014)
Greg Chemello, Deputy Director-General talks about planning reform, how it's being delivered, some of the key drivers and some of his key highlights within the draft planning bills.

Question and Answer Session on the Draft Planning Bills
The department hosted a free question and answer event on Friday 19 September, to assist the planning community in further understanding the draft planning bills. Members of the team, including Deputy Director-General, Mr Greg Chemello were available to answer questions.

Queensland's Planning System

The department has released a suite of supporting documents that outline how the proposed changes will affect the key areas of planning in Queensland.

Planning Bills

Key changes (PDF icon 119 KB)
key changes to the planning bills between the consultation drafts and the final bills presented to Parliament.

Draft Bills Overview (PDF icon 1.3 MB) (includes draft regulation and access rules)

Draft Planning and Development Regulation (PDF icon 667 KB)

Legislation overview – James Coutts (5 December 2014).
Executive Director of Planning Services provides an overview of the draft planning bills and where they are at.

Planning Bills Consultation report (PDF icon 998 KB)

Proposed Bills

Planning and Development Bill

Planning and Development (Consequential) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill

Planning and Environment Court Bill

Plan Making

Proposed Plan Making System (PDF icon 3.1 MB)

Plan Making System – James Coutts (5 December 2014).
James talks about how the state is proposing to change its approach to plan making.

Infrastructure Designation – Tom Leach (5 December 2014).
Project Lead, Tom Leach runs through the key changes within Infrastructure Designation.

Scheme transition – James Coutts (5 December 2014).
James gives an overview of where the department is at in regards to scheme transition.

Development Assessment

Proposed Development Assessment System (PDF icon 4.1 MB)

Proposed DAQ Process – Kim Kirstein (5 December 2014).
Project Lead, Kim Kirstein provides a high level view of the proposed changes in the development assessment space.

Detailed Development Assessment Process – Kim Kirstein (18 November 2014).
Kim Kirstein, gives a detailed overview of the proposed DA process.


Supporting Systems (MyDAS) (PDF icon 581 KB)

MyDAS overview – James Coutts (5 December 2014).

hear from us

Members of the department are regularly out and about speaking about planning reform.

If your organisation would like a presentation about the draft bills by the department, please contact The department will make every effort to accommodate these requests.


The department will host a number of free events to help you better understand reform and what it means for you. The Planning Reform team is currently preparing its schedule of 2015 events. Information will be available in early 2015.

A conversation about planning reform - on Friday 5 December, the department hosted a free live streamed event to describe where reform is at, the next steps and provided an overview of the key supporting elements. Recordings from the live streamed event can be seen in the resources section. View the full presentation (PDF icon 2.1 MB).

hear from us

Members of the department are regularly out and about speaking about planning reform.

If your organisation would like a presentation about the draft bills by the department, please contact The department will make every effort to accommodate these requests.

the team

Led by Deputy Director-General of the Planning and Property Group, Mr Greg Chemello, the reform team comprises around 50 strong professionals. The team are a combination of plan making, development assessment, information technology, communication, change management, training specialists. Located in Brisbane, the team coordinate activities across the State, through their Regional Services partners. If you live in a regional area and would like to learn more about reform, find your local department office.