There are a number of different types of applications or requests relating to development within a state development area (SDA).

The most common of these is an SDA application for a material change of use (MCU).

A development scheme may also provide for some or all of the following applications and requests:

  • request for pre-lodgement consideration
  • SDA application for:
    • an MCU under a minor assessment process
    • reconfiguring a lot
    • operational works
  • request to change an SDA application
  • change application for an SDA approval
  • request to state a later currency period
  • request to carry out prior affected development
  • request for approval of a plan of subdivision.

It is important to note there are some variations in terminology used in the development schemes as a result of amendments to the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971. For more information, read the Applications and requests advisory note (PDF icon 117 KB). Before making an application or request, refer to the relevant development scheme.

Assessment of an SDA application

For development regulated by a relevant development scheme, SDA approvals are required from the Coordinator-General before development can occur. The Coordinator-General assesses and decides all SDA applications with SDAs.

SDA applications are often referred to relevant state government agencies and local governments for comment.

Accordingly, a proposed development may be assessed against other state or local statutory instruments (e.g. legislation, state policies and local planning schemes) as part of the referral process.

The assessment timeframes are set out in the development scheme of each SDA.

What is an MCU?

An MCU is:

  • the start of a new use of the premises
  • the re-establishment on the premises of a use that has been abandoned
  • a material change in the intensity or scale of the use of the premises.

(Note: In the development scheme for the Townsville SDA, an SDA application for an MCU is referred to as an application to change a use of land.)

Pre-lodgement consideration

Before lodging an application, request or carrying out SDA self-assessable development, a proponent may request a pre-lodgement consideration of the proposed development.

Making a properly made application or request

An application or request that is not properly made cannot be accepted by the Coordinator-General.

To be properly made, an application or request must:

  • be made in the approved form
  • include all the required information (as specified in the relevant application or request form)
  • provide all supporting documentation
  • include payment of the relevant fee.

For certain applications or requests, a planning report, environmental impact statement (EIS) or impact assessment report (IAR) (draft and/or final) and evaluation report on the EIS or IAR (if prepared) may also be required.

The information provided must be detailed enough to enable the Coordinator-General to adequately assess the application or request. Insufficient information may result in the Coordinator-General requesting additional information.

Submit an SDA application or request online. Alternatively, contact the SDA Division on 1800 001 048 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to obtain a hard copy.


All applications and requests relating to development in a SDA are subject to fees.

Public consultation

Some SDA applications will be required to undergo public consultation. This provides an opportunity for people likely to be affected by a proposed development to make a submission on the SDA application.

Audit and compliance reports

Where an SDA application is approved, audit reports may be required to be submitted to the Coordinator-General as a condition of an SDA approval. An audit report guideline (PDF icon 71 KB) has been prepared to provide guidance to proponents and auditors in compiling audit reports.

A proponent who carries out SDA self-assessable development in an SDA may be required to provide compliance documentation to the Coordinator-General prior to commencing SDA self-assessable development. A compliance reporting guideline for SDA self-assessable development (PDF icon 79 KB) has been developed to assist proponents to meet the compliance reporting requirements for SDA self-assessable development in an SDA.

Download documents

Advisory notes