Each state development area (SDA) is subject to a development scheme, a regulatory document that controls planning and development in an SDA.

Prepared and implemented by the Coordinator-General, a development scheme ensures development in an SDA is well planned and managed.

Broadly, the development scheme:

  • identifies land uses compatible with the objectives of the SDA
  • sets out the processes and procedures for the assessment of applications and requests related to development in the SDA
  • assists in avoiding or minimising impacts to environmental, cultural heritage and community values
  • ensures orderly development.

A development scheme takes into account industries that already exist in the SDA as well as surrounding land uses.

It overrides local and state government planning instruments related to the use of land for development regulated by the development scheme for the relevant SDA.

SDA development schemes

The Office of the Coordinator-General is currently preparing a development scheme for the Cairns South SDA. The draft development scheme will undergo public consultation.

Applications and requests

The development scheme contains a development assessment framework for making, assessing and deciding applications and requests relating to development within an SDA.

There are different types of applications or requests relating to development within an SDA. The most common is an SDA application for a material change of use (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.

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.

Assessment of an SDA application

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

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.

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.

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

Make an SDA application or request

View information on how to make an SDA application or request, including pre-lodgment consideration, relevant fees and an online application form.

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. Proponents and auditors compiling audit reports can view the audit report guideline (PDF icon 71 KB).

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.

Further information

Advisory notes