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COVID-19 – planning response

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

Changes to planning provisions for Priority Development Areas (PDAs) has been a critical part of the improvements to the Queensland planning framework as a part of this state response. The changes include:

  • the ability to declare an applicable event under the Planning Act 2016 and during that applicable event:
    • declare Shops, Warehouses and Transport Depots as uses that can operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    • make an application for a temporary use licence
    • extend or suspend statutory timeframes
  • modifications to legislative requirements under the temporary Economic Development COVID-19 Emergency Response Regulation 2020 for:
    • public notification of PDA development applications
    • public inspection and purchase of documents

You can also access further information about how applicable events apply outside PDAs under the Planning Act 2016.

Applicable Events

  • The Economic Development Act 2012 was amended in March 2020 to make applicable events declared under the Planning Act 2016 apply in Priority Development Areas (PDAs).

    The Minister for Planning has given the following applicable event notices:

    Event name Period of effect Nature of noticeNotice
    Current applicable events
    COVID-19 applicable event 1/2021 29 June 2021 – 30 September 2021 Declare applicable event Applicable event notice
    Past applicable events
    COVID-19 applicable event 20 March 2020 to 20 June 2020 Declare applicable event Applicable event notice
    COVID-19 applicable event 21 June 2020 to 31 October 2020 Extend applicable event (extension 1)Applicable event extension notice
    COVID-19 applicable event 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 Extend applicable event (extension 2)Applicable event extension notice
    COVID-19 applicable event 31 January 2021 to 30 April 2021 Extend applicable event (extension 3)Applicable event extension notice
  • The Economic Development Act 2012 was amended in March 2020 to enable declared uses under the Planning Act 2016 to apply in Priority Development Areas (PDAs). Declared uses can operate 24-hours, seven days a week to ensure Queenslanders have access to vital goods and services.

    The Minister for Planning has issued the following declaration notices:

    Event name Date of declaration Period of effect Declared usesNotice
    Current declarations
    COVID-19 applicable event 1/2021

    29 June 2021

    From 29 June 2021 for the length of this applicable event period Shop, warehouse, transport depot, as defined Declaration of use notice
    Past declarations
    COVID-19 emergency 20 March 2020 From 20 March 2020 for the length of this applicable event period Shop, warehouse, transport depot, as defined Declaration of use notice (PDF icon 167 KB)
  • Any person is able to apply for a temporary use licence during an applicable event to:

    • change or vary existing conditions of a PDA development approval, or make changes to other operating constraints which the applicable event may prevent them from complying with
    • establish a new use that does not involve physical works.

    Temporary use licences recognise that businesses may need to innovate or change how they operate in unprecedented circumstances, such as during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

    A temporary use licence authorises the use of premises within a PDA under the jurisdiction of the Economic Development Act 2012. A temporary use licence does not remove the need to obtain any other approvals that might be required by local, State and/or Commonwealth jurisdictions and will only last for the length of the relevant applicable event.

    For enquiries about seeking a temporary use licence within a Priority Development Area email PDA.TUL@dsdmip.qld.gov.au

    To apply for a temporary use licence for a use within a PDA you will need to:

    1. download the PDA application form
    2. send the application form to PDU.TUL@dsdmip.qld.gov.au

    To apply for a temporary use licence for multiple sites where those sites are both within and outside PDAs, you will also need to make a temporary use licence application under the Planning Act 2016.

    A register of each temporary use licence given by the Minister for Economic Development Queensland under the Economic Development Act 2012 for each declared applicable event can be viewed below.

    • COVID-19 applicable event (20 March 2020 to 30 April 2021)
      • No temporary use licences in PDAs were given.
    • COVID-19 applicable event 1/2021 (29 June 2021 to 30 September 2021)
      • No temporary uses licences in PDAs have yet be given.
  • During an applicable event the Minister for Economic Development Queensland can extend or suspend periods, such as statutory timeframes, under the Economic Development Act 2012. This provides certainty that planning and development activities can continue despite the impacts of an applicable event, such as the COVID-19 public health emergency, ensuring that community and industry confidence in the planning framework can be maintained.

    The Minister for Economic Development Queensland has given the following extension notices or suspension notices, for an applicable event under the Economic Development Act 2012:

    Event name Date of notice Period of effect Nature of noticeNotice
    Current notices
    COVID-19 emergency 1 September 2021 1 September to 30 September 2021 Six month extension of currency periods Extension notice (PDF icon 135 KB)           
    Past notices
    COVID-19 emergency 21 July 2020 21 July 2020 to 31 October 2020 Six month extension of currency periods Extension notice (PDF icon 84 KB)            

    Note: The Minister for Planning can issue an extension or suspension notice under the Planning Act 2016. Find out more about the extension and suspension of periods and any current or past notices under the Planning Act 2016.

Economic Development COVID-19 Emergency Response Regulation 2020

The Economic Development COVID-19 Emergency Response Regulation 2020 (ED COVID-19 Regulation) commenced on 26 June 2020 and temporarily modifies the following requirements in response to COVID-19:

  • public inspection and purchase of hard copy documents
  • public notification of PDA development applications

The ED COVID-19 Regulation is currently due to expire on 30 September 2021.

  • The ED COVID-19 Regulation temporarily modifies requirements under the Economic Development Act 2012 for registers of applications, approvals and other documents related to planning and development assessment that are published on a government website.

    There is a requirement for these registers to be kept available for inspection by the public during office hours on business days, allowing a person to search and take extracts from a register and obtain a hard copy.

    The ED COVID-19 Regulation allows access to registers to be by appointment only, if the protections for public health and safety, or disruption to public administration due to the COVID-19 emergency, are in effect.

    These modified provisions only apply until the ED COVID-19 Regulation expires on 30 September 2021.

  • The ED COVID-19 Regulation temporarily modifies the Economic Development Act 2012 by providing additional options for notifying PDA development applications if a local newspaper is not circulating in the locality of the application.

    If there is no local hard copy newspaper in circulation, but an online local newspaper for the locality is available, then that local online method of notification is to be used. In circumstances where there is neither a hard copy nor online local newspaper available, an applicant may choose one of the following three options:

    1. publish a notice in a state or national hard copy or online newspaper:
      A state or national newspaper means a newspaper that is published in Australia, primarily publishes news in relation to the state or Australia, and is intended for a state-wide or nation-wide readership, or
    2. give a notice to the occupier of each lot in the identified area for the application, or
    3. publish a notice on the relevant State or local government website of the decision-maker for the application.

    The availability of options 2 and 3 will depend on the entity responsible for deciding applications in the relevant PDA having necessary processes or procedures for:

    • option 2: giving notices to occupiers of lots in the identified area – identifying the area of interest for the application
    • option 3: placing a notice on the relevant State or local government website – providing access to the website.

    Economic Development Queensland provides an online public notification service for specific PDAs. Find out more about publishing an online notice of public notification.

More information

For more information about changes under the:

Last updated: Friday, Jul 2, 2021