In Queensland, statewide legislation establishes the framework and overarching policy for land use planning.
Having commenced 3 July 2017, the Planning Act 2016 (Planning Act) established a new planning system for the state and replaced the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.
While key elements and the structure are renewed and regenerated, the Planning Act remains similar to the current Sustainable Planning Act in many ways and will be familiar to many users.
To find out more information about the Planning Act 2016 and the Queensland planning framework visit:
A planning scheme can seem like a complicated document to try and navigate, especially if you are not used to it.
For assistance with the basic navigation of the Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016 please refer to the Navigating the planning scheme – fact sheet.
Council’s Planning Scheme 2016 specifies 17 zone codes. Each zone code has a strategic purpose such as low impact industry or recreation and open space. The type of developments that may occur in each zone should align with its purpose. Overall, zones provide strategic direction for development in the Central Highlands region.
The 17 zones include:
Centre zone, Specialised centre zone, Principal centre zone, Neighbourhood centre zone, Township zone, Emerging community zone, Recreation and open space zone, Community facilities zone, Industry investigation zone, Low impact industry zone, Industry zone, Special industry zone, General residential zone, High-density residential zone, Rural residential zone, Rural zone and Environmental management and conservation zone.
Council has developed a guidebook to help developers understand the purpose of each zone codes and the type of developments that might occur.
The design and construction of municipal works in the Central Highlands region are to be undertaken in accordance with the standards and specifications provided in the Capricorn Municipal Development Guidelines (CMDG).
The CMDG provides guidance for the following matters relating to the design and construction of development works:
For more information about the CMDG, visit www.cmdg.com.au
Types of development
Material change of use
Using the building, structure or the land for something different than it is currently being used for, or the same use more intensively. Examples: Changing a retail shop into a food and drink outlet, a 30 site caravan park to a 60 site caravan park, vacant lot into an office, shop, industrial use etc.
Reconfiguring a lot
Subdividing the land or making changes to the boundaries. Examples: Subdividing one lot into multiple lots, dividing land into parts by agreement, re-aligning the boundary of a lot, creating or changing and easement giving access to a lot.
Activities that alter the shape or form of the land. Examples: Earthworks (i,e. filling of excavation), vegetation clearing, erecting a sign.
Constructing a new building or structure or extending an existing building or structure. Examples: Building a new building or structure (e.e house, shed, garage, etc.), Part or complete demolition of a building or structure, repairing, altering or extending a building or structure.
Types of approval
A development approval can be a:
Categories of development and assessment
One of the changes in the Planning Act 2016 is the consolidation of self- assessable and exempt development into one category, accepted development. Accepted development:
An example of accepted development is a home based business. For further information on home based businesses see the home based business fact sheet.
For further information on accepted development see the accepted development fact sheet.
If the accepted development does not comply with all accepted outcomes the development will require a code assessable application.
Code assessable development:-
Note: code assessable development can occur as a result of accepted development not being compliant with one or more of the identified accepted outcomes of the applicable codes.
Impact assessable development:-
Under the Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016 a home based business is defined as a dwelling used for a business activity where subordinate to the residential use.
For further information on Home Based Businesses please view the home based business fact sheet.
Operational works are activities that alter the shape or form of the land such as excavating or filling, vegetation clearing and erecting an advertising sign. Material Change of Use or Reconfiguring a Lot Decision notices will define in the conditions what type of operational work needs to be carried out.
To find out when operational works (earthworks) will trigger a development application with Council and/or the state government, please refer to this fact sheet.
Please refer to page 114 of the Register of commercial and cost recovery fees 2020-21 for the operational work application fees.
A search inspection request form is to be completed for the following searches:
In accordance with the Planning Act 2016 certain development applications are required to go through a period of public notification.
Public notification informs the community of the proposal and provides the community with an opportunity to make submissions that must be taken into account before the development application is decided.
During the public notification period, the community can make submissions about a development application to the assessment manager, who will consider these when making their decision. The submissions must be ‘properly made’, which means they must be in writing, on topic, signed and submitted by the due date.
The ‘Applications currently on public notification’ tab below contains a list of development applications currently on public notification.
Please email all properly made submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Delegation of development assessment powers to Central Highlands Regional Council
The Minister for Economic Development Queensland (MEDQ) has agreed to a request from Central Highlands Regional Council (CHRC) to delegate development assessment within the PDA to the Council.
From 4 July 2016, CHRC is responsible for assessing any development applications on behalf of the MEDQ. All development applications will continue to be assessed against the Blackwater and Blackwater East PDA Development Scheme’s under the Economic Development Act 2012 (ED Act).
What happens to existing development approvals within the Blackwater or Blackwater East PDA?
All existing development approvals remain in effect.
How do I lodge a new application once delegation has commenced?
All new development applications are to be lodged with CHRC. See above ‘Lodging a development application’ for further details.
Will the development scheme continue to apply?
Yes, development applications will continue to be assessed against the Blackwater PDA Development Scheme under the Economic Development Act 2012 until the PDA is revoked. EDQ will work closely with CHRC to prepare for the revocation process.
Who will assess compliance and undertake plan sealing for existing PDA approvals?
Compliance assessment and plan sealing will be undertaken by CHRC.
What if I want to lodge a change to an approval granted by the department?
Changes to approval applications are to be lodged with CHRC.
Forms, Guidelines and Practice Notes
Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) provides forms, guidelines and practice notes to help you progress a development proposal through the application process. The Development application template can be found here.