Planning in Queensland operates under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA). This Act and its Regulations form the framework for how the development application process occurs. SPA covers applications to carry out building work, carry out operational work, subdivision (reconfiguring a lot – RaL), and making a material change of use of premises (MCU).
For all applications in south-east Queensland the SEQ Regional Plan will be relevant to your development. This planning instrument specifies the “Urban Footprint” where development may occur. Outside of this area are the “Rural Living Area”, intended for the consolidation of rural residential development, and the “Regional Landscape and Rural Production Area” where any further subdivision of land is limited to a minimum lot size of 100Ha. This effectively means that your property must be located within the Urban Footprint to allow house lot subdivision or Material Change of Use for commercial, industrial or residential purposes.
Councils are normally the organisations charged with the power to assess commercial, industrial or residential development applications. They operate under the IDAS (Integrated Assessment and Development System). Every application is made on standard IDAS forms which must accompany any application.
IDAS also involves the referral of specified development to State Government referral agencies such as the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, etc where appropriate. These State agencies can prescribe development conditions for the eventual Development Permit (your approval). Councils act as the coordinator of all relevant State development conditions, as well as specifying requirements under their planning schemes. These requirements can relate to minimum lot sizes, setbacks, access and traffic plus separation of incompatible industrial, commercial and residential uses.