The Planning Act 2016

There were recent changes to Queensland’s planning legislation that took effect on the 3rd July 2017. 

The new Planning Act 2016 (PA) has repealed the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA) and has made some significant changes as briefly outlined below:


While the basic planning system and concept remains the same, the Planning Act 2016 is a much more succinct and logically ordered legislation, and easier to understand and use. 


The categories of development have changed (Section 44 PA). The Planning Act 2016 is arranged so that similar matters are grouped together and definitions are more consolidated:

Sustainable Planning Act 2009 Terminology

Corresponding Planning Act 2016 Terminology

Exempt Development

Self-Assessable Development

Accepted Development

can occur without approval or as long as certain criteria are met

Code Assessable Development

Impact Assessable Development

Assessable Development

code and impact remain the two categories of assessable development

Prohibited Development

Prohibited Development

development not allowed to be carried out

Compliance Assessment

Compliance assessment is effectively removed

Development Application Forms:

The Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS) has been repealed by the Planning Act 2016 meaning that there is a reduced number of relevant forms required to be lodged with applications. Previously, an applicant was required to complete a suite of IDAS forms when making a development application. Now, there are only two (2) approved DA forms to provide efficiency in information. These forms are:

– DA Form 1 – Development application details 
           – This form must be used to make a code or impact assessable development application
– DA Form 2 – Building work details
           – This form must be used when involving building works (in addition to DA Form 1)

The DA forms identify mandatory supporting information required for a development application. 

Properly Made Applications:

Like the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, the Planning Act 2016 identifies the mandatory information required for an application to be considered properly made (Section 51 PA). All properly made applications requiring referral or public notification under the Planning Act 2016 will be issued a Confirmation Notice (formerly an Acknowledgement Notice under the repealed SPA). Where a development application does not satisfy the mandatory requirements identified in the Planning Act 2016, an Action Notice will be issued, outlining the actions required by the applicant to make the development application properly made. A Confirmation Notice will be issued upon satisfying the requirements for a properly made development application. The Assessment Manager still has the discretion to accept an application that is not properly made. 

Land Owner’s Consent:

Land Owner’s Consent is still required to make a development application properly made where the owner is not the applicant (Section 51(2) PA). This is applicable for Material Change of Use and/or Reconfiguring a Lot applications.

Development Assessment Rules:

Given effect through the Planning Regulation 2017, the Development Assessment Rules (DA Rules) (Section 68 PA) are a statutory instrument that must be followed for making, assessing, changing and deciding during the development assessment process:

Part 1


Part 2

Referral (if applicable)

Part 3

Information Request (if applicable and if opted in)

Part 4

Public Notification (if applicable)

Part 5


Bounded Assessment:

Under the Planning Act 2016, Code Assessable development applications are now subject to bounded assessment. This means the assessment is only against the applicable planning scheme codes (i.e. assessment benchmarks). The Assessment Manager must approve the development application to the extent it complies with those benchmarks, and can condition compliance if required. A refusal can only be facilitated when the application cannot be conditioned to meet the assessment benchmarks. This provides greater certainty to the development industry and community expectations. 

Changes to Development Approvals:

Under the Planning Act 2016, there are two types of changes to approvals:

  • A “minor change” which is similar to the former “permissible change” under the repealed Sustainable Planning Act 2009, adopts the equivalent tests and processes for assessment (i.e. cannot be substantially different development); and
  • An “other change” are for change applications that do not meet the “minor change” test. An “other change” to a development approval may be facilitated through an abridged assessment relevant to only the aspects that are being changed. 

Transitional Provisions:

For applications made prior to the 3rd July 2017, under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, these provisions will continue to apply to the assessment of the applications regardless of the commencement of the Planning Act 2016. Approvals issued under SPA will continue to have affect under the PA. Currency periods for these approvals will continue as set out under SPA.

No More Rolling Currency Provision:

Under the Planning Act 2016, related approvals (obtained through subsequent applications) will no longer enable rolling currency provisions to keep an existing approval from lapsing. However, the new Act allows for increased currency periods; with a Material Change of Use approvals are now afforded 6 years, and Reconfiguring a Lot allowed 4 years, compared to 4 and 2 years respectively under the repealed SPA

Stopping the Clock:

The applicant may stop a currency period in the development assessment process time frame at any time (stage) up until the Council makes a decision. The applicant may stop-the-clock as many times as required for a cumulative period of 6 months (up to 130 days). 

State Planning Instruments:

Under the new planning system, there will now only be two state planning instruments – the State Planning Policy (SPP) and Regional Plans:

  • The State Planning Policy identifies 17 state interests to be integrated into local government planning schemes. When a local planning scheme has not yet been updated to incorporate the SPP state interest, the Council will assess a development application using the benchmarks in the SPP. 
  • Regional plans recognise that Queensland is made up of widely different climatic and demographic regions. Once approved by the Planning Minister each Regional Plan must be taken into account when a local government in the region prepares or amends its planning scheme.

Further resources may be found on the Queensland Government website: http://planning/ 

The Planning Place has sucessfully obtained approval for a number of development applications throughout South East Queensland under the new Planning Act 2016. Please feel free to contact our office for more information on (07) 3257 7833. 


This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be reflected upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive.  

Request Quote

Take the first step to getting your plan approved

Ian Adams
Principal Planner

Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning Graduate Diploma of Management