Last updated 8 February 2023

Large property developers will typically engage town planning consultants and lawyers specialising in planning law to lodge development applications on their behalf. The following explanation is aimed at small developers who wish to understand the basic process for lodging a development application.

The Queensland’s Planning System website also provides useful resources, and an online summary of Five steps for making good project applications provides some useful, practical advice too.

Pre-lodgement meetings

While not a legal requirement, arranging a pre-lodgement meeting with the planning staff of the local government is very common. It is a useful way of ironing out any concerns that the council may have regarding the development application and ensuring that all of the information required by council is included.   

Lodging a properly made application

If a proposed development is an assessable development, then a properly made application must be made to the relevant assessment manager in accordance with the Development Assessment Rules. It must be in the approved form and accompanied by the relevant application fee.

The applicant must also give a copy of the development application to any referral agency (s 54 Planning Act).

Advertising requirements

Code assessable development generally does not require public notification, but impact-assessable development is required to be notified in accordance with the Development Assessment Rules by:

  • publishing at least one notice in a local newspaper where the development is proposed
  • placing a notice on the land in the way prescribed under the Development Assessment Rules
  • giving a notice to the owners of all land adjoining the land.

An example of a notice placed on the land is shown in the following image (Click image for larger view):

example of a notice placed on the land for a proposed development

Notices on land must remain in place for at least 15 business days for normal applications (not including any business days from 20 December to 5 January) (s 53 Planning Act).

Amongst other things, the public notices must outline the nature of the proposal, where the application can be viewed and the date by which submissions must be made.

At present, there is no central website where development applications are notified but a local government may notify impact assessable applications on their website.

Information request

The assessment manager and any referral agency may request further information about the proposed development and its likely impacts. This procedure applies to both impact and code assessable development.

The decision notice

The decision stage commences once any notification period has ended, and the assessment manager has received the response to any information request and the response of any referral agency. At this stage, the assessment manager decides whether or not to approve the development application and what conditions to impose (if any). The assessment manager must issue a decision notice within five business days of their decision in accordance with the Development Assessment Rules.