Development Assessment and Application Process

Planning Act

In Queensland, Planning Act 2016  establishes the statewide legislative framework and overarching policy for land use planning and development assessment.

The Planning Act commenced on 3 July 2017 and replaced the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

To find out more information about the Planning Act 2016 and the Queensland planning framework visit:

Development Assessment Process

The general Development Assessment Process as established by the Planning Act and the Development Assessment Rules are set out in the below flowchart. It is noted that not all parts of this flowchart will apply to every application. 


The parts of the development assessment process are as follows:

  • Pre-application: is not mandatory but allows applicants to meet with the assessment manager (Council) and any referral agency to gauge their views on the application and improve it.
  • Application: involves lodging an application that meets the requirements for it to be ‘properly made’ and, commence the development application process.
  • Information request: provides a formal opportunity for the assessment manager (Council) and any referral agency to request further information about the application or its impacts.
  • Referral: if an application triggers referral to a referral agency, this part allows for the referral to occur, for the application to be assessed by the referral agency and for its response to be given.
  • Public notification: if an application requires impact assessment, it must be publicly notified in accordance with the Development Assessment Rules. Any person can make a submission during the notification period.
  • Decision: after all other parts have been completed, the assessment manager makes its decision on the application and what conditions to impose on any approval.
  • Appeal: after the application has been decided, an applicant who is dissatisfied with a decision may appeal it to the Planning and Environment Court. Submitters who made a properly made submission can also appeal against decisions involving impact assessment.
Development Applications Explained

Types of Development

Material change of use

A material change of use is:

  • starting a new use for a premises
  • re-establishing a use that was abandoned
  • increasing the intensity or scale of the use of the premises.

Examples include: converting an office in to a medical centre, building a child care centre, constructing a dwelling house or units, expanding an industrial premises.

Reconfiguring a lot

Reconfiguring a lot is subdividing or combining lots, rearranging boundaries, dividing lots by agreement or creating an access easement.

Examples include: Subdividing one lot into multiple lots, dividing land into parts by agreement (i.e. a lease over 10 years), re-aligning the boundary of a lot and creating or changing and easement giving access to a lot.

Operational work

Operational works means work in, on, over or under premises that naturally affects premises or the use of the premises.

Examples include earthworks (i,e. filling of excavation), vegetation clearing, erecting a sign. Operational work does not include, amongst other things, building work, drainage work or plumbing work.

Building work

Constructing a new building or structure or extending an existing building or structure.

Examples include building a new building or structure (i.e house, shed, garage), 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:

  • Development permit, which approves the proposed development and authorises the development to be carried out.
  • Preliminary approval, which approves the proposed development, but does not authorise the development to be carried out.
  • Variation request, which seeks to vary the effect of any local planning instrument in effect of the premises.
  • Combination of a development permit and a preliminary approval.

Categories of Development and Assessment

The Isaac Regional Planning Scheme identifies that different types of projects require different types of approvals which is typically determined based on location, level or risk and community expectation.

The Isaac Regional Planning Scheme allows some projects to be accepted development, meaning that they do not require any town planning approval, while others are accepted development, subject to requirements, meaning they do not require approval if they meet certain criteria. Other types of projects need a development approval. Certain types of development are simply not allowed, and you cannot lodge an application for these projects. Council will not assess these applications and refers to these projects as prohibited development.

The categories of development and assessment prescribed under the Planning Scheme are detailed below:

Accepted development

Where development is identified as accepted development, a development application is not required and there is no need to comply with Codes or other requirements of the Isaac Regional Planning Scheme.

Accepted subject to requirements

Certain types of projects do not need a development application but must comply with Council's rules and applicable Codes. These projects are referred to as accepted development, subject to requirements. An example of a type of development that could fall within this category is a Home based business.

Note If a development that is accepted subject to requirements does not comply with all acceptable outcomes, the development will typically require a code assessable application.

Code assessable development

Under the Isaac Regional Planning Scheme a Code assessable development application is expected development. It does not require public notification.

When undertaking development identified as requiring code assessment under Planning Scheme, you need to:

  • submit a development application to Isaac Regional Council, and
  • have it approved before starting any activity or development.

A Code assessable application is assessed against all the applicable codes identified in Isaac Regional Planning Scheme as assessment benchmarks.

Impact Assessable

Impact assessment is generally required by Isaac Regional Planning Scheme where there is a need to consider the potential impacts of a particular proposal.

When undertaking development requiring impact assessment, you will need to:

  • submit a development application to Isaac Regional Council, and
  • undertake public notification prior to Council making a decision.
  • have it approved before starting any activity or development.

Making a properly made application

To make a 'properly made application', your development application must satisfy the requirements set out in the Planning Act 2016. Specifically, applications must include:

The correct application form/s





DA Form 1: Development Application Details

DA form 1 must be used to make a development application involving:

  • code assessment, or
  • impact assessment.

Except when applying for development involving building work, refer to DA form 2.

Find this form on the State Government website here


DA form 2 Building Works Details

DA form 2 must be used to make a development application involving building work.

When applying for development involving building work only, use this form (DA form 2) only.

For a development application involving building work associated with any other type of assessable development, use:

  • DA form 1, and
  • Parts 4 to 6 of DA form 2.

Find this form on the State Government website here


Change application form Planning Act Form 5

Use the Planning Act form 5 to request to change a development approval under section 78 of the Planning Act 2016.

It is important when making a change application to be aware of whether the application is for:

  • a minor change that will be assessed under section 81 of the Planning Act 2016, or
  • an 'other' change that will be assessed under section 82 of the Planning Act 2016.

Find this form on the State Government website here hyper link


Application Fees

Development application fees for the financial year are decided by Council as part of adopted Fees and Charges Schedule for the whole of Council. 

View the current Fees and Charges Schedule