What is a regional plan?

    Regional plans provide a spatial representation of how a region, encompassing multiple local government areas, will grow and respond to change over the long term (20-25 years). They are statutory instruments under Queensland’s Planning Act (2016) and must be followed by local governments when they prepare their local land use planning schemes.

    What does a regional plan do?

    A regional plan sets the long-term, strategic direction for how a region will grow and respond to change over time through a statutory policy framework and spatial mapping.

    Regional plans encourage councils to coordinate and consider opportunities and solutions across their boundaries. Regional plans also help manage conflicts about what land should be used for key infrastructure, industry development, investment, housing and protecting the natural environment and culturally significant areas. They may:

    • identify regional housing needs and responses
    • identify key infrastructure and servicing needs throughout the region
    • build on the region’s competitive strength and identify new opportunities to support future investment and growth in the region
    • protect the natural environment

    What area does the Far North Queensland Regional Plan review cover?

    The Far North Queensland Regional Plan review applies to the following local government areas:

    • Cairns Regional Council
    • Cassowary Coast Regional Council
    • Cook Shire Council (partially – south east corner of Cook Shire including Cooktown and Lakeland)
    • Douglas Shire Council
    • Etheridge Shire Council
    • Mareeba Shire Council
    • Tablelands Regional Council
    • Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council
    • Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council

    Far North Queensland has a regional plan, why is it being reviewed?

    The current Far North Queensland Regional Plan was released in 2009. Since then, legislative and policy changes have occurred as well as population growth and development. The review will update the current plan to respond to these changes and be fit-for-purpose and consistent with government policy.

     The review will address and respond to the changes to the economic, social, and environmental context of the Far North Queensland region.

    What will the Far North Queensland Regional Plan seek to address?

    The review will support emerging regional economic opportunities (e.g. renewables, energy, marine, defence and aviation), respond to key regional housing needs and support growth while protecting the natural environment.

    The review will provide the policy direction for the region to sustain future growth while supporting future jobs, housing, liveability, infrastructure and the environment.

    The review will align with the Cape York Regional Plan review, Towards 2050: Shaping Cairns Growth Strategy, Cairns South State Development Area, FNQ Infrastructure Plan and the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.

    What is the purpose of the regional vision in a regional plan?

    A regional plan articulates the overarching vision for a region and high-level principles. The purpose of the vision is to clarify what is most important for the future of the region.

    What is the process for consultation for the FNQ Regional Plan?

    The department is undertaking engagement with local government, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities, peak bodies, interest groups and the community.

    An engagement strategy has been developed and reviewed by key stakeholders. It will support meaningful engagement and help inform the drafting of the new Far North Queensland Regional Plan. Early consultation will inform the technical work of the draft Far North Queensland Regional Plan, leading into statutory public consultation.

    A draft Far North Queensland Regional Plan will be published at the beginning of the statutory consultation period which is likely to commence in early 2024. This will allow community to share their thoughts, provide key insights, and offer feedback ahead of finalising the plan.

    How can I have my say during the FNQ Regional Plan review?