Development control plans

    What is a development control plan (DCP)?

    Development control plans were a key planning tool under the repealed Integrated Planning Act 1997. They were used to coordinate state and local planning for larger planned areas, beyond suburbs or neighbourhoods, before the current, modernised planning framework existed. Although their function is now contemplated by the current planning framework, DCPs remain in effect until such time as development and infrastructure provision in those areas is completed.

    Where do development control plans apply?

    There are three development control plans in operation within the existing planning framework. These are embedded in local planning schemes and only apply in certain areas of the relevant local governments. The three plans are the:

    • Mango Hill DCP - incorporated within the Moreton Bay Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016 in Moreton Bay Regional Council. The Mango Hill DCP applies to the Mango Hill area
    • Springfield Structure Plan (SSP) - incorporated within the Ipswich Planning Scheme 2006 in Ipswich City Council. The SPP applies to the Springfield Central, Springfield Lakes, Brookwater and Augustine Heights area
    • Kawana Waters DCP – incorporated within the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014 in Sunshine Coast Regional Council. The Kawana Waters DCP applies to the Birtinya and Parrearra area.

    What are the proposed changes?

    Amendments are proposed to improve the operation of and clarity around development in DCP areas, including:

    • confirming the validity of previous development approvals given in DCP areas to ensure their continued lawful operation in response to a judgement of the Planning and Environment Court
    • identifying the modernised assessment and decision framework under the Planning Act will apply to development in DCP areas instead of the system created under the repealed Integrated Planning Act 1997. This will align the assessment of development in DCP areas with the current processes and practices applicants, assessing authorities and industry stakeholders are familiar with
    • considering development that would potentially affect a state interest, as identified in the Planning Regulation 2017, at the most advantageous time in the assessment process. This will allow the state to ensure consistency in balancing state interests within the DCP area.

    Will the proposed amendments remove development control plans?

    • The proposed amendments will not remove DCPs or the plan framework established by each respective DCP for the land it affects. 
    • Existing land use considerations already in place within each DCP will not be affected by the proposed change. This includes requirements or designations of land for open space. 

    How will the operation of the DCPs change? Will retrospective approvals be granted?

    •  The amendments are intended to confirm that development approvals previously granted in the DCP areas are valid. They do not retrospectively approve new development or change conditions attached to existing approvals. 
    • It is intended that future applications for development on land in a DCP area will be made, assessed and decided under the modernised assessment framework of the Planning Act 2016, which includes robust community consultation requirements. 
    • Any potential changes to the existing requirement to refer qualifying development to the State for referral assessment would not change the existing obligations for development to meet relevant assessment benchmarks. It will change the timing of the referral to make the assessment process more efficient.

Urban encroachment

    How does a registration protect a registered premises or business from increasing urban development in the surrounding area?

    An urban encroachment registration protects a lawfully operating premises by providing statutory immunity from civil and or criminal proceedings in connection with impact complaints from new and encroaching development within the ‘affected area’, where the premises is operating within its environmental license conditions and conditions of development approval. 

    A registration does not restrict development and encroachment from occurring, instead provides additional protection to state significant industries and businesses at risk of encroachment of their lawful operation. 

    What land is included within the affected area of a registered premises?

    The affected area identifies surrounding land in proximity to a registered premises, where a change to densities or development potential may encroach on the lawful operation of registered premises and increase the likelihood of civil and/or criminal proceedings in connection with complaints. The affected area is nominated by the applicant through the application process.

    What is the effect of a registration on property owners and occupiers within the affected area?

    Property owners and occupiers within a registered affected area may not take civil or criminal proceedings in connection with impact complaints against the registered premises. This restriction does not prevent property owners and occupiers from lodging a complaint with the relevant authority (either local or state governments) and have this complaint investigated. However, should the registered premises be operating outside their approved conditions and limits, they are no longer afforded the immunity from legal proceedings.

    Does a registration give the registered business land use rights?

    No. The registration does not infer land use rights, these matters are assessed and approved through the development approval process.

    Are environmental impacts of a premises regulated through the urban encroachment registration

    No. The registration does not assess, approve or monitor the environmental impacts or limits (noise, dust, aerosols, fumes, light, or smoke) of a premises. These matters are addressed through a development approval and/or environmental authority.

    Do the proposed changes approve an expansion to the use or change in impact levels?

    No. The urban encroachment provisions do not assess or approve environmental impacts (noise, dust, aerosols, fumes, light, or smoke) of an expansion or change to a premises. These matters are assessed as part of development and environmental approval processes.

    Who can amend a registration under the proposed changes?

    Currently, only the Planning Minister may, after considering any representations from the owner of the registered premises, decide to amend the conditions of an urban encroachment registration.

    The proposed changes will introduce a process that allows the owner of the registered premises to apply to the Planning Minister to change the ‘affected area’ within an existing urban encroachment registration. For example, the owner of a premises may wish to modify or expand the affected area in the case the development intent of the surrounding area changes through a planning scheme amendment or development proposal. A change to registration application will be assessed and decided by the Planning Minister.

    What are the appeal rights for a registration or renewal?

    The Planning Act provides for the Planning Minister’s decision to register or renew the registration of a premises to be appealed by: (1) a person given a decision notice about the decision; and (2) an owner or occupier of premises in the affected area for the registered premises who is dissatisfied with the decision.

    The proposed changes will see this right to appeal extend to the Planning Minister’s decision on a change to registration application.

    What are the considerations for assessing an urban encroachment registration application?

    In making a decision, the Planning Minister: 

    • must be satisfied that the level of emissions from the premises complies with any relevant development approvals and environmental authority applying to the activity 
    • must assess the application: 
      • against whether the activity carried out on the premises is significant to the economy, heritage or infrastructure of the state, a region or the locality in which the mapped area is situated 
      • against whether the activity carried out on the premises is consistent with the nature of development proposed under a local categorising instrument and relevant regional plan for the mapped area 
      • having regard to the outcomes of public consultation. 

    After deciding an application, the Planning Minister must provide a decision notice to the applicant and notice to each local government in whose local government area the affected area for the registered premises is situated. As soon as possible after receiving the notice, the local government must note the registration within their plan.