What is the Regional Planning Act 2014

    The Regional Planning Interests Act 2014 (RPI Act) identifies areas of regional interest throughout Queensland. It aims to manage the impact of resource activities and regulated activities on those identified areas of the State that contribute, or are likely to contribute, to Queensland’s economic, social and environmental prosperity. It also provides the framework which is applied to Queensland’s regional plans.

    What does the Regional Planning Act 2014 do?

    The purpose of the RPI Act includes to:

    • manage the impact of resource and regulated activities on areas of regional interest, being a priority agricultural area (PAA), the strategic cropping area (SCA), a strategic environmental area (SEA) and a priority living area (PLA)
    • manage the coexistence of resource activities, such as coal seam gas, and regulated activities such as dams, on other activities, e.g. agriculture.

    Why does the RPI Act need to be updated?

    A 2019/20 Queensland Audit Office report on managing coal seam gas activities found stakeholders had concerns with the complexity of Queensland’s planning framework and questions on whether the RPI Act was effectively managing coexistence between resource activities and agricultural interests. 

    A subsequent review by the Queensland GasFields Commission (the Commission) in 2021 identified a number of improvements that could be made to regulatory processes, particularly around current exemption provisions and reporting requirements. The proposed changes directly respond to recommendations of the Commission and aim to provide improved consistency and transparency.

    What are the changes being made?

    The proposed changes to the RPI Act have been prepared to directly implement the Government-supported recommendations of the Commission’s 2021 review of the assessment processes under the RPI Act. The improvements are intended to promote a more consistent and transparent framework under the RPI Act and include:

    • introducing eligibility criteria to replace the current exemption that applies in cases where there is land owner approval (RPI Act, section 22)
    • introducing a new notification framework for activities using certain exemptions (requirement to notify land owner and adjoining land owners prior to undertaking the activity and provide a declaration to the State that the consultation has occurred)
    • introducing a requirement for the authority holder to provide information on a public facing register of activities utilising an exemption (a register of exemption)
    • introducing basic compliance and enforcement provisions to support the above new provisions and measures for a more effective and practical compliance framework
    • expanding the requirements for notification of regional interest development approval (RIDA) applications to include affected land owners (such as adjoining land owners)
    • establishing a single point in the RIDA application process at which the land owner is notified of the application
    • providing greater clarity on the application of the s24 exemption where there is a pre-existing activity.

    Why are they only being made now, 18 months later?

    The timing of consulting on the RPI Act amendments has been aligned with consultation on a CSG-induced subsidence management framework, acknowledging many stakeholders have interests across a number of coexistence matters.

    Will the compliance and enforcement provisions provide greater ability for the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DSDILGP) to investigate complaints regarding exemptions?

    This is the intention of the proposed amendments to the compliance and enforcement framework. In the absence of a fully detailed approach, DSDILGP is seeking feedback from stakeholders on potential amendments to the framework and what may be required.

    What other recommendations by the GasFields Commission Queensland (the Commission) have been actioned?

    Recommendations 1-3 are proposed to be addressed via the proposed amendments to the RPI Act in the discussion paper.

    Recommendation 4 was to review regionals plans that relate to priority agriculture areas or strategic cropping areas under the RPI Act to clearly articulate the specific risks associated with those regional areas. This recommendation is being implemented through the current review of all regional plans that are over five years old.

    Based on the outcomes of this consultation process and the proposed amendments, the department will publish updated RPI Act guidance for land owners (recommendation 5).

    The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) are currently leading a review of agricultural land use classifications (recommendation 6).

    Regarding recommendation 7 (review of processes to allow for earlier lodgement of RIDA applications), the department is still considering options. However, it is noted that the RPI Act does not restrict a point in the application process where a RIDA application can be lodged and the level of specific information sought under a planning assessment also provides for greater transparency and certainty for interested parties.

    What is the public consultation process for the RPI Act?

    To enable the community, business and industry to have their say, the proposed amendments to the RPI Act 2014 are open for public consultation from 27 September 2023 to 8 December 2023.

    All comments and feedback will be considered in informing a final Bill. 

    These amendments form part of a broader joint consultation process with the Department of Resources and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on the government’s response to key coexistence related initiatives. 

    Alongside the RPI Act discussion paper, the Department of Resources are releasing a Consultation Paper outlining proposed amendments to the State’s coexistence framework to implement a management framework for coal seam gas-induced subsidence (CSG-induced subsidence), as well as changes to the State’s coexistence institutions. 

    To provide feedback or to view the Department of Resources Consultation Paper, visit 

    Your comments, including any personal information you provide in connection with your comment, may be disclosed by DSDILGP to other Queensland Government stakeholder agencies. Your personal information will otherwise be dealt with in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld).

    How can I have my say about the proposed RPI Act changes?

    Community members are invited to have their say on the proposed RPI  Act  amendments during the consultation period, which runs from 27 Sept 2023 until 8 December 2023. You can have your say by:

    What input will the community have into the proposed changes?

    All comments and feedback received during the consultation period, including input from the public consultation on the subsidence management framework, will be considered in informing and shaping the final Bill.