Application assessment

Customers can lodge new development and operational works applications under the MBRC Planning Scheme online via our DA lodgement portal, over the counter at our various Customer Service Centres or by mail. Email applications are no longer accepted.

A development application is made under the Planning Act 2016 to carry out development, i.e. residential, commercial, industrial or community development. 

Development is defined in Schedule 2 of the Act as carrying out:

  • operational works - activities that alter the shape or form of land, i.e. civil works for new subdivision, filling or excavating, vegetation clearing, advertising devices
  • building work - i.e. building, repairing, altering, underpinning, moving or demolishing a building or other structure
  • plumbing or drainage works
  • reconfiguring a lot
  • material change of use of premises.

Queensland's Planning System provided by the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP) provides guidelines to assist in making development applications and information. 

Application process

When an application is lodged with Council, it follows the development assessment system; a process that consists of 5 parts:

  1. Application
  2. Information request
  3. Referral
  4. Public notification
  5. Decision

Each of these stages may be separated into distinct steps. Visit the Queensland Planning System website for more information.

Properly made applications

Pre-lodgement meetings

Pre-lodgement meetings provide applicants the opportunity to raise queries, seek clarification on proposals and for council officers to give advice and identify relevant matters for consideration. 

Properly made applications

Section 51 of the Planning Act 2016 sets the following mandatory criteria that all applications must satisfy in order to be deemed "properly made". The application must:

  • be made to Moreton Bay Regional Council
  • be in the approved form (use the correct Development assessment forms downloaded from Queensland's Planning System portal)
  • be accompanied by all mandatory supporting information (i.e. applicable plans and reports)
  • be accompanied by the appropriate fee (set by Moreton Bay Regional Council)
  • be accompanied by the consent of all owners of the land
  • where relevant, evidence is provided of an allocation or entitlement to take or interfere with a State Resource
  • not be contrary to the regulatory provisions of the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017

Not properly made notice

The DA Rules state that if an application is considered not "properly made", the assessment manager must give the applicant an action notice stating the following:

  • the application is not a properly made application
  • the reasons why the application is not properly made
  • the actions required to ensure the application will comply with Section 51 of the Act
  • the period in which to comply with all actions in the action notice. 

Expert help

Council aims to assist you through the process, however legal requirements and Council's planning rules can be difficult to understand. It may therefore be prudent to seek expert help from professions such as architects and building designers, certifiers and surveyors, engineers, landscape architects, plumbers, solicitors and town planners. 

Before engaging an expert to work on your project:

  • make sure they provide the service you need
  • check they are properly registered and insured
  • obtain several quotes
  • ask for details of projects they have previously worked on. 

Avoiding delays

Reduce delays in assessing your development application by addressing some common problems.

Insufficient information

Some common problems can be avoided by:

  • fulfilling the "properly made" requirements detailed on the development assessment forms
  • providing legible-sized plans and complete details of information
  • providing supporting information, including addressing the requirements of the assessment benchmarks
  • ensuring reports and plans do not contain conflicting information
  • providing adequate and sufficient information. 

Council's pre-lodgement advice service can assist in this regard. 

Poor quality plans

Plans submitted as part of an application should be prepared by a qualified design consultant and are required to be fully legible at A3 size.

They are to be fully dimensioned and show heights and setbacks from boundaries. Include all details required by the relevant Development assessment forms, such as:

  • site plans showing all boundaries, natural features and proposed development (including location and use of buildings on both the proposed land and adjoining land, the location of car parks and areas to be landscaped)
  • all elevations (north, south, east and west) with natural ground levels (on Australian height datum where the property is affected by flooding) and relative finished levels
  • floor plans for each level of the development, showing both the existing and proposed development along with existing and proposed gross floor area calculations
  • for subdivision - a proposed plan of subdivision showing all:
    • existing and proposed allotments, including the intended use of all proposed lots
    • existing and new roads, easements, parks, waterway corridors
    • other environmental considerations.

Unacceptable impacts

Applications should show evidence of minimising possible hazards and impacts created by the development. Impacts could include:

  • loss of protected vegetation
  • inability to adequately cater for water flow, stormwater discharge and/or waste management
  • poor quality designs that result in unacceptable impacts, such as noise or reduced access to sunlight
  • inadequate car parking.


As Impact assessable developments are required to undergo Public Notification, consider discussing your proposed development with your neighbours and other potentially impacted parties prior to lodging your application to inform people of your intentions and to consider their concerns prior to lodgement. Your application may benefit from letters of support from immediate neighbours. 

External referrals

As referral agencies, such as Department of Resources or Department of Transport and Main Roads, need time to assess an application, contact them early to find out their requirements prior to lodgement. 

Owners consent

Development applications lodged with Council must contain sufficient owner's consent details to be deemed "properly made" under Section 51 of the Planning Act 2016

Owner type Explanation and examples
Property ownership

If there are multiple owners of a single lot, the consent of each owner of the lot is required, for example:

  • if 3 persons owner one lot, a signature is required from each of the 3 owners
  • if an application is over a number of different lots, consent from the owners of each lot is required.
Ownership held by a Trust If the land is held under a trust agreement, a copy of the trust documents to be provided clearly identifying who is permitted to sign on behalf of the trust.
Corporation or company

If the property is owned by a corporation or company, the ACN/ABN number is required to be accompanied with one of the below:  

  • names, titles and signatures of two directors of the company
  • the name, title and signature of a director and the company secretary
  • where the company has only one director, the name and signature of that director with a written statement that the company has a sole director
Body corporate

If the owner is a body corporate, the following are required:

  1. body corporate seal
  2. body corporate resolution consenting to the proposal (i.e. minutes of meeting where proposal was adopted)
  3. two signatures - one must be the Chairperson


  1. body corporate seal
  2. letter of consent signed by the Chairperson and Secretary


signed letter of consent from each owner covered by the body corporate

Resource entitlement

Obtain evidence of resource entitlement from the Department of Resources (DNRME) to be included with development applications over some State land, e.g.

  • strategic port land
  • land that is a road (other than a State-controlled road) or stock route
  • land subject to a lease where DNRME administers the land on behalf of the State as a lessee/trustee of the land.

If the proposed development is for a structure (i.e. a jetty, pontoon or boat ramp) for residential use adjoining private land outside of a canal, and not within a declared fish habitat area, owner's consent is required from Department of Environment and Science

Owner's consent is not required for development applications for works within a canal as defined under the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995

If your application is partly or wholly within a declared fish habitat area under the Fisheries Act 1994, or if the proposed development is for a material change of use on state land for quarry material administered under the Forestry Act 1959, contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Other ownership arrangements

If the land is:

  • leased - the lessor of the land must give owner's consent
  • dedicated parkland - the owner or the trustee, within the terms of the trust or reserve, must give owners consent.


Conditions set out the circumstances under which the approved development may proceed. They are included on every development approval and form part of the approval package.

Conditions often set out measures to protect or manage the environment and maintain amenity. They will also include the provision of infrastructure to ensure the proposed development is adequately serviced. 

Conditions are an integral part of an approval and it is an offence under the Act to:

  • breach a development condition
  • not comply with a development condition. 

The conditions of a development approval bind each and every individual and company who undertake any work under that development approval. The approval and conditions are also binding on the land, regardless of change in ownership. 

The Planning Act 2016 provides the opportunity for an applicant to negotiate conditions of a development approval after the decision notice has been received. 

Negotiated decisions and Appeals


There are two forms of appeal for development applications:

  • applicant appeals - regarding decisions made about development applications
  • submitter appeals - regarding decisions made by Moreton Bay Regional Council for impact assessable applications. 

Council advises applicants and submitters in writing when their appeal period begins and ends. All appeals must be lodged with the Planning and Environment Court

Applicant appeals

An applicant can only appeal against a decision by Council within 20 business days after they have been advised of Council's decision about the development application.

The applicant may suspend the appeal period and make a change representation with Council.

The change representation request must be lodged within 20 business days of suspending the appeal period. Written representations must state what parts of the Decision Notice the applicant wishes to negotiate and why (e.g. a condition of development).

Council may amend the Decision Notice or refuse to amend the Decision Notice.

The applicant appeal period then starts again (i.e. 20 business days) to lodge an appeal with the Planning and Environment Court if they do not agree with council's Negotiated Decision Notice.

Reasons for appeal by an applicant include:

  • refusal, or refusal in part, of the development application
  • decision to give a preliminary approval when a development permit was applied for
  • length of relevant period
  • a matter stated in the development approval, including any condition or infrastructure charges notice.

Submitter appeals

A submitter can only appeal against a decision by Council within the submitter appeal period, i.e. 20 business days from receiving a copy of the Decision Notice or Negotiated Decision Notice. Refer to Application tracking for information regarding status of a development application. 

A submitter can only appeal against the part of the development approval relating to impact assessable development, or a variation approval in accordance with Section 51 of the Planning Act 2016.

Reasons for appeal by submitters can be against one or more of the following:

  • granting of a development approval
  • the length of relevant period
  • a condition of, or lack of conditions for a development approval.

To lodge an appeal, a notice of appeal form must be completed and lodged with the accompanying fee to the Planning and Environment Court. Submitters are encouraged to seek private legal advice when considering an appeal.