Secondary dwelling review

Project update

Council has progressed the secondary dwelling review and will be implementing a response to some of the initial findings. 

On 23 September 2022 the State government announced changes to the secondary dwelling (and other associated housing) definitions within legislation (the Planning Regulation 2017). These override the definitions in the MBRC planning scheme, but do not change the current requirements in the planning scheme that they are required to be assessed against.

The changes remove the requirements for occupants of a secondary dwelling to be related to the occupants of the primary dwelling. This means that some existing secondary dwellings, and all future secondary dwellings, may now be privately rented. 

A secondary dwelling will still need to be used in conjunction with but be subordinate to the primary dwelling house. These types of uses are intended to be smaller dwellings (limited in scale by the current MBRC planning scheme).

Further information on the recent changes made by the State government to the housing definitions, and the purpose of those changes, can be found on the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning's website.

More information on the secondary dwelling review process undertaken to date is provided below and Council can be contacted by email at or by telephone on (07) 3205 0555 or 1300 477 161.

Secondary dwelling review - initial findings

There have been changes to the secondary dwelling definition set by the Queensland Government in the Planning Regulation 2017.

Council recognises that there has been confusion and uncertainty associated with this form of development to date. 

Council has prepared a secondary dwelling information sheet to provide guidance in relation to the secondary dwelling definition and to assist in improving understanding of this type of development. 

View the Secondary dwelling information sheet(PDF, 135KB) 

In addition to this, Council has recently taken steps to investigate identified design issues and adverse amenity impacts that have arisen from secondary dwelling development in the region. This will involve a review of current planning scheme requirements and consideration of alternative options.

On 8 December 2021 Council resolved to amend the MBRC planning scheme 2016 for Major Amendment No 3 - the Better Housing amendment, designed to support better housing in the region and improve liveability for current and future residents. This is intended to address secondary dwelling development outcomes. For updates refer to Major Amendment No.3 - the Better Housing amendment on Your Say Moreton Bay.

A Housing Study is also being undertaken in order to better understand the current and long term housing needs of the region. This is important to address housing choice, diversity and the delivery of affordable housing solutions.

To find out more you can contact Council officers by email at or by telephone on (07) 3205 0555 or 1300 477 161.


Secondary dwellings are provided for in the residential, township, rural and rural residential areas of the MBRC Planning Scheme.

Amendments to planning provisions for secondary dwellings were made as part of Tailored Amendment No. 1 to the MBRC Planning Scheme, commencing on 29 January 2020. Through consultation on the Tailored Amendment No. 1, there were several public submissions relating to secondary dwellings received.

The issues raised in these submissions included who should be able to occupy the secondary dwelling, the size of the secondary dwelling and built coverage of land accommodating this type of development, car parking and streetscape and design matters.

In response to the issues raised in public submissions, on 29 October 2019 Council resolved:

“That in response to the community feedback received during this amendment process, Council will undertake the following further bodies of work, noting the outcomes of this work may inform future amendments to the Planning Scheme:

a) a review of secondary dwellings and the outcomes being achieved; and
b) a review of the Next Generation neighbourhood precinct and the outcomes being achieved.”

Note: A review of the Next Generation neighbourhood precinct also commenced as a separate project.


The purpose of the review is to:

  • analyse current development and design outcomes
  • understand the perceived issues and concerns of the present planning framework
  • determine whether the present planning framework is delivering Council’s desired design and built form outcomes.


The review has been undertaken in the following stages:

Stage 1

Information gathering

Stage 2

Define the issue

Stage 3

Explore options

Stage 4

Findings and recommendations

The review has used the extensive feedback received from the community and industry in 2019 as part of Tailored Amendment No. 1 to the MBRC Planning Scheme.

Initial findings and recommendations of the review were presented back to Council throughout 2021 and early 2022.