Development applications

Customers are able to lodge initial (new) development applications and operational works applications under the Moreton Bay Regional Council Planning Scheme over the counter at our various Customer Service Centres, by mail or via our eServices Electronic Development Application Lodgement portal.

A development application is an application made under the Planning Act 2016 to carry out development (ie. residential, commercial, industrial, community development).

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

  • Operational work (Operational works - activities that alter the shape or form of land, ie. civil works for new subdivision, filling or excavating, vegetation clearing, advertising devices)
  • Building work (Building works - i.e. building, repairing, altering, underpinning, moving or demolishing a building or other structure)
  • Plumbing or drainage works (Plumbing applications)
  • Reconfiguring a lot
  • Making a material change of use of premises

The Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP) provides a number of guidelines to assist in the making of development applications and information on Queensland’s Planning System.

Development Assessment System

When a development application is lodged with Council the process that is followed during assessment is called the Development Assessment System.

The process consists of five (5) parts:

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

Each of these stages may be separated into distinct steps. For more information about each stage, visit the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DILGP) website.

How to apply for development approval

Pre-lodgement Meetings

The pre-lodgement meeting provides the opportunity for applicants to raise queries, seek clarification on proposals and for Council Officers to provide advice and identify relevant matters for consideration.

Council offers a free pre-lodgement service for applicants to discuss a proposal prior to lodging a formal development application.

Properly made application

Section 51 of the Planning Act 2016 outlines the following mandatory criteria that an application must satisfy in order to be deemed a 'properly made' application. The application must:

  • be made to Moreton Bay Regional Council
  • be in the approved form (using the correct Development Assessment forms);
  • be accompanied by all mandatory supporting information (ie. 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.

Copies of Development Application forms can be downloaded from Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.

Development applications can be lodged with Council via mail, over the counter at any customer service centre, or via our eServices Electronic Development Application Lodgement portal.

Please do not lodge a development application with Council using more than one method as this may result in lodgement issues.

Not properly made notice

The Development Assessment Rules states that if the application is considered not 'properly made', the assessment manager must give the applicant an action notice stating:

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

Planning & Development Online

PD Online provides customers with the ability to track the progress of development applications from lodgement through to decision. This online tool enables you to search, view and print property information, mapping and the district planning schemes.

Expert help for development applications

Preparing a development application can be a complex task. Moreton Bay Regional Council aims to assist you through the process however the legal requirements and Council's planning rules can be difficult to understand. You may therefore find it useful to get expert help from professions such as Architects & Building Designers, Certifiers and Surveyors, Engineers, landscape Architects, Plumbers, Solicitors and Town Planners.

Before engaging an expert to work on your project:

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

Avoiding assessment delays

You can reduce delays when lodging your development application to Council for approval by addressing some common problems that applicants experience, such as providing insufficient information and poor quality plans.

Insufficient information

Some common pitfalls can be avoided by:

  • fulfilling the 'properly made' requirements detailed on the Development Assessment forms;
  • providing legible sized plans and complete details or information;
  • providing supporting information, including addressing the requirements of the assessment benchmarks;
  • ensuring reports and plans do not contain conflicting information;

A development application may also be delayed if information required as part of an information request is inadequate or insufficient.

Council’s pre-lodgement meeting service can assist in clarifying what information may be necessary for a specific development proposal over a particular site.

Poor quality plans

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

Plans are to be fully dimensioned and show heights and setbacks from boundaries. You should include all details required by the relevant Development Assessment forms, such as:

  • site plans showing all boundaries, natural features and proposed development (including the location and use of buildings on both the proposed land and the 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 (GFA) 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

To ensure that your proposed development does not result in unacceptable impacts on the surrounding area, your application should show evidence of minimising possible hazards and impacts created by the development.

Impacts can 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; and
  • inadequate car parking.


Impact Assessable developments are required to undertake Public Notification.

Before lodging your application with Council, you may wish to discuss your proposed development with your neighbours and other potentially impacted parties. By doing this, you:

  • inform people of your intentions; and
  • can consider any concerns your neighbours may have.

It may be of benefit to your proposal if you are able to seek letters of support from your immediate neighbours prior to lodgement.

External referrals

Referral agencies, such as the Department of Environmental Resource Management (DERM) or the Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR), need time to assess an application. If your application is required to be referred to an external agency, you may like to contact the agency to find out their requirements prior to lodgement.

Owners consent

Development applications lodged with Council that contain insufficient owner's consent details will be deemed not 'properly made' under section 51 of the Planning Act 2016.

The following requirements apply in terms of owners consent:

  • Property ownership

If there are multiple owners of a single lot, the consent of each owner of the lot is required. For example, if three persons own one lot, a signature is required from each of the three owners. Additionally, 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 should be provided clearly identifying who is permitted to sign on behalf of the trust. Only those individuals authorised by the trust documentation can sign on behalf of a trust.

  • Corporation or company

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

  • the names, titles and signatures of two directors of the company; or
  • the name, title and signature of a director and the company secretary; or
  • where the company only has 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 is required:

  • body corporate seal; and
  • body corporate resolution consenting to the proposal (ie. minutes of meeting where proposal was adopted); and
  • two signatures, one must be the Chairperson.
  • body corporate seal; and
  • a letter of consent signed by the Chairperson and Secretary.
  • a signed letter of consent from each owner covered by the body corporate.
  • Resource entitlement

Landowners are required to obtain evidence of resource entitlement from the Department of Environment & Resource Management (DERM) when submitting development applications over some State land, eg. strategic port land; land that is a road (other than a State-controlled road) or stock route; land subject to a lease where DERM administers the land on behalf of the State as the lessee/trustee of the land.

  • 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 in which the approved development may proceed. They are included on every development approval, and form part of the development approval package.

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

All conditions are required to be reasonable and relevant, having regard to the proposal and planning requirements.

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

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

  • breach a development condition; or
  • not comply with a development condition;

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

Making Change Representations (Negotiated Decisions)

The applicant has a 20 business day appeal period after they have been advised of Council’s decision about the development application. However, the applicant may suspend the appeal period to make a change representation with Council.

The request must be lodged within 20 business days of suspending the appeal period.

The written representations in the request must state what parts of the Decision Notice the applicant wishes to negotiate and why (eg. a condition of development). Council may amend the Decision Notice or refuse to amend the Decision Notice.

The applicant then has the balance of the applicant appeal period to lodge an appeal with the Planning & Environment Court if they do not agree with Council’s Negotiated Decision Notice.


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.

All appeals must be lodged with the Planning and Environment Court

Council advises applicants and submitters in writing when their appeal period begins and ends.

Applicant Appeals

An applicant can only appeal against a decision by Council within 20 business days of the start of the applicant's appeal period.

If a negotiated decision notice has been sent to the applicant, then the applicant appeal period starts again, for a further 20 business days, on the day after the negotiated decision notice is given.

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; and
  • a matter stated in the development approval, including any condition or infrastructure charges notice;

Submitter Appeals

A submitter may only appeal against a decision by Council within the submitter appeal period. This begins once the submitter receives a copy of the Decision Notice or the Negotiated Decision Notice. Refer to PD Online for further information regarding the status of a development application. A submitter appeal period is 20 business days in length.

A submitter may 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; and
  • 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.

It is recommended that an applicant or submitter seek private legal advice when considering an appeal.

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