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Coastal development

Development within the coastal zone is regulated under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA). The Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS) of the SPA provides the statutory process for development applications to be made, assessed and decided. The State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) delivers a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to the State’s assessment of development applications. SARA means that the chief executive of SPA, the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DILGP) Director-General, is the assessment manager or referral agency for development application where the State has a jurisdiction.

Certain coastal development (tidal work or development in the coastal management district) is assessed by DILGP against the State Development Assessment Provisions—Module 10: Coastal Protection.

The State Planning Policy (SPP)—directs land use planning at the local and regional scale in the coastal zone, including the coastal management district. The SPP includes the state's coastal interest planning and development policies.

Further information about the SPP is available from the DILGP website.

The State Development Assessment Provisions (SDAP) are used for development assessment by State government when acting as either an assessment manager or a referral agency for a development application. The SDAP is prescribed in the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 (SP Regulation) along with the Queensland Government’s referral jurisdiction.

Module 10: Coastal Protection (PDF) of the SDAP (Part C) provides a state code specifically for tidal works or development in a coastal management district.

The SP Regulation (Schedule 3) establishes the types of assessable coastal development. Refer to the department’s series of guidelines for coastal development types made assessable under the regulations.

Development within the coastal zone is regulated to enhance the resilience of coastal communities to coastal hazards and to avoid immediate or future impacts on coastal resources. Inappropriate development can lead to costly and often undesirable property protection works, such as seawalls. This work often damages beaches and causes an adverse impact on the ecological, recreational and scenic values of public land.

It should be noted that applications for the allocation of quarry material from sub-tidal land is a State natural resource matter and not administered under IDAS. Such applications are made to, and decided by, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection under the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995. Refer to the Guideline: Dredging and allocation of quarry material (PDF, 249K) for further information.

An application for development below high water mark must include land owner’s consent. For development on land below high water mark, the state is often the relevant land owner or land manager from which to obtain owner’s consent. For further information on how to obtain owner’s consent to support an application for coastal development on state owned or managed land, refer to the Guideline: Owner’s consent for assessable coastal development (PDF, 260K).

DILGP acts as assessment manager or referral agency for development applications within the coastal management district. The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is a technical agency and may be asked to provide advice to the applicant or DILGP about coastal development proposals.

Development defined as prescribed tidal works is also assessed against the Prescribed Tidal Works Code. Prescribed tidal works are generally tidal works undertaken in a tidal area for a local government. Schedule 4A of the Coastal Protection and Management Regulations 2003 contains the Prescribed Tidal Works Code. A tidal area for a local government is defined in Schedule 3 of the SPA.

Background information

Development rights

Existing development rights on land can be increased through subdividing (reconfiguring a lot) or rezoning (material change of use). Development proponents seeking to increase their development rights in the coastal zone or construct building works in certain coastal areas must demonstrate how their proposals will not adversely impact on coastal resources.

For specific information on each activity, access the links below:

For more specific information on reconfiguring a lot, or a material change of use; contact DILGP.

Assessing coastal development

Development approvals

Related information

Last updated
11 February 2016