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Owner's consent for development on land under tidal water

Land under tidal water (tidal land) is land lying below the high-water mark (HWM), which is referenced as the level of the mean high water at spring tide (MHWS) or mean highest high water (MHH) within the sea or the waters of any harbour, including any navigable river and any tidal waterway.

Information on tidal levels is available on the Maritime Safety Queensland website.

Development undertaken in, on or over tidal land (tidal works) generally requires a development approval for tidal works under the Planning Act 2016 (Planning Act). However, it may also require other approvals, e.g. an authorisation under the Land Act 1994 to occupy and use State owned or managed land.

Tidal works are regulated and assessed under the Planning Act as a type of operational work. Tidal works generally include the construction or demolition of structures such as jetties, pontoons, seawalls, navigation channels, marina basins and the like. For a precise definition, refer to the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995 (Coastal Act).

Tidal works being undertaken partly or wholly within a local government tidal area are 'prescribed tidal works'. Applications for prescribed tidal works are assessed against the Planning Act, however the relevant local government is usually the assessment manager for the application under the development assessment process. To find out more about prescribed tidal works, refer to: Prescribed tidal work - Assessed by local government.

Owner's consent

Under the Planning Act, owner's consent is required to support an application for work on land below HWM and outside a canal as defined within the Coastal Act. The tenure of land below HWM is generally unallocated State land, controlled on behalf of the State by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (NRM). However, it may be another tenure such as freehold or leasehold land. If owner's consent is not provided by the correct person or entity, the application will not be valid.

Owner's consent for applications for tidal works and prescribed tidal works on State land can be given on behalf of the State of Queensland by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), NRM or, Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DILGP). For more information on owner's consent for tidal works applications, refer to the DILGP guideline: Development assessment—owner's consent (PDF). Read further information on owners consent.

EHP provides owner's consent for tidal works outside a canal or fish habitat area for a private structure that gives marine access for non-commercial purposes such as a private jetty, pontoon, boat ramp, or mooring pile. owner’s consent application form (Word, 125K)‡ (Word, 106K)*.  An application for owner's consent may also require the preparation of a Water Allocation area (PDF, 450K) which identifies the area of State land which may be used for certain tidal works .

Provision of owner's consent does not:

  • imply endorsement or approval of the proposed development
  • affect other functions exercised by the entity giving owner's consent
  • authorise a right to occupy or use the state land under tidal water.

EHP also assesses applications for an allocation of quarry material in tidal water. This confers a right to the resource (a form of owners consent) but does not authorise the actual extraction of the material. Further information is available on quarry material allocation (PDF, 254K).

* Requires Microsoft Office files viewer

Last updated
3 May 2016