Development application process

    Development assessment

    Queensland has an integrated development application, assessment and decision-making system. Local governments are usually the development assessment manager. However, where state interests are affected, the Planning Regulation 2017 may require that certain development applications be referred to the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA). If referred to SARA, development applications will be assessed against the State Development Assessment Provisions (SDAP).

    SARA is the first and only point of contact for development applications where the state has a jurisdiction under the Planning Act 2016.

    Guidelines supporting State Planning Assessment Provisions (SDAP v3.0)

    Guidelines supporting SDAP v2.6

    Pre-lodgement meetings

    If your application requires state development assessment under the Planning Regulation 2017, you can request a pre-lodgement meeting with the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DSDILGP). For information on how to organise a pre-lodgement meeting with SARA, please contact your local DSDILGP regional office.

    The Department of Environment and Science (DES) also offers pre-lodgement meetings if you are seeking direction and advice regarding applications for licenses and permits that relate to development but are not being assessed under the Planning Act 2016. These are most commonly:

    • Environmental authorities (EAs) for environmentally relevant activities (ERAs) including EAs for ERAs requiring a development approval
    • Queensland heritage exemption certificates.

    To arrange a free pre-lodgement meeting with DES, contact Permit and Licence Management (PaLM) on 13 74 68 or email If the pre-lodgement is for an ERA, complete and submit the application form Application for pre-lodgement services for an environmental authority.