Development Assessment

Do I need a planning approval? 

A Planning Approval (a development permit) is needed if a development for a “material change of use of premises” (e.g. commence or intensify a use of a premises) or “reconfiguring a lot” (e.g. subdivision, boundary realignments or access easements) or “carrying out operational works” (earthworks, advertising devices or works on public infrastructure) is categorised as any of the following:

  • Accepted development that is not complying with acceptable benchmarks of applicable codes;
  • code assessable development; and
  • impact assessable development.

A quick indication of which category of development applies to a particular type of development can be determined by having regard to Part 5 - Tables of Assessment within the planning scheme.

However, to accurately determine which category of development applies to a particular type of development, it is necessary to have regard to:

  • schedule 9 (prohibited development) of the Planning Regulation 2017 (the Regulation);
  • schedule 8 (accepted development) of the Regulation;
  • section 45 of the Planning Act 2016;
  • any applicable State planning regulatory provisions;
  • the planning scheme;
  • any applicable temporary local planning instruments; and
  • variation requests, formerly known as preliminary approvals that affect a planning scheme under section 61 of the Planning Act

Apply for a planning application

If a particular type of development requires a Planning Approval, then a development application is required to be lodged, assessed and decided by the local government.

Each development application must be properly made, that is, it must:

  • be made to the assessment manager, usually the local government;
  • be in the approved form and electronically lodged at;
  • be accompanied by any mandatory supporting information specified on the approved form;
  • be accompanied by the required fee;
  • include the owner’s consent if required under section 51 of the Planning Act.

To determine the required fee, please refer to our Fees and Charges.

Owner’s consent is required for development involving either a material change of use of premises or reconfiguring a lot.

Assessing a development application involves the following stages:

  1. Application stage
  2. Referral stage
  3. Information Request stage
  4. Public Notification stage (impact assessable development only)
  5. Decision stage
  6. Compliance stage

See below approved forms under the Planning Act:

Comment on a development application

Anyone can make a submission on a development application involving impact assessable development.

In order to be able to appeal the decision on the development application in the Planning and Environment Court, each submission must be properly made, that is, it must:

  • be made to the assessment manager, usually the local government, before the end of the public notification period
  • be written (or typed) and signed by each person who made the submission
  • state the name and residential or business address of each person who made the submission
  • state the grounds of the submission and the facts and circumstances relied on in support of the grounds

A person who made the submission may, by written notice, amend the submission during the notification period; or withdraw the submission at any time before a decision about the application is made.

Current Development applications (from 2015), can be viewed through the Applications Portal.

Generally in Accordance Requests

A generally in accordance request is confirmation that a change made to a development approval still accords with the existing development approval.

Note: Any proposal that will require a change or removal of a condition of development, other than approved plans for development cannot be considered via a generally in accordance request and will require a change application to be lodged with Council.

Related Documents

  • Anyone can request a Planning and Development Certificate in order to provide relevant planning and development information applicable to specific sites.

    There are three different types of Planning and Development Certificates:

    • A limited planning and development certificate. Generally, including:
      • a summary of the provisions of any planning scheme or charges resolution applying specifically to the premises such as zonings
      • if any of the State planning regulatory provisions apply to the premises—a description of the provisions that apply;
      • a description of any designations applying to the premises.

    A limited certificate must be given within 5 business days.

    • A standard planning and development certificate. Generally, including:
      • A limited certificate
      • A copy of each valid development approval
      • A copy of each valid infrastructure agreement
      • a copy of any information recorded for the premises in the infrastructure charges register;
      • description of each amendment, proposed to be made by the local government to its planning scheme

    A standard certificate must be given within ten business days.

    • A full planning and development certificate. Generally, including:
      • a standard planning and development certificate
      • a statement about the fulfilment or non-fulfilment of each condition of each valid development approval
      • a statement about the fulfilment or non-fulfilment of each obligation of each valid infrastructure agreement

    A full certificate must be given within 30 business days.

    To determine the required fee for preparing a certificate, please refer to our Fees and Charges

  • The short-term rental of the family home, unit or an investment property can be a valuable source of additional income. Airbnb is one of the many online platforms that enables people to tap into the sharing economy. We value the complementary role that a range of temporary accommodation options can play in the support of tourism in the Whitsundays. The below information outlines the requirements for someone wishing to commence the short-term rental of their home, unit or investment property.

    How does Council regulate Airbnb and short-term rental accommodation?

    The Whitsunday Regional Council Planning Scheme 2017 (the Scheme) has provisions for all types of accommodation and requires the assessment of a proposal to consider the potential impacts of the immediate neighbourhood.

    Do I need approval from Council?

    Home based business

    Where the permanent resident of the dwelling house or unit resides in the dwelling or unit whilst renting part of it out for short-term rental, the use is defined as a Home based business provided that the function and scale of the short-term rental is subordinate to the primary use of the premises as a private permanent residence.

    A Home based business does not require approval from Council in residential zones where complying with all of the following criteria:

    • The use is conducted from a dwelling house, within the main dwelling;
    • No more than three private bedrooms are used for guest accommodation;
    • No more than six guests are accommodated at any one time;
    • Guests stay no more than 14 consecutive nights;
    • Guests have access to a separate bathroom and toilet facility to the residents; and
    • A minimum of one parking space must be provided per guest bedroom.

    Where not complying with these requirements, a development application to Council is required.

    Note: Please consult the Home based business code for the acceptable outcomes.

    Short-term accommodation

    Where the owner/long term tenant of the dwelling or unit does not reside in the dwelling or unit and rents out all or part of the dwelling or unit for short-term rental, typically not exceeding three consecutive months, the use is defined as Short-term accommodation.

    Short-term accommodation requires approval from Council in all zones and in some zones, the application will need to be publicly notified.

    How do I obtain approval from Council?

    To find out if you need to obtain a development permit, we have prepared a Guideline and Application Form Kit.  Please use the Checklist in the Guideline to determine whether your property meets the minimum requirements for short-term accommodation.  If it does, you will need to lodge one of three different applications.  The Guideline shows how to prepare and lodge each application type.

    Please note: depending on where your property is situated, your development application may need to be referred to the State Government for assessment, in addition to our assessment.  The State charges fees for these referrals which can be confirmed in discussions with state planners.

    Do I need any other approvals?

    Additional approvals may be required before a proposed use can lawfully commence. Development permits for building work, operational works (e.g. excavation and filling, placing an advertising device on premises) or plumbing and drainage work may be required.

    Other licences, for example a Food and Accommodation Licence may be required. Please contact us to determine if other approval and/or licences are required.

    Additional considerations

    All existing and potential short-term rental providers are encouraged to check with their insurance providers, lease agreements, building classification and body corporate rules in addition to checking and making the appropriate applications with Council.

    Need further information?

    For further specific information on Home based business or Short-term accommodation contact Development Assessment on 4945 0651 or lodge your enquiry via

    We offer easy to use Online Planning Services and FAQ’s and Education Material which enables 24-hour access to planning and development information, including online mapping.

  • If you are a developer or owner-builder, there are important Commonwealth telecommunications rules you need to comply with.

    The Telecommunications in New Developments (TIND) policy outlines developer responsibilities to arrange for fibre-ready pit and pipe infrastructure to be installed in proximity to building lots or building units before those developers sell or lease those building lots or units. Developers may be able to access an exemption from these arrangements in some circumstances where developments meet the exemption criteria outlined under Part 20A of the Act.

    For more information visit the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website

Development Assessment Documents

Development Assessment Documents

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