Publications / Planning and Environment

15 Oct 12
New Draft State Planning Regulatory Provision - Queensland Coastal Protection

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On 8 October 2012, the Draft Coastal Protection State Planning Regulatory Provision (Draft SPRP) came into effect. The Draft SPRP cuts (albeit temporarily) some of the ‘green tape’ constraining development on Queensland’s coast.

The Draft SPRP is a statutory planning instrument under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) (SPA) and has the following functions:

  • it suspends the operation of State Planning Policy 3/11: Coastal Protection (SPP 3/11)
  • it suspends the operation of parts of select regional plans relating to coastal environments, and
  • it applies to a range of circumstances set out in SPA.

Suspension of SPP 3/11

SPP 3/11 (which itself only took effect on 3 February 2012) has been suspended as the State has deemed the policy not to be ‘sufficiently supportive of the Government’s commitment to grow the four pillars of Queensland’s economy’

The transitional arrangements for the Draft SPRP confirm that SPP 3/11 will no longer apply to the assessment of development applications, even if an application was made before the commencement of the Draft SPRP.

Notably, the Draft SPRP does not suspend the operation of the entire Queensland Coastal Plan 2012 (Coastal Plan), of which SPP 3/11 was a part. The State Policy for Coastal Management (Coastal Policy) which is part of the Coastal Plan remains in effect and its policy outcomes still apply.

In practice, the suspension of SPP 3/11 which lasts for 12 months from when the Draft SPRP took effect, means that:

  • less development applications are assessable against the State’s coastal protection provisions
  • assessment managers are not required to apply the rigid policy outcomes and the development assessment code in SPP 3/11
  • local governments are (for the time being) released from the obligation to prepare an ‘adaptation strategy’, and
  • development applications or appeals regarding applications which are yet to be decided and which may have been constrained by SPP 3/11, may no longer be constrained.

Suspension of aspects of regional plans

The Draft SPRP also suspends the following parts of regional plans relevant to coastal environments:

  • Part 1.2 of the Far North Queensland Regional Plan
  • Part 3.3 of the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday Regional Plan
  • Part 2.2 of the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Plan, and
  • Parts 1.4.3 and 2.4 of the South East Queensland Regional Plan.

The Draft SPRP does not otherwise affect the operation of regional plans.

Making planning documents

The Draft SPRP applies to the making of local plans, the amending of planning schemes, the making of regional plans and the designation of land for community infrastructure.

In relation to the above, the Draft SPRP provides broad policies for:

  • land use planning in the coastal zone
  • planning in coastal hazard areas
  • planning for ‘coastal–dependent’ land uses, and
  • planning in areas of high ecological significance.

Development assessment and the Draft SPRP

The Draft SPRP applies only to the assessment of development applications for:

  • impact assessable development in a coastal management district by an assessment manager.  The application of the Draft SPRP to development is therefore significantly less than under the SPP 3/11, which applied to almost all development within the coastal management district
  • development considered by the chief executive administering the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995 (Qld) as assessment manager
  • development in a coastal management district being considered by an agency with jurisdiction under the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995 (Qld) (i.e. the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection as an advice or concurrency agency), and
  • a master plan application.

Effect of the Draft SPRP on development

The Draft SPRP:

  • will apply to all development applications regardless of whether they were properly made before the date the Draft SPRP commenced
  • implements policy objectives for development assessment which are broad and are considerably less prescriptive than the policies contained in SPP 3/11, and
  • returns the State’s coastal management policies for development to those which applied before the introduction of SPP 3/11.


Focus covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. Focus is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.

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