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Planning & Development Information

  • Planning Act 2016

    In Queensland, statewide legislation establishes the framework and overarching policy for land use planning.

    Having commenced 3 July 2017, the Planning Act 2016  (Planning Act) established a new planning system for the state and replaced the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

    While key elements and the structure are renewed and regenerated, the Planning Act remains similar to the current Sustainable Planning Act in many ways and will be familiar to many users.

    To find out more information about the Planning Act 2016 and the Queensland planning framework visit:

  • Navigating our planning scheme

    A planning scheme can seem like a complicated document to try and navigate, especially if you are not used to it.

    For assistance with the basic navigation of the Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016 please refer to the Navigating the planning scheme – fact sheet.

  • A guide to zone codes under council's planning scheme

    Council’s Planning Scheme 2016 specifies 17 zone codes. Each zone code has a strategic purpose such as low impact industry or recreation and open space. The type of developments that may occur in each zone should align with its purpose.  Overall, zones provide strategic direction for development in the Central Highlands region.

    The 17 zones include:

    Centre zone, Specialised centre zone, Principal centre zone, Neighbourhood centre zone, Township zone, Emerging community zone, Recreation and open space zone, Community facilities zone, Industry investigation zone, Low impact industry zone, Industry zone, Special industry zone, General residential zone, High-density residential zone, Rural residential zone, Rural zone and Environmental management and conservation zone.

    Council has developed a guidebook to help developers understand the purpose of each zone codes and the type of developments that might occur.

    Download a printable PDF version of the guidebook and individual pages here.

  • Standards and specifications – CMDG

    The design and construction of municipal works in the Central Highlands region are to be undertaken in accordance with the standards and specifications provided in the Capricorn Municipal Development Guidelines (CMDG).

    The CMDG provides guidance for the following matters relating to the design and construction of development works:

    1. Approval and construction procedures
    2. Construction specifications
    3. Design specifications
    4. Purchase specifications
    5. Standard drawings

    For more information about the CMDG, visit

  • Development applications explained

    Types of development

    Material change of use

    Using the building, structure or the land for something different than it is currently being used for, or the same use more intensively. Examples: Changing a retail shop into a food and drink outlet, a 30 site caravan park to a 60 site caravan park, vacant lot into an office, shop, industrial use etc. 

    Reconfiguring a lot

    Subdividing the land or making changes to the boundaries. Examples: Subdividing one lot into multiple lots, dividing land into parts by agreement, re-aligning the boundary of a lot, creating or changing and easement giving access to a lot.

    Operational work

    Activities that alter the shape or form of the land. Examples: Earthworks (i,e. filling of excavation), vegetation clearing, erecting a sign.

    Building work

    Constructing a new building or structure or extending an existing building or structure. Examples: Building a new building or structure (e.e house, shed, garage, etc.), Part or complete demolition of a building or structure, repairing, altering or extending a building or structure.

    Types of approval

    A development approval can be a:

    • Development permit, which approves the proposed development and authorises the development to be carried out.
    • Preliminary approval, which approves the proposed development, but does not authorise the development to be carried out.
    • Variation request, which seeks to vary the effect of any local planning instrument in effect of the premises.
    • Combination of a development permit and a preliminary approval.

    Categories of development and assessment

    Accepted development:-

    One of the changes in the Planning Act 2016 is the consolidation of self- assessable and exempt development into one category, accepted development. Accepted development:

    • is to be assessed against all the identified accepted outcomes of the applicable codes identified in the assessment benchmarks column and any applicable overlay codes of the planning scheme; and
    • complies with all the accepted outcomes of all the applicable codes.
    • An application is not required to be lodged to council.

    An example of accepted development is a home based business. For further information on home based businesses see the home based business fact sheet.

    For further information on accepted development see the accepted development fact sheet.

    If the accepted development does not comply with all accepted outcomes the development will require a code assessable application.

    Assessable development

    Code assessable development:-

    • is to be assessed against all the applicable codes identified in the assessment benchmarks column and any applicable overlay codes of the planning scheme; and
    • complies with:-
      • the purpose and overall of the code; and
      • the performance or acceptable outcomes of the code.
    • An application is required to be lodged to council.

    Note: code assessable development can occur as a result of accepted development not being compliant with one or more of the identified accepted outcomes of the applicable codes.

    Impact assessable development:-

    • is to be assessed against the whole planning scheme – including zone codes, use codes and overlay codes and strategic framework (to the extent relevant).
    • An application is required to be lodged to council; and
    • public notification is required to be undertaken by the applicant.
  • Standard conditions for development approvals
    Conditions are a key element of development approvals and ongoing compliance. Along with approved plans and reports, conditions are the mechanism for on the ground realisation of the development and land use aspirations of the region as expressed in Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016 (the Planning Scheme).
    Council recognises the importance of promoting consistency in condition writing and application. Standard conditions can be applied across a variety of circumstances, whereas unique conditions will still be required where specific circumstances require. Given this, council has prepared a standard suite of conditions that will be applied and guide the conditioning of the developments. The conditions contained in the document are not an exhaustive list that anticipates every development scenario however are provided to improve efficiency, consistency and ease of understanding that is also complemented by a consistent philosophy to preparing conditions.   The standard conditions document will be reviewed every six months.  If there is any specific feedback on the standard conditions or their application you are welcome to provide this directly to the Development and Planning Team by emailing
  • Home based business

    Under the Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016 a home based business is defined as a dwelling used for a business activity where subordinate to the residential use.

    For further information on Home Based Businesses please view the home based business fact sheet.

  • Operational works

    Operational works are activities that alter the shape or form of the land such as excavating or filling, vegetation clearing and erecting an advertising sign. Material Change of Use or Reconfiguring a Lot Decision notices will define in the conditions what type of operational work needs to be carried out.

    To find out when operational works (earthworks) will trigger a development application with Council and/or the state government, please refer to this fact sheet.

    When lodging an Operation Work application you must ensure you complete DA Form 1 and submit with the relevant plans.

    Please refer to the Register of commercial and cost recovery fees for the operational work application fees.


  • Search requests

    A search inspection request form is to be completed for the following searches:

    • Planning & Development Certificate (including limited, express, standard and full)
    • Engineering searches (including flood search, water/sewerage location and additional adjoining lot information)
  • Track Active and Determined Applications

    To view active and determined development applications, please click HERE or contact us by:



  • Applications currently on public notification

    Application No.ApplicantLocation / AddressType of ApplicationPublic Notification Period
    (for properly made submissions)
    Application Common Material

  • Making a submission

    Public notification and submission fact sheet

    In accordance with the Planning Act 2016  certain development applications are required to go through a period of public notification.

    Public notification informs the community of the proposal and provides the community with an opportunity to make submissions that must be taken into account before the development application is decided.

    During the public notification period, the community can make submissions about a development application to the assessment manager, who will consider these when making their decision. The submissions must be ‘properly made’, which means they must be in writing, on topic, signed and submitted by the due date.

    The ‘Applications currently on public notification’ tab below contains a list of development applications currently on public notification.

    Please email all properly made submissions to

  • EDQ Blackwater and Blackwater East PDA

    Delegation of development assessment powers to Central Highlands Regional Council
    The Minister for Economic Development Queensland (MEDQ) has agreed to a request from Central Highlands Regional Council (CHRC) to delegate development assessment within the PDA to the Council.

    From 4 July 2016, CHRC is responsible for assessing any development applications on behalf of the MEDQ. All development applications will continue to be assessed against the Blackwater and Blackwater East PDA Development Scheme’s under the Economic Development Act 2012 (ED Act).

    What happens to existing development approvals within the Blackwater or Blackwater East PDA?
    All existing development approvals remain in effect.

    How do I lodge a new application once delegation has commenced?
    All new development applications are to be lodged with CHRC. See above ‘Lodging a development application’ for further details.

    Will the development scheme continue to apply?
    Yes, development applications will continue to be assessed against the Blackwater PDA Development Scheme under the Economic Development Act 2012 until the PDA is revoked. EDQ will work closely with CHRC to prepare for the revocation process.

    Who will assess compliance and undertake plan sealing for existing PDA approvals?
    Compliance assessment and plan sealing will be undertaken by CHRC.

    What if I want to lodge a change to an approval granted by the department?
    Changes to approval applications are to be lodged with CHRC.

    Blackwater PDA Development Scheme

    Blackwater East PDA Development Scheme

    Forms, Guidelines and Practice Notes

    Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) provides forms, guidelines and practice notes to help you progress a development proposal through the application process. The Development application template can be found here.

  • Exemption Certificates

    Exemption certificates may be given by local government or state government (as assessment managers) in special circumstances as provided for under the Planning Act 2016. Exemption certificates release the owner of the premises from the need to get planning approval for certain assessable development. The certificates are not intended for large-scale or complex developments or to rectify development that was undertaken without a permit. It is noted that the applicant is obliged to comply with all other relevant requirements, e.g. obtain building and plumbing approvals. An exemption certificate attaches to the premises and benefits the owner, subsequent owner/s and any occupiers of the premises. There is no provision for a person to appeal a decision to give or not to give an exemption certificate.

    Section 46(3)(b) of the Planning Act 2016 prescribes the three (3) circumstances in which an exemption certificate may be given. At least one circumstance must apply to the development, but more than one may apply.  The following table outlines the exemption certificates that have been granted by Central Highlands Regional Council.   If you click on the certificate number you can view the certificate which includes the circumstances by which the certificate was granted.

    Certificate NumberDescriptionAddressStatusDate
    Material Change of Use: Emergency Services (Intensification of an existing use)169 Caringal Road,
    Emerald QLD 4720
    Lot 1 on SP261404
    Exemption Granted15/06/2018
    EXC001-2020Operational Work involving minor engineering work not associated with an MCU or RALHospital Road,
    Emerald QLD 4720 Lot 91 SP314634
    Exemption Granted8/10/2020
    EXC002-2020Material Change of Use: Emergency Services and Office26274 Capricorn Highway,
    Emerald QLD 4720
    Lot 1 SP117842
    Emerald QLD 4720
    Lot 1 SP117842
    Exemption Granted
    EXC003-2020Material Change of Use: Service Station20 Main Street,
    Bluff QLD 4702
    Lots 110 and 111 on B8782
    Exemption Granted + TIA Prohibition for access15/12/2020
    EXC001-2021Material Change of Use (Dwelling House in Flood hazard overlay)14 Banyula Close
    Emerald QLD 4720
    Exemption Granted26/02/2021
    EXC002-2021Material Change of Use (Dwelling House in Flood hazard overlay)795 Biloela-Duaringa Road
    Duaringa QLD 4712
    Lot 52 SP251911
    Exemption Granted27/05/2021
    EXC003-2021Operational Work (Advertising Devices)5 Malvern Ave, Tieri
    Lot 13 on T112314
    Exemption Granted6/09/2021
    EXC004-2021Material change of use - Showroom / existing use39 Hospital Road, Emerald
    Lot 1 on SP135567
    Exemption Granted4/11/2021
    EXC005-2021Material change of use – Development permit for Club (re-establishment
    of abandoned use)
    45 Arthur Street, Blackwater
    Lot 1 SP185999
    Exemption Granted25/10/2021
    EXC006-2021Material change of use - Dwelling House15 Taurus Street Blackwater
    Lot 9 and 10 on HT 594
    Exemption Granted26/11/2021
    EXC001-2022Operational Works (Water Supply Pipeline) on a Local Heritage Place5 Cronin Street, Capella
    Lot 201 on SP122524
    Exemption Granted8/03/2022
    EXC002-2022Material change of use – Telecommunication Facility
    Capricorn Highway, Blackwater
    Lot 23 on HT619
    Exemption Granted15/06/2022

    If you believe you have a proposal that you believe could be eligible for an exemption certificate please email through your request and details to and one of our team will be in contact to discuss.

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