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Development assessment process

Development assessment process (Planning Act 2016)

Prelodgement ProcessDisclaimer: This infographic is indicative of the benefits that can be achieved from talking to your local planning team early and taking their feedback on board. Unfortunately from time to time circumstances change and a streamlined process may not always be achieved.

  • 1. Pre-lodgement

    Meet a planner

    The Development Assessment Team is happy to offer an informal meeting where you can discuss potential applications or town planning enquires. A prepared application is not required however it is important that you provide us with some basic information to allow us to provide more specific advice around what is required. To request a Meet-a-Planner meeting please complete the Meet-a-Planner – request form.

    Pre-lodgement meeting

    The Development Assessment Team is happy to offer a pre-lodgement meeting service. This meeting does require you to have a prepared/ all but finalised application. To request a pre-lodgement meeting please complete the Pre-lodgement meeting request form.

    Lodge the completed form by email ( and we will book a meeting at the earliest available time.


    Local governments are the assessment managers for most applications. Some applications will require additional assessment by a referral agency. The Planning Regulation 2017 establishes what matters need to be assessed by a referral agency.

    When preparing an application, it’s your responsibility as the applicant to identify whether there are any referrals associated with your application.

    Council recommend attending pre-lodgement meetings with the necessary referral agencies to identify any potential issues or additional information requirements that can help the application track through the system smoothly.

  • 2. Application

    Preparing an application

    Information on how to prepare a development application can be found on this link.

    The Development Assessment (DA) Forms are the approved forms under the Planning Act 2016 and must be used for applications lodged under this Act (all applications lodged from 3 July 2017).

    Company owners and individual owner’s consent must be submitted with all development applications. Templates for owner’s and company declarations are available here.

    View council’s current list of fees and charges for application costs.

    Relevant plans must also be submitted when making an application. The following link to the DA Forms Guide: Relevant Plans outlines what plans are required for each type of applications and the requirements of information provided on the plans.

    Blackwater PDA and Blackwater East PDA

    Development located on premises within the Blackwater or Blackwater East priority development areas (PDA) are assessed under the Economic Development Act 2012. The approved forms which must be used under the Economic Development Act 2012 are different to those required under the Planning Act 2016.

    Lodging by email

    The preferred method of lodging a development application is via email.

    Files will need to be prepared in accordance with the accepted format:

      • PDF format;
      • Unzipped;
      • Plans/ images flattened;
      • Unlocked with no password protection and created by a software program; and
      • Files cannot be created via scanning. When submitting DA forms, all forms must be combined into a single PDF document and named appropriately. Email your files to
      • When submitting the planning report and any appendices, if the total file size is 10Mb or less it is appropriate to submit these as a single file, however if the planning report and appendices exceed 10Mb in size it is required that these are broken down and submitted separately.
      • We can accept emails up to 50Mb at one time and if you choose to lodge your application via email, you must be able to receive emails that are a minimum of 50Mb in size. File names must be the name of the type of document (for example ‘DA forms’ or ‘Assessment Report’).

    Confirmation/ Action Notice

    Depending on whether your application is properly made or not, council will issue either an Action Notice or a Confirmation Notice within 10 days of the application being received. If the application is properly made and you receive a Confirmation Notice, the assessment process will begin.

  • 3. Referral

    If applicable, the applicant must refer the application and confirmation notice to relevant referral agencies within 10 days of receiving the Confirmation Notice. This time frame may be extended if agreed upon by the assessment manager and applicant. The applicant has five days to notify the assessment manager that referral has been made.

  • 4. Information request

    During the assessment process, there’s a formal opportunity for the assessment manager and any referral agency to ask the applicant for more information. This will only occur if it is regarded as helpful to assessing the application. Applicants who are confident that they have included all the necessary information to manage their application may inform the assessment manager via the DA form that they don’t wish to receive an information request.

  • 5. Public notification

    Public notification needs to be undertaken for impact-assessable applications and those that include a variation request.

    Public notification of an application can start once the applicant has responded to any information requests (if relevant). The applicant is required (at a minimum) to place a notice in a local newspaper and signage on the property, and to notify adjoining landowners.

    The DA Rules outline mandatory signage requirements to help the community better understand development proposals in their local area.

    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. For details on how to make a submission please go to the Planning and Development Information page

    If a properly made submission is received the application will go to a general council meeting for the decision to be made.

    The time frames for public notification are set out in the Planning Act 2016.

  • 6. Decision

    The DA rules establish how long an assessment manager has to make the decision. Any referral agency response will also inform the assessment manager’s decision. The decision may be to:

    • approve
    • approve in part
    • approve with conditions
    • refuse the development application.

    Once a decision is made, council will issues a Decision Notice to the applicant as well as advising all relevant referral agencies and submitters of the decision. The Planning Act 2016 also states that the assessment manager must issue a Statement of Reasons with the Decision Notice.

  • 7. Appeal

    Under the Planning Act 2016, the applicant and all properly made submitters have the right to appeal against a decision about a development application. Appeals are handled by the Planning and Environment Court or, for low-risk, technical matters, to the Development Tribunal.

For more information on the development assessment process:

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