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Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016

The Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016 is a living and evolving document that regulates the way land, buildings and structures are used and developed in the Central Highlands to make sure the right development happens in the right locations. It also helps plan for infrastructure to support growth and create a more diversified economy while continuing to protect our regions values and way of life. The Planning Scheme is driven by community aspirations and reflects ongoing engagement with stakeholders to enable continuous improvement.

The Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016, adopted by Council on 24 February 2016, supersedes the four Planning Schemes and associated planning scheme policies of the former Emerald, Duaringa, Bauhinia and Peak Downs Shires. The Central Highlands Planning Scheme 2016 does not apply to the priority development areas of Blackwater and Blackwater East. Development in these areas is managed by Economic Development Queensland.

The current version of the planning scheme is Amendment No. 6 which commenced 16 May 2022.  You can access this version of the scheme here.  Superseded versions of the Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016 can be found by following this link.

Council still also holds copies of the former shire planning schemes for each of the  previous shires. Please note that these planning schemes are no longer applicable for strategic planning and development assessment purposes as they were replaced by the Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016.

Amendments to the planning scheme are made regularly. Planning scheme users are encouraged to regularly check for such amendments.

  • Planning scheme
  • Amendments
  • Improve the plan
  • FAQ's
  • TLPI
  • Planning scheme

Access the Central Highlands Planning Scheme 2016 eplanning portal to:

  • Search and read the full planning scheme or just those parts applicable to you.
  • Search for a particular property by lot or address with our interactive mapping tool and view aerial imagery, zone and overlay mapping.
  • Request a property report.
  • Download and print code compliance tables and PDFs of the planning scheme.
  • Use your mobile device’s gps to locate your current position and search nearby properties.

For assistance navigating the planning scheme and interactive mapping, refer to this guideline document.

*Please use a modern internet browser such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari or Opera to access the eplanning portal. Internet Explorer is not supported by this site.”

  • Amendments

Council is committed to ensuring that the Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016 is a living and evolving document that is responsive to changing community needs, legislation, policy and other factors.

We achieve this through an ongoing program of community engagement, research and review and amendment of the existing planning scheme.

The Planning Act 2016 and the Minister’s Guidelines and Rules set out the process for making and amending the planning scheme which council must follow.

The amendment process takes time anywhere from 1 to 5 years, depending on the type of amendment and what matters are being considered. Each amendment involves a combination of research, consultation and review by Council, the community and the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (Queensland Government).

For more information about planning schemes and the process of amendment, refer to the Queensland Government website.

We encourage you to regularly check this page to see what planning scheme amendments have been proposed and/or are underway and their current status.

If you have any questions, please phone 1300 242 686 and ask to speak with someone from the Strategic Land Use team.

  • Amendment No. 7 (Business Improvement and Innovation) - Proposed

    Major Planning Scheme Amendment No. 7 – Business Innovation and Improvement incorporates a broad suite of improvements to and in support of innovation in the areas of tourism, agriculture, emerging technologies, mapping, reduction of red tape to support new or expanding businesses, improving urban amenity, updating outdated references

    The amendment proposes variety of changes across the following main themes.

    • Theme 1 – Promoting Tourism
    • Theme 2 – Nurturing Agribusiness
    • Theme 3 – Red tape reduction and improving clarity
    • Theme 4 – Keeping our towns beautiful
    • Theme 5 – Mapping and Administration changes

    What has happened to date?

    On 3 February 2020, notice was given to the then Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP) that council had decided via resolution 2019/06/25/018 to prepare a major planning scheme amendment.

    On 2 March 2020, DSDMIP (now the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning) issued a request for further information in order to establish consistency with the Planning Act 2016 and State Planning Policy (SPP). The timeframe for the state review has been paused until this information is submitted.

    Council has responded to the state’s request and further scrutinised the revised amendment through a series of workshops, internal review and consultation with economic. A revised draft amendment was provided for preliminary review by the state on 13 September 2021 with further background information on 17 September 2021. A meeting was also held with state representatives on 30 September 2021 which has resulted in additional feedback and a further request for clarification on a number of matters. Among other things, the state has requested extensive revisions to the updated mapping proposed.

    On 5 December 2022, Council received approval from the Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning that he was satisfied that the proposed amendment appropriately integrated state interests and gave approval to proceed to public consultation.

    Council undertook formal consultation with the community from 10 February 2023 to 28 April 2023. Formal notification of the Draft Planning Scheme Amendment for Business Improvement and Innovation is part of a statutory process which is outlined in the Minister’s Rules and Guidelines.

    What is happening now?

    Currently, council officers are:

    • considering every submission to the proposed amendment;
    • determining whether changes should be made to the proposed amendment in response to each of the planning matters raised in the submissions.

    To find out more, please visit our Have Your Say page . This page will include access to a number of information sheets, key links and helpful guides. Details on the progress of the amendment and any new information will be provided in this location.

    What is the next step?

    Once these determinations have been finalised, council

    • will advise each submitter, in writing, how their submission was considered and, if appropriate, incorporated into the amendment;
    • will publish the results of the public consultation process on this page and the Have Your Say page.

    If you haven’t made a submission but want to be kept up-to-date, you can:

    • regularly check back on the Have Your Say page
    • subscribe to receive updates about this project through the HYS page (see subscribe link on the side of the page) or
    • register to receive email updates (just send a request to
  • Amendment No. 8 (Urban design guidelines and standards of service) - Proposed

    What changes are proposed?

    The purpose of the proposed amendment is to incorporate Urban Design Guidelines and design standards into the planning scheme which will enhance the built form of residential, commercial and industrial areas and associated streetscapes, landscaping and open space areas.

    The amendment will also consider aspects such as:

    • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles
    • coherent parts of streetscapes in existing and new development areas
    • equitable access for people with disabilities or restricted mobility along continuous paths of travel
    • desired standards of service for public area beautification
    • capitalising on locally unique settings, character areas, or cultural heritage places;
    • planning provisions and/or policies that can create places of high-quality design in parks and town centres which encourage social and economic interactions.

    Councils Liveability Strategy and Action Plan 2019-2020 requires that Urban Design Guidelines and Desired Standards of Service are established and incorporated into the Planning Scheme. This project will deliver upon multiple actions under the strategy.

    What has happened to date?

    On 26 October 2022, council resolved to proceed with the preparation of a major planning scheme amendment, including the creation of a new planning scheme policy and amendment of an existing planning scheme policy, which would be focused on improving urban design.

    Following drafting of the amendment package, council resolved at the General Council Meeting on 14 December 2022 to endorse the proposed Major Planning Scheme Amendment for Urban Design which included:
    a.          a new Planning Scheme Policy for Urban Design Guidance
    b.         an amended Planning Scheme Policy for Information that Council May Require
    c.          the required material for a proposed major amendment as prescribed in Schedule 3 of the Minister’s Guidelines and Rules.

    Council gave notice to the Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning that it has decided to amend the Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme 2016 in order to enhance liveability through improved urban design outcomes. The amendment package was officially submitted to the Minister on 16 December 2022.

    What is happening now?

    On 14 February 2023, the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (DSDILGP) gave notice that they were requesting additional information and were pausing the timeframe under the Minister’s Guidelines and Rules.

    During the “State Interest Review” stage, the Minister:

    • gives the proposed amendment to other relevant state agencies for consideration of the effect of the amendment on state interests, including those identified in legislation, the State Planning Policy (SPP), or a regional plan.
    • reviews the amendment to determine if it:
      • advances the purpose of the Planning Act 2016 (the Act);
      • is consistent with the Act and regulated requirements prescribed in the Planning Regulation;
      • is well drafted and clearly articulated; and
      • accords with the result of any relevant study or report, or review required under section 25(1)of the Act.

    What is the next step?

    Council officers will work through comments and questions provided by the state in regards to the draft amendment package as part of this notice. This may mean some revisions to the draft amendment in order to receive state approval of the final amendment package.

    Council must have approval from the state to commence the formal public notification period during which council officers will present the amendment package to the community for review and feedback.

  • Major Amendment (Heritage, Scenic Amenity and Indigenous Interests) - Proposed

    What is Heritage? What is the Local Heritage Register?

    Heritage can be tangible and intangible. Tangible heritage is the most familiar to people and can consist of buildings, archaeological places, landscapes, views, and objects. Intangible heritage can include traditions, ideas, and cultural practices. It can include places where a particular event occurred but there is no remaining physical evidence of it. Whether tangible or intangible, heritage is defined by the idea of significance. For more information on what it means for a site to be listed on the Local Heritage Register, refer to this fact sheet.

    What changes are proposed?

    The purpose of the proposed amendment will be to:

    • facilitate improvements to the Local Heritage Register to identify, preserve and showcase places of cultural heritage significance and
    • incorporate Indigenous Interests into the planning scheme.

    The project will incorporate consultation and engagement with local communities and Traditional Owners to ensure improvements to the heritage register and Heritage Overlay Code align with stakeholder values and themes which characterise the cultural identity and sense of place which is unique to each part of the Central Highlands region and its history.

    The amendment will also consider aspects such as:

    • Preservation of landscapes that have an associated cultural significance and/or high scenic amenity value to the region
    • Development of a list of additional places to be considered for the local heritage register
    • Preparation of individual place cards which describe the significance of each place and associated mapping amendments

    What has happened to date?

    Council has engaged a cultural consultancy, Converge Heritage and Community, to prepare a revised and updated recommended local heritage register that complies with the Queensland Heritage Act 1992.  They have assisted in the identification and review of sites with local historical significance and will make recommendations on how to incorporate indigenous interests into the planning scheme.

    Currently, there are 22 places on the existing local heritage register. One of these places has been listed on the Queensland Heritage Register, rendering it ineligible for inclusion on the local heritage register.

    As part of the review, council has engaged with the community through the “Have your say” platform to nominate additional sites for consideration.  The page was published on 3 November 2021 and the engagement closed on 20 January 2022.  No submissions were received directly through this event, although 66 “visits” were logged.  Two community members nominated several sites by contacting council officers.

    To date, over 300 places of heritage interest have been identified. The previous scope of 45 new local heritage place cards (including updating the existing 22 place cards) was therefore considered insufficient to appropriately reflect the heritage sites and themes identified. Subsequently, in late 2022, council expanded the scope to provide an additional 55 local heritage place cards (bringing the total up to 100).

    Please note that whilst over 300 places of heritage interest were identified, not all will have sufficient evidence available to justify inclusion into the local heritage register. Therefore, we encourage you to identify any local heritage sites for possible inclusion or to bring forward any additional information you may have to support the listing of already identified sites.

    What is happening now?

    Council officers are continuing to work with the cultural consultants from Converge Heritage and Community to finalise the Heritage Study and the revised/new place cards.

    What is the next step?

    Council officers will be seeking to engage with individuals within the community, including Traditional Custodians, regarding specific sites of significance.

    Once the 100 local heritage place cards and accompanying report are finalised, council officers will begin drafting the amendment. This will be informed by the Heritage Study and consultation with subject experts, Traditional Custodians and relevant council staff.

  • Major Amendment (Blackwater and Blackwater East Priority Development Area revocation) - Proposed

    What changes are proposed?

    The urban area of Blackwater, north of the Capricorn Highway, is affected by two Priority Development Areas (PDAs) declared under the Economic Development Act 2012, meaning that development and planning in this area is bound by different provisions to the rest of the Central Highlands.

    The assessment manager of a PDA is Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) for all functions and powers unless the Minister delegates a specific function or power to Council. For example, the Minister for Economic Development Queensland (MEDQ) delegated the authority for development assessment within the PDA’s from the MEDQ to Council on 4 July 2016.

    Council intends to work with Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) to progress the revocation of these declared PDAs, which would see these urban areas incorporated back into the Central Highlands Regional Council Planning Scheme.

    Once this occurs Council, and by extension the Central Highlands community, will have greater say in shaping the future development of Blackwater.

    What has happened to date?

    This amendment is still in the concept phase and not yet begun.

    Council has been working with EDQ to undertake data cleansing to assist council resolve to undertake this revocation project I.e Drafting of the amendment. EDQ will drive this drafting process with council assisting through the community consultation and gazettal of the amendment.

    What is happening now?

    Council is seeking local community members to register their interest in being part of the Blackwater Revocation Advisory Group (BRAG) which will inform the drafting of the amendment package. The BRAG will include a diverse range of relevant stakeholders as well as council employees. Further details on the BRAG can be found on the Have Your Say page

    What is the next step?

    Depending on available resources, drafting of this amendment may begin in mid 2023.

  • Improve the plan

The Central Highlands Regional Council is committed to continual improvement of the Planning Scheme. We continually reflect on all the state government interests and any regional plan updates that exist for the Central highlands region and encourage you to get involved by suggesting improvements for consideration for future updates and amendments.

All suggestions will be considered as part of the ongoing program of amendments. Any changes resulting from your suggestion will be scheduled into the applicable (administrative, minor or major) update packaged. Future amendments will be under the Planning Act 2016 and associated Planning regulation 2017 which took effect from the 3 July 2017 and in line with the statutory instrument for plan making in Queensland, the Ministers Guidelines and Rules (MGR).

You will be advised of the outcome of your suggestions.

Please send all suggestions to with “Attention: Strategic Planning – CHRC Planning Scheme Improvement Suggestion” as a subject line.

  • FAQ's

What is a planning scheme?

A planning scheme helps us to manage growth through regulating existing land use and new development. This legal document assists to facilitate change within the region by setting direction, improvement and innovation that reflects community aspirations.

What is ‘development’?

The planning scheme regulates land use and development. ‘Development’ is defined under the Planning Act 2016 (the Act) as:

  • Material Change of Use (MCU) (e.g. establishing a new house, shop or office building);
  • Reconfiguring a lot (e.g. subdivision);
  • Operational work (e.g. landscaping works, engineering works, placing an advertising device on premises, vegetation clearing);
  • Building work; or
  • Plumbing and Drainage work.

What are the planning scheme objectives?

  • To produce a single, integrated planning scheme that regulates development across the whole Central Highlands region.
  • To produce a planning scheme that is simple and easy to use and administer.
  • To comprehensively address the expectations of the community.
  • To achieve compliance with the Planning Act 2016, the State Planning Policy and the Central Queensland Regional Plan.

How will the planning scheme affect me?

We had been operating under four planning schemes from the former shire council areas that dealt with development differently and have different provisions. It’s important to have one planning scheme that reflects the needs and aspirations of the whole region.

Does the planning scheme affect existing uses?

The planning scheme does not affect lawful uses which may continue to operate indefinitely in accordance with their relevant approval (if applicable). However, a proposed change in the scale or intensity of an existing use may need to be assessed against the planning scheme.

  • TLPI

A temporary local planning instrument (TLPI) is a statutory instrument created under the provisions of the Planning Act 2016  via the process stipulated in the Minster’s Guidelines and Rules 2017  which may suspend or otherwise affect the operation of a planning scheme for a period of up to two (2) years from its commencement date.

Generally a TLPI is an interim response that:

  • is put in place quickly to protect a specific local government area from adverse impacts
  • prevails over the Planning Scheme when an inconsistency arises
  • enables longer term planning provisions to be shaped while it is in effect (usually a change to the Planning Scheme takes 12 months)

Current TLPIs in effect

Temporary Local Planning Instrument 02/2022 – Operational work involving vegetation clearing within the Carnarvon Gorge area – specifically lots 7AP15625, 7SP103687, 6SP103687, 236NPW490 [Segment No. 44206, Parcel No. 17], 8CUE78 and 10CUE87.
The purpose of the TLPI is to to allow for proposed clearing to be assessed alongside provisions that consider the scenic and natural environment values of the area.
Effective date: 25 May 2022

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