Australia: Improving Planning Act processes in Queensland

New amendments are proposed to the Planning Act 2016 to clarify a number of issues that have been identified in recent Court proceedings.

A number of issues have arisen in the operation of the planning framework since the commencement of the Planning Act 2016 on 3 July 2017. This has included:

  • the validity of infrastructure charges notices (ICNs) and the requirement to include a 'decision notice'; and
  • the burdensome requirement for submitter appellants to serve all other submitters to a development application.

The Economic Development and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (EDOLA Bill) was introduced into Parliament on 19 September 2018. Much of the proposed amendments are mechanical in nature and seek to clarify the relationship between the various statutes that together regulate the planning framework in Queensland.

However, amendments have also been proposed to the Planning Act 2016 (Planning Act) to clarify the requirements for ICNs and submitter appeal service requirements. A new Part is also proposed that allows service of documents by reference to a website or other electronic medium.


In a recent decision of the Planning and Environment Court,1 the validity of a series of ICNs was challenged on the basis that they did not satisfy the technical requirements of the planning legislation.

Under the (repealed) Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA), section 637(2) required that:

"The infrastructure charges notice must also include, or be accompanied by, an information notice about the decision to give the notice."

This requirement has been carried through to section 121(3) of the Planning Act 2017, albeit with a slightly different wording:

"The infrastructure charges notice must also include, or be accompanied by, a decision notice about the decision to give the notice."

In the Sunland case, Judge Kefford found that Gold Coast City Council had failed to provide an 'information notice' with the relevant ICNs as required by the SPA. The Court determined that 'reasons' for issuing the ICNs had not been given, as such reasons must "go beyond a mere explanation of how the charge has been worked out". The effect was that the ICNs were held to be invalid.

Clause 165 of the EDOLA Bill proposes to amend section 121(3) of the Planning Act by removing the requirement to include 'a decision notice' with the ICN, which in turn removes the requirement to give reasons for issuing the ICN. The new section 121(3) will simply require that the ICN must:

  • state the date of the ICN;
  • state any appeal rights the recipient of the notice has in relation to the ICN; and
  • include any other information prescribed by regulation.

This amendment provides clarity around the issuing of ICNs, and removes the requirement for local government to provide detailed reasons for issuing an ICN in circumstances where the calculation of the charges is usually an automatic / mechanical exercise.


In the Ayre case,2 the Court held that a submitter appellant in a Planning Act appeal must give notice of the appeal to all other submitters to the development application. The impacts of this requirement are that:

  • it places an unreasonable imposition on submitter appellants to notify all other eligible submitters within 2 business days of filing the appeal; and
  • submitters who have not filed their own appeal are afforded a 'second bite of the cherry' and can elect to join an appeal started by another submitter.

Clause 172 of the EDOLA Bill proposes to amend section 230(3) of the Planning Act to remove the requirement for a submitter who appeals a decision to give all other eligible submitters to the development application a copy of the notice of appeal.


The EDOLA Bill also inserts a new Part 4A into Chapter 7, which enables service of relevant documents by giving a communication that refers to a stated website or other electronic medium where the relevant document can be viewed.

The current electronic service provision in section 279 of the Planning Act is to be removed, and instead replaced with a process that facilitates the use of electronic forms of communication in planning and development assessment.

The new provisions enable a person (Giver) to serve a document via a communication (e.g. a letter) which states a website or other electronic medium where the document can be viewed or downloaded. However, the recipient of the communication (Recipient) may still request a hard copy of the document at any time, and the Giver must provide a copy as soon as practicable.

Further, if the Recipient has already provided the Giver with an email address for service, the Giver may serve the relevant document electronically by sending an email to the Recipient with a link to where the document can be viewed or downloaded.

The new provisions also provide that the Recipient is taken to have been served with the document if it is able to be viewed by accessing the website at the time the communication was sent, and for a reasonable period afterwards.


1Sunland Group Limited & Anor v Gold Coast City Council [2018] QPEC 22

2 Ayre v Brisbane City Council [2018] QPEC 17

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Chambers Asia Pacific Awards 2016 Winner – Australia
Client Service Award
Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (WGEA)

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions