Cranes in night sky

Planning for the future happens on many levels in Queensland, and each level provides rules or guidelines to direct and promote development outcomes for future growth and sustainability. There are four key levels of planning influencing Queensland and the Toowoomba Region – state, regional, city/region wide, and local. The Planning Act 2016 is the overarching legislation for planning in Queensland. 

The responsibilities for the creation of these plans or instruments are divided between Toowoomba Regional Council and the Queensland Government.

The Queensland Government is responsible for:

Toowoomba Regional Council is responsible for:

The Planning Act 2016 establishes the framework and overarching policy for land use planning in Queensland. The Planning Act 2016 and associated legislation commenced on 3 July 2017 and has replaced the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. For more information about Queensland Government planning reform and the new state planning legislation visit the Queensland Government Planning website.

Council has amended its local planning scheme, the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme (the scheme) to align with the Planning Act 2016 (the Act), which came into effect on 3 July 2017.

Changes to the scheme

Council will continue to focus on well-planned development; there are no changes to the policies or intents behind the scheme.

  • Terminology changes across the scheme: As these occur throughout the scheme they may give the appearance of greater change.
  • Tables of assessment: In general, the levels of assessment and the assessment criteria will not change. The removal of compliance assessment from the state development assessment framework is the exception, but this will not have a significant impact and is addressed through code assessment or condition compliance.
  • Codes in the scheme: No change in policy intent. Inclusion of some additional performance and acceptable outcomes ensure clarity and continuation of code intent. Clarity will be maintained while complying with new drafting rules.
  • Bounded code assessment: In general there is no change to how code assessable development is assessed. Codes have been improved where necessary to maintain consistency in their application and in the development outcomes. There is no change to policy intent.
  • Definitions: New definitions will be accommodated without changing planning intent for those uses as per the legislation.

Key terms changing with new legislation

Current term > replaced by:

  • the Sustainable Planning Act 2009/SPA > the Planning Act 2016
  • the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 > the Planning Regulation 2017
  • Priority infrastructure plan/PIP > Local Government Infrastructure Plan/LGIP
  • development permit > development approval
  • assessment criteria > assessment benchmarks
  • levels of assessment > categories of development and assessment OR categories of assessment (i.e. only referring to code or impact assessment)  OR categories of development (i.e. only referring to whether prohibited, assessable or accepted development)
  • exempt development > accepted development
  • self-assessable development > accepted development, subject to compliance with identified requirements
  • self-assessable acceptable outcomes > all identified acceptable outcomes

State Planning Policy

The State Planning Policy (SPP) defines the Queensland Government's policies about matters of state interest in land use planning and development. There are currently 17 state interests which are matters deemed important enough to require protection and enhancement within the development system. The Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme 2012 does not currently reflect these state interests, and assessment against the SPP is required to ensure they are considered.

Find out more information and view the State Planning Policy online.

South East Queensland Regional Plan

The South East Queensland Regional Plan 2017, also known as ShapingSEQ, is the new regional plan for the SEQ region. It was given effect on the 11th of August 2017 and replaces the South East Queensland Regional Plan (2009-2031). ShapingSEQ provides a regional framework for growth management and sets planning direction for sustainable growth, global economic competitiveness and high quality living for the SEQ region. Only part of the Toowoomba Regional Council area is included in the ShapingSEQ boundary, which is the greater Toowoomba/Toowoomba city area.

Find out more and view the SEQ regional plan online.

Darling Downs Regional Plan

The Darling Downs Regional Plan is focused on addressing the potential conflicts that may arise from the interaction between the agricultural and resource sectors, as well as driving economic development. The regional plan aims to ensure other land uses are able to coexist with agriculture and protect areas required for the growth of towns.

Find out more and view the Darling Downs Regional Plan online.