You are here

Planning approaches in Queensland


< back to all states/territories

Planning system

  • The Planning Act 2016 (PA) is the principal legislation directing Queensland’s planning and development assessment system. The PA replaced the previous Sustainable Planning Act 2009 on 3 July 2017.
  • The State Planning Policy (SPP), which is a statutory instrument under PA, is a key component of the state's land use planning system that sets out the state's interests in land-use planning and development accross Queensland.
  • Policy is separated into 16 state interests, two of which specifically relate to coastal management and the impacts of climate change on the coast:
    1. Natural hazards, risk and resilienc - to ensure the risks associated with coastal erosion and storm tide inundation are avoided or mitigated to protect people and property
    2. Coastal environment – to protect and enhance the coastal environment.
  • The SPP provides direction to local governments when making and amending local planning instruments and assessing development applications and sets out matters that must be considered by the state in preparing regional plans and designating land for community infrastructure.
  • A SPP Interactive Mapping System provides a visual representation of the areas associated with the state interests including areas assessed as being vulnerable to coastal erosion and sea-level rise and provides trigger maps for development assessment.
  • The Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995 provides mechanisms for identifying areas of coastal hazard risk and managing coastal resources.

Climate challenges

  • The Queensland Government has undertaken extensive coastal hazard assessment and mapping for the whole of the state and some 135,000 lots have been identified as vulnerable to coastal erosion including some 100,000 lots subject to inundation by sea-level rise.
  • The following coastal hazard mapping has been made publically available:
    1. inundation from a defined storm tide event (100 year ARI)
    2. declared erosion prone areas.
  • Mapping is intended to trigger and inform planning and development decisions.
  • Coastal hazard mapping considers climate change impacts and includes mapping of sea-level rise inundation areas using a sea level rise factor of 0.8 m by 2100.
  • The effects of climate change are projected to impact on the footprint, frequency and intensity of natural hazards and this risk is managed for new development through the state planning policy.
  • Given the risk to existing and future development along the coast the government is supporting local government in the development of coastal hazard adaptation strategies under a program called QCoast 2100. $12M has been allocated over 3 years for this work.
  • Coastal hazard adaptation strategies are intended to inform planning instruments such as planning schemes, development assessment decisions and community adaptation more broadly.

Erosion prone area mapping

  • Coastal erosion hazard areas are determined by a robust scientific methodology and are declared as erosion prone areas under the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995.
  • Calculation of the erosion prone area is based on:
    • a short-term erosion component from extreme storm events
    • a long-term erosion component where gradual erosion is occurring commonly from channel migration or a sediment supply deficit
    • a dune scarp component, where slumping of the scarp face occurs following erosion
    • erosion risk due to future sea-level rise from climate change both by permanent inundation of land by tidal water and the morphological response of the coast to elevated water levels
    • adding a 40% safety factor.

Storm tide inundation mapping

  • The defined storm tide event level is the 1% (or one-in-100) annual return probability water level.
  • The inundation (and also the sea-level rise) surface was constructed using highest astronomical tide (HAT) plane levels from over 500 tide gauges along the coast and adding 0.8 m.
  • Where this area of inundation has not been determined by a local storm-tide inundation study, a default value of 1.5 m above highest astronomical tide is used to identify the area of inundation for South East Queensland, and 2.0 m above HAT for the rest of Queensland.
  • Storm tide inundation area maps are categorised as either high or medium hazard areas.
  • High hazard areas are the parts of the storm tide inundation area that are projected to be temporarily inundated to a depth of one metre or more during a defined storm tide event.
  • The medium hazard areas consist of land within the storm tide inundation area that is projected to be temporarily inundated to a depth of less than one metre.

Key planning policies/strategies

State Planning Policy (SPP)

SPP Interactive Mapping System

SPP guidance material

Local government planning schemes

Regional plans

Key planning legislation

Planning Act 2016

Planning Regulation 2017

Planning and Environment Court Act 2016

Local Government Act 2009

Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995

Relevant state-wide coastal datasets

Coastal Hazard Areas maps

Erosion prone area plans

Storm tide hazard spatial data for download

Erosion prone area spatial data for download

Information on the determination of storm tide inundation areas

Information on the calculation of the erosion prone areas

Queensland has also produced additional climate change resources and datasets that can assist in assessing climate risks, including in coastal areas:

Regional Climate Change Impact Summaries

Climate Change in Queensland map application

High-resolution downscaled climate projection data for Queensland (~10km grid)

Other relevant information

  • To enable better planning the current planning Act (SPA) has been replaced with new and easy to understand planning legislation, which was passed by the Queensland Parliament on 12 May 2016 and commenced mid-2017.
  • The Queensland Government, in partnership with the Local Government Association of Queensland is investing $12 million to help coastal councils and their communities plan and prepare for storm tide, coastal erosion and rising sea levels resulting from climate change. Open to coastal councils, the investment will attract additional funding through local council contributions and support council decision making along the Queensland coast