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Each state development area (SDA) is subject to a development scheme, a regulatory document that controls planning and development in an SDA.

Prepared and implemented by the Coordinator-General, a development scheme ensures development in an SDA is well planned and managed.

Broadly, the development scheme:

A development scheme considers industries that already exist in the SDA as well as surrounding land uses.

It prevails over local and state government planning instruments for development that is regulated by the development scheme for the relevant SDA.

SDA development schemes

The Office of the Coordinator-General has prepared a draft Cairns South SDA Development Scheme (PDF icon 1.7 MB). The Coordinator-General is currently reviewing submissions received during the public consultation period prior to the government’s consideration of the development scheme.

The development scheme for the Tropical North SDA is currently being prepared. The draft Tropical North SDA Development Scheme will undergo public consultation in due course.

Applications and requests

The development scheme contains a development assessment framework for making, assessing and deciding applications and requests relating to development within an SDA.

There are different types of applications or requests relating to development within an SDA. The most common is an SDA application for a material change of use (MCU). An MCU is:

A development scheme may also provide for some or all of the following applications and requests:

It is important to note there are some variations in terminology used in the development schemes as a result of amendments to the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971.

Assessment of an SDA application

The Coordinator-General assesses and decides all SDA applications with SDAs. For development regulated by a relevant development scheme, SDA approvals are required from the Coordinator-General before development can occur.

SDA applications are often referred to relevant state government agencies and local governments for comment. Accordingly, a proposed development may be assessed against other state or local statutory instruments (e.g. legislation, state policies and local planning schemes) as part of the referral process.

Some SDA applications will be required to undergo public consultation. This provides an opportunity for people likely to be affected by a proposed development to make a submission on the SDA application.

The assessment timeframes are set out in the development scheme of each SDA.

Make an SDA application or request

View information on how to make an SDA application or request, including pre-lodgement consideration, relevant fees and an online application form.

Audit and compliance reports

Where an SDA application is approved, audit reports may be required to be submitted to the Coordinator-General as a condition of an SDA approval. Proponents and auditors compiling audit reports can view the audit report guideline (PDF icon 96 KB).

A proponent who carries out SDA self-assessable development in an SDA may be required to provide compliance documentation to the Coordinator-General prior to commencing SDA self-assessable development. A compliance reporting guideline for SDA self-assessable development (PDF icon 79 KB) has been developed to assist proponents to meet the compliance reporting requirements for SDA self-assessable development in an SDA.

Further information

Advisory notes