Queensland’s 77 Local Government Council areas are responsible for providing infrastructure and services through long term planning frameworks (Strategic Planning) and lawful frameworks (Statutory Planning).
Each Council adopts its own Planning Scheme with guidance from the State. Planning schemes set out development specifications (building height, setback, and density guidelines, etc). Council uses these specifications or ‘codes’ to assess development applications. Councils’ decisions are also guided by the decision-making rules, timeframes, and public notification requirements detailed in the Planning Act 2016.
The codes in Brisbane City Council’s Planning Scheme allow for two possible outcomes: an ‘Acceptable Outcome’ or a ‘Performance Outcome’.
Acceptable Outcomes “are established ways to achieve the compliance with the code” (Brisbane City Council). They provide an example of how to comply with the code.
However, if a development does not strictly comply with the example identified in the Acceptable Outcome, the planning scheme allows for innovative solutions or approaches that still achieve the overall aim of the code. These are ‘Performance Outcomes’.
Why do we have a performance-based planning system?
Planning schemes set out a long-term vision for the future of the area in their Strategic Framework. However, they are not always able to plan for changes in local circumstances, technology, and consumer trends. Developers can still lodge proposals that conflict with the planning scheme for assessment, and Council may approve the proposal if it provides significant community benefits.
The benefit of this flexible approach is that it focuses on delivering better outcomes, rather than constraining developments within a prescriptive and inflexible framework. The system ensures that Council assesses each development on its merits as opposed to a ‘one size fits all approach’; YIMBY Qld supports this type of performance-based planning because it allows for greater scope to create good development outcomes.
YIMBY Qld intends the information on this page as a plain English guide to the town planning system. While YIMBY Qld has taken all care in its preparation, it is not a substitute for professional town planning or legal advice.