Queensland comprises 77 Local Government Council areas. Each Council is responsible for providing basic infrastructure and services through long-term planning frameworks (Strategic Planning) and lawful frameworks (Statutory Planning).
Each Council also adopts its own Planning Scheme with guidance from the State. The Planning Scheme sets out the development specifications that are relevant to the local area. These specifications describe things like building height, setback, and density.
Council assesses development applications (DAs) against its local development specifications or codes in the Planning Scheme. Council also assesses DAs using the decision-making rules, timeframes and public notification requirements set out in the Planning Act 2016.
The development specifications or codes in the Council’s Planning Scheme allow for two possible outcomes. These are 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.
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 known as ‘Performance Outcomes’.
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 are in conflict with the planning scheme for assessment and Council may approve the proposal if there are 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.
The information on this page is intended 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.