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Fast-tracking development applications in Queensland

Queensland recognises the need to attract investments and stimulate development in an efficient manner, it’s therefore introduced mechanisms to expedite the approval process.

Queensland currently stands as a dynamic and vibrant region marked by its stunning landscapes, urban growth, and forward-thinking development strategies. 

From the picturesque beaches of the Gold Coast to the bustling heart of Brisbane, each development project is facilitated through a structured and regulated process. In this article, we explore the concept of fast-tracked development applications – a process Queensland has embraced to streamline lower risk and sought after development types to support growth while maintaining quality and sustainability.

What are the advantages of fast-tracking development applications?

Development applications are assessed through a standard development assessment process, which can often result in a lengthy assessment process, and subsequently, delays in the delivery of development on the ground.

However, in acknowledgement that not all development is high risk or complex, many Councils across Queensland offer a fast-tracked assessment process created specifically for low complexity, decision ready development applications. This supports a quicker assessment process for a number of development types, enabling these developments to be delivered faster.

Fast-tracked development applications entail prioritising certain development that aligns with predetermined criteria – and expediting their assessment and approval. This approach accelerates the delivery of development whilst adhering to regulatory frameworks.

The benefits of the fast-tracked development assessment process include:

  • Reduced uncertainty: Developers can face uncertainty due to prolonged approval timeframes often resulting in longer holding costs, and uncertainty in construction scheduling. Fast-tracking of low risk / low complexity development offers a reduced timeline for decision-making, enabling projects to be better planned for and resources allocated.
  • Meeting urban needs: In rapidly growing urban areas like Queensland, there is a constant demand for new infrastructure, housing, and commercial spaces. Fast-tracking development approvals helps meet these needs in a timely and more cost effective manner.
  • Balancing quality and speed: Fast-tracking doesn’t mean cutting corners. Projects still undergo rigorous assessment to ensure they adhere to regulations, assessment benchmarks, and community interests.

Express development applications in the Gold Coast

Gold Coast’s Express Development Applications process offers applicants the ability to submit development applications through an expedited assessment process providing certain criteria can be achieved. Applications that meet this criteria are typically assessed within 10 to 15 business days from lodgement.

Eligible land uses supported by Express DA includes: 

  • Dual occupancy
  • Multiple dwelling (ranging from 3 to 10 dwellings)
  • Food and drink outlets
  • Health care services
  • Office spaces
  • Retail shops
  • Low-impact industries
  • Warehouses

The process for lodging an Express DA is as follows:

  • Step 1Check your eligibility: Check if your application meets the eligibility requirements detailed in the Express development application – applicant guidelines.
  • Step 2Prepare your application: Prepare your application following the Express development application resources.
  • Step 3Submit your application for a pre-submission review: All Express DAs must go through a pre-submission review to ensure the application has all the necessary information for assessment and is ready to lodge. This step is mandatory for all potential Express DA applications and can be lodged via email, by mail, or in person.
  • Step 4Finalise your application: Once you receive a Lodgement Ready Letter, you can lodge your application for assessment online, by mail, or in person.

    Fast-tracking development applications via RiskSMART in Brisbane

    Brisbane fast-tracks the assessment of eligible development types through its RiskSMART process in certain circumstances. Eligible RiskSMART development applications enjoy an expedited 10-day decision timeframe.

    Eligible development supported by RiskSMART include:

    • New Dwelling house or extension
    • Reconfiguring a lot (up to 5 lots)
    • Low and medium impact industry and Warehouse (ex General industry C)
    • Centre activities in a Centre zone (in certain situations)
    • Prescribed tidal works
    • Educational establishment (no increase to student capacity)
    • Any other low risk code assessable development where technical matters have been managed via Council’s prelodgement services.

    Each of these development types comes with its own set of criteria for eligibility. The process for lodging an Express DA is as follows:

    How Barker Ryan Stewart can assist you

    When it comes to fast-tracking development applications, Barker Ryan Stewart stands as a reliable partner. With our comprehensive services and dedication to efficiency, we work with our clients to help you navigate the intricate process with confidence and ease. 

    Barker Ryan Stewart is a multidisciplinary consultancy firm specialising in supporting clients across various aspects of development and infrastructure initiatives.

    With a diverse range of expertise and services, Barker Ryan Stewart can help by providing urban planning, civil engineering, and project management services across Queensland.

    Our comprehensive approach ensures smooth coordination and streamlined project execution, enabling our clients to achieve their goals efficiently.

    Cover image sourced via Unsplash.

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