Development Assessment

Assessment of Developments:

The Planning Act 2016 (Qld) (PA) provides the legislative framework for planning and development assessment in Queensland. PA provides for the Development Assessment Rules (the DA Rules), which is one of the instruments that set out process and procedural requirements of the planning system.

The development assessment process in the DA Rules involves the following parts:

  • Part 1 - Application
  • Part 2 - Referral
  • Part 3 - Information request
  • Part 4 - Public notification
  • Part 5 - Decision

It should be noted that not all applications will need to proceed through all five DA stages.

The following activities may require approval in accordance with the DA process:

  • A material change of use such as establishing a new business or activity on a site, re-establishing a use which has been abandoned or intensifying a use.
  • Reconfiguring a lot including a standard subdivision, a boundary realignment, an amalgamation of lots or the creation of an easement giving access to a lot from a constructed road.
  • Carrying out operational works including filling and excavation, installing an advertising device, clearing vegetation and certain works in watercourses or tidal waters.
  • Carrying out building work: See Building page.
  • Carrying out plumbing or drainage work: See Plumbing and Drainage page.

Please check the planning scheme to see whether the development you wish to undertake is assessable and therefore requires approval from Council. It should be noted that some development may not be assessable in accordance with a planning scheme, but may still require approval in accordance with PA, for example clearing vegetation.

If development approval is required from Council, you need to lodge the relevant DA Form 1 application form with Council. Please view the relevant DA form or by emailing or phoning Council on 1300 763 903..

The completed DA forms, mandatory supporting information and the relevant application fee must be lodged with Council either by post, over the counter or via email. Council's postal address, email address and the location of Council's offices can be found on the Contact Council page. To prepare an application online, please go to MyDAS2.

All development applications can be tracked using MyCouncil.  Please see the MyCouncil Factsheet for more information about the MyCouncil website.

For further information please contact Planning Services on 1300 763 903 or 07 4030 2241.  You can also email your application or planning query to


Referral Agency:

Cassowary Coast Regional Council has jurisdiction as a referral agency for certain development applications for building work as identified in Schedule 9 of the Planning Regulation 2017.

These include:

  • Design and siting - non-compliance with the Queensland Development Code setbacks
  • Design and siting (site coverage, front/side or rear setbacks) - non-compliance with alternative provisions within the Cassowary Coast Regional Council Planning Scheme
  • Design and siting (height, amenity, privacy, carparking and/or outdoor living) - non-compliance with alternative provisions within the Cassowary Coast Regional Council Planning Scheme

Referral Agency assessment applications can be lodged using MyCouncil. Please see the MyCouncil Factsheet linked above for more information about the MyCouncil website.

Alternatively a Referral Agency Assessment form along with mandatory supporting documentation can be lodged over the counter, mailed or emailed to

For council office locations and Council's postal address, see the Contact Council page.

All applications must be accompanied by the mandatory supporting information and the applicable fee.


Fees & Charges:

Cassowary Coast Regional Council Fees & Charges 2023/2024


Extending Development Approvals:

Section 86 of the Planning Act allows the currency period of an approval to be extended at any time before the development approval lapses. To do this, an extension application must be made to the assessment manager, be accompanied by the required fee and where relevant, the owner's consent.

Referral agencies are not required to be involved or advised about the extension application before it has been decided..

For an application to extend the currency period please complete an Extension Application (Extension application under section 86 of the Planning Act 2016). located on the Queensland Government website under the heading: Development application and change application forms.  The application can be submitted by email to by post at PO Box 887, Innisfail Qld 4860 or over the counter at Council's Tully or Innisfail offices.

For any further enquiries about making an extension application or to obtain advice regarding payment of the relevant fee, please contact Planning Services by email at or by phone: 1300 763 903


Exemption Certificates:

An exemption from a development application can be granted, under section 46 of the Planning Act 2016, in the following 3 circumstances:

  • the effects of the development would be minor or inconsequential considering the circumstances under which the development was categorised as assessable development;
  • the development was categorised as an assessable development only because of particular circumstances that no longer apply; or
  • the development was categorised as assessable development because of an error.

For development where there is a referral agency, each referral agency has agreed in writing to the exemption certificate being given. View the factsheet on Exemption Certificate and State Assessment Referral Agency (SARA).

To obtain an exemption you need to make an application to Council. There is currently no fee for this assessment. There is likely to be a 10 business day timeframe for processing exemption requests.

To lodge an exemption:

  • Submit an Application for Exemption Certificate Form
  • Submit plans of sufficient detail, scale and quality to support the application
  • Hard copy applications can be submitted at any of the Council service centres
  • For electronic lodgements, please email to
  • Exemption certificates, if approved, will be available for inspection on the Cassowary Coast Regional Council website.

View the Fact Sheet on Exemption Certificates for more information:

Fact Sheet on Exemption Certificates

It should be noted that an exemption certificate does not remove the applicant's obligation to comply with other statutory or local government requirements for this land (e.g. building approval, concurrence agency referral, sitings).


Current Exemption Certificates

EXE19.0001 - Exemption Certificate for Operational Work for Prescribed Tidal Work (maintenance works on structural pylons of the North Johnstone cane railway bridge)

EXE22.0001 - Exemption Certificate for a Landslide Hazard and Bushfire Hazard required for a Material Change of Use for a Dwelling House (Including secondary dwelling and side boundary setback dispensation)


Other Council Approvals Required for Development:

Subsequent to receiving a Material Change of Use approval for a development from Council’s Planning Department, there may be other approvals or permits required from other departments within Council. The Required Council Approvals for Development Flowchart details Council approvals relating to various components of development that may be required prior to the commencement of the use. Please note that the flowchart functions as guide only, and further approvals may also be required including those from State departments.

It is advised, as part of the process, that Council is contacted to confirm that the use can commence and that all required approvals have been obtained. For more information, please contact Planning Services on 1300 763 903 You can also email your query to


Clearing Vegetation for Firebreaks & Fire Managment Lines:

The Planning Regulation 2017 has been amended to simpify requirements for landholders undertaking vegetation clearing for firebreaks and fire management lines. View Clearing Vegetation for firebreaks factsheet for more information


FNQROC Development Manual Amendment 2 of 2019 Adoption:

Public Notice


Other Links: