06 Aug 2015

A new line in the sand for coastal planning in Queensland

by Trina Gledhill, Kathryn Pacey

A proposed new coastal management district could mean that development on additional lots will trigger assessment under the Sustainable Planning Act.

The Queensland Government has recently released draft maps of the "coastal management district" (CMD), an area declared under the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995, within which certain development will trigger assessment under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld).

The background to the new draft coastal management district mapping

The release of the draft CMD mapping follows the release of revised coastal hazard maps, which have been amended to reflect a projected sea level rise of 0.8 meters to 2100. The revised coastal hazard mapping came into effect on 8 July 2015.

The draft CMD maps would reflect the new erosion and storm tide inundation mapping by including the additional lots identified as being subject to permanent inundation by tidal water due to sea level rise

Similar mapping was in effect in 2012, but was changed by the previous government.

What are the implications of land being included in the coastal management district?

Certain development within the CMD will require additional development assessment under the Sustainable Planning Act.

These developments include:

  • Operational works, such as tidal works, interfering with quarry material, disposing of dredge spoil, or constructing an artificial waterway and removing or interfering with coastal dunes;
  • Material change of use of premises;
  • Reconfiguring a lot.

In assessing a development application, the assessment manager will have regard to the matters contained in the State Development Assessment Provisions. There are significant restrictions on development that may occur in the CMD. In particular, the erosional prone areas in a coastal management district are generally required to be maintained as development free buffers.

There are certain minor works which do not trigger assessment, for example, carrying out certain types of alterations to existing lawful boat ramps, bridges, pontoons, slipways, wharves and jetties.

Proposed changes to the coastal management districts: the details

According to information published on DEHP's website:

  • The draft mapping retains the existing CMD mapping in its current form, but includes additional lots where permanent inundation by tidal water is expected to occur from sea level rise.
  • Generally only lots in proximity to tidal water (creeks, rivers or the open coast) are included.
  • Lots which may be inundated, but occur well inland from the coast, or those lots with relatively minor areas of inundation, are not included.

Regional scale coastal management district maps can be downloaded, or alternatively information on a particular lot can be obtained by requesting a free property search.

Next steps for the proposed changes

The Queensland Government is accepting submissions on the proposed CMD until 5.00pm on Monday 14 September 2015. The proposed schedule for finalising the revised CMD mapping after the submission period has not been released.

If you're an owner of land located within the revised CMD boundary, you should consider making a submission on the draft mapping. If you're intending to develop your land, you should also be thinking about the timing for lodgement of any development application.


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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.