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Development application process

Development applications are assessed under the Planning Act 2016 and the Development Assessment Rules.

The development application assessment process begins after an application has been lodged and the City determines the application to be properly made.

Part 1: Application

Properly made application

When preparing your application you must meet the requirements of Section 51 of the Planning Act 2016 for your application to be considered properly made. If the application does not meet the identified criteria, assessment may not be able to start.

Applications must be:

  • lodged in the relevant approved forms to the assessment manager
  • accompanied by the required fee
  • lodged with written consent of the owner (where applicable)
    • Please note: the State Government have an applicant template with the information required for obtaining owner's consent from an individual and/or company.
  • accompanied by the documents required under the approved form.

Refer to Do I need development approval for more information.

Confirmation notice

The assessment manager will issue a confirmation notice within 10 business days of lodgement of a properly made application for:

  • impact assessable applications
  • variation requests
  • applications that require referral.

The assessment manager may issue a confirmation notice within 10 business days for a code assessable applications that do not require referral.

If an action notice has been given, the assessment manager will issue a confirmation notice within five business days after the applicant gives notice that the action notice has been complied with.

Part 2: Referral

For applications that require referral, an applicant must give a copy of the application and confirmation notice (if applicable) to the referral agencies within 10 business days after Part 1 (Application) has ended, or a further period agreed between the applicant and the assessment manager.

The applicant must also notify the assessment manager within five business days, once the material has been given to each referral agency.

Part 3: Information request

An applicant can elect whether Part 3 (Information request) will apply, unless the application:

  • is for an environmental authority
  • is for a decision under section 62 of the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994
  • includes a variation request
  • is for assessable building work.

An applicant can elect to not receive an information request in all other instances when lodging their development application.

If Part 3 (Information request) does apply, the assessment manager or referral agencies may request the applicant to provide further information via an information request.

Part 4: Public notification

Under the Planning Act 2016, certain applications are required to be publicly notified. To make a submission on a development application, visit Have your say on a development application.

For more information relating to making a submission on a development application, visit the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning website.

Adjoining land owner request form

The adjoining land owner's request service is provided under the Planning Act 2016 to an applicant of a development application requesting the details of owners of adjoining properties for the purpose of public notification.

Find the link to the Adjoining land owner request form below.

Part 5: Decision

Council decisions and informing the outcome of a decision

The application is assessed by the assessment manager who prepares a report and recommendation to approve or refuse the application. The assessment manager issues a decision notice to the applicant within five business days of the decision being made and advises any applicable referral agencies or submitters of properly made submissions of the decision.  

The decision notice sets out the terms of the decision, appeal rights and conditions of approval or in the case of a refusal the reasons for the refusal. This information is available on PD Online.

Negotiated decisions

In accordance with the Planning Act 2016, the applicant has a 20 business day appeal period where the applicant may suspend the appeal period to lodge a request for a negotiated decision notice.

The request must be lodged within 20 business days of suspending the appeal period. If Council agrees with any of the representations, it must give a negotiated decision notice. If Council does not agree with any representation, it must give a notice stating the decision about the representations. This information is available on PD Online.

Most development approvals also have development conditions.

Part 6: Changes to an application

When an application is still undergoing assessment, the applicant is able to make minor changes to the development application without affecting the development assessment process.

The applicant may also make changes to the development application without affecting the development application process:

  • as a result of dealing with a matter raised in a properly made submission; or
  • in response to an information request; or
  • in response to further advice provided by an assessing authority.

Any other changes to an application whilst it is still undergoing assessment may have an impact on the development assessment process.

Part 7: Miscellaneous

An application may lapse if the applicant does not carry out the following actions in the timeframe prescribed under the Development Assessment Rules. An applicant must:

  • properly refer the application to a relevant referral agency and advise the assessment manager
  • correctly publically notify the application
  • give notice of compliance to the assessment manager for the application requiring public notification.

An applicant may stop the clock (stopping a current period) for any part of the development assessment process, unless the application:

  • has lapsed
  • is not properly made
  • is in response to a show cause or enforcement notice
  • is in the public notification period.


After the City of Gold Coast has made a decision on an application, an applicant or eligible submitter to the application may appeal against the decision. These appeals are generally dealt with in the Planning and Environment Court, although certain matters may be appealed to a development tribunal.

Related information

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