Development Applications are assessed against a heirarchy of rules. These start at the State Government level and flow down to Douglas Shire Council’s Policies

Development rules have a hierarchy, starting with state government legislation and then stepping down to Douglas Shire Council’s rules.

State Government rules

The State Government sets the high level rules for planning and building:

  • Sustainable Planning Act 2009 – provides the legislative framework for Douglas’ planning and development assessment system. Council is obliged to follow the processes set out under the Act for making and amending the planning scheme and assessing development applications.
  • The Far North Queensland Regional Plan – provides broad direction for issues, such as managing regional growth. In Far North Queensland it is prepared by State Government in conjunction with local government and the community. Council is obliged to reflect these regional rules in its planning scheme.
  • State Planning Policy (SPP) – this policy sets out State Government’s requirements for particular development related matters.


Council Rules
Council incorporates State Government requirements with Council’s own rules and assessment criteria to manage growth and change in the Douglas Shire. These rules are set out in the Douglas Shire Planning Scheme 2008.  The rules also reflect the community’s expectations for future development.