Environmental Assessment of Major Infrastructure, Industry & Mining Development Projects, Providing a Whole-of-Govt Coordinator Service - Queensland

Service summary

The Coordinator-General is an independent statutory position that facilitates and regulates major projects that drive the State of Queensland's economic growth.

The Coordinator-General administers the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (SDPWO Act), along with the relevant Minister.

The Coordinator-General decides whether complex and important private and public projects require whole-of-government environmental coordination, and the conditions under which these projects may proceed.  To do this, the Coordinator-General assesses social, economic and environmental factors to achieve a balanced and sustainable outcome for Queensland.

Development of major projects can be complex and involve the resolution of several statutory requirements of local, state and Australian Governments.

The Coordinator-General can, if necessary, intervene in the approvals process in a number of ways to ensure timely decision-making for a prescribed project.

The Coordinator-General is also responsible for the planning, establishment and ongoing management of state development areas (SDAs) throughout Queensland. SDAs are clearly defined areas of land established to promote economic development in Queensland. They typically take the form of one of the following: 

  • industrial hubs for large-scale, heavy industry, mainly located on the coast of Queensland, in close proximity to ports, rail and major road networks
  • multi-user infrastructure corridors; for the co-location of infrastructure such as rail lines, water and gas pipelines, and electricity transmission lines
  • major public infrastructure sites; for example, the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital

In an SDA, the Coordinator-General:

  • undertakes land use planning and establishes the development assessment process for regulated development through the relevant approved development scheme
  • implements the approved development scheme
  • assesses and decides applications and requests related to development in an SDA that can be made under an approved development scheme and
  • has compulsory land acquisition powers

Each SDA is subject to a development scheme, a regulatory document that controls planning and development in the SDA. Prepared and implemented by the Coordinator-General, the development scheme ensures development in the SDA is well planned and managed.

Broadly, the development scheme:

  • identifies land uses compatible with the objectives of the SDA
  • sets out the processes and procedures for the assessment of applications and requests related to development in the SDA
  • assists in avoiding or minimising impacts to environmental, cultural heritage and community values
  • ensures orderly development

The development scheme takes into account industries that already exist in the SDA as well as surrounding land uses. It overrides local and state government planning instruments related to the use of land for development regulated by the approved development scheme for the relevant SDA.

The Coordinator-General is supported by:

Coordinated Project Delivery Division

The Coordinated Project Delivery Division coordinates the environmental impact assessment process for projects declared under Part 4, section 26(1) of the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (SDPWO Act).  This includes:

  • assignment of a senior and experienced project manager to provide a single point of contact and coordination across government
  • coordination of other government processes, infrastructure and the resolution of other approval issues
  • strategic assistance on a range of project-specific issues
  • support in liaising with the Commonwealth, state and local Governments and other statutory bodies.

State Development Areas Division

Industrial development of regional, state and national significance wanting to locate their project in Queensland may find suitable sites within the SDAs. 

The State Development Areas Division can assist with advice and infrastructure planning for these major project sites.

Land Acquisition and Delivery Division

The Land Acquisition Delivery Division uses a number of tools included in the SDPWO Act to facilitate and support major project development, economic development and jobs growth in Queensland. Legislative tools that the Coordinator-General can use to facilitate the planning and delivery of major projects include:

Prescribed projects

The declaration of 'prescribed project' ensures a timely approvals process and can, if necessary, intervene in the approvals process in a number of ways.

Prescribed developments

A resource project proposal can be declared a 'prescribed development'. For each prescribed development the Coordinator-General prepares an infrastructure coordination plan.

The Land Acquisition and Delivery Division can assist with advice and infrastructure planning for these major project sites, through the assignment of a senior and experienced project manager to provide advice on the approval process across whole of government.

Service type

Support Service

A service offered by government to aid in running a business.

Definition of terms

Coordinated project

A coordinated project must be declared by the Coordinator-General under Part 4, section 26 of the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971.  Coordinated projects were formerly referred to as 'significant projects'.

Prescribed Project
A prescribed project must be declared by the Coordinator-General under Part 5A of the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971.
State development area

State development areas are created under section 77 of the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 and are subject to a development scheme, a regulatory document for planning and development. The SDAs are listed in the State Development and Public Works Organisation (State Development Areas) Regulation 2009.

Eligibility requirements

Eligibility Criteria for Coordinated Projects

Coordinated projects are typically characterised by one or more of the following:

  • complex approval requirements involving local, state and Commonwealth Governments
  • significant environmental effects
  • large capital investment
  • significant infrastructure requirements
  • substantial job opportunities
  • strategically important to the locality, region or state.

In deciding whether a project should be declared a coordinated project, the Coordinator-General will assess the proponent's written application (the requirements for which are described in section 27AB of the SDPWO Act); and consider the matters set out in section 27 of the SDPWO Act.

Eligibility Criteria for Prescribed Project

A prescribed project is one which is of significance, particularly economically and socially, to Queensland or a region.

In deciding whether to declare a prescribed project the Minister may consider:
  • public interest
  • potential environmental effects
  • other matters considered relevant

If a prescribed project is considered to be 'critical or essential' for economic, social or environmental reasons to Queensland, the Minister may also declare it a 'critical infrastructure project'.

Eligibility Criteria for Prescribed Development

An investigation must be carried out by the Coordinator-General to determine whether the proposal should be declared a prescribed development.

The Governor in Council, may on the recommendation of the Minister, approve the Coordinator-General undertaking the investigation if it appears to the Governor in Council that:

  • the proposal will be of major economic significance to Queensland, or
  • the provision of infrastructure for the proposal would place an excessive financial burden on the state or significantly affect the state's or a local body's ability to provide services or facilities.

The Coordinator-General is required to submit the findings of the investigation to the Minister.

Fees

The declaration and assessment of 'coordinated projects' is subject to fees.

Applications and requests relating to development within an SDA are subject to fees in accordance with the State Development and Public Works Organisation Regulation 2010.

Information is available on the department's website.

Publications Details

Guidelines:

  • Coordinated projects and the impact assessment process fact sheet
  • Application requirements for a coordinated project declaration
  • Guideline for preparing an environmental impact statement

    Factsheets:

    • Prescribed Project Fact Sheet
    • Overview of fees for coordinated projects

    Publication details - State development areas

    Resources:

    • State development areas brochure
    • Guideline to state development areas fees
    • Compulsory land acquisition
    • Public consultation policy
    • Audit reporting guideline for an SDA approval
    • Compliance reporting guideline for SDA self-assessable development

    Advisory notes:

    • Applications and requests
    • Supporting information
    • Request to change an SDA application
    • Change application for an SDA approval
    • Request a later currency period for an SDA approval

    Additional information

    Under the SDPWO Act, the Coordinator-General has wide-ranging powers to plan, deliver and coordinate large-scale projects, while ensuring their environmental impacts are properly managed.

    These projects, in turn, promote economic and social development in Queensland.

    While the majority of projects managed by the Coordinator-General over the past decade have been within Queensland's significant minerals and energy sector, a large number are also in the tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.

    The Coordinator-General may:
    • declare a 'coordinated project', initiate and manage an environmental impact statement (EIS) evaluation process for public and private projects
    • lead and coordinate the environmental impact assessment of major infrastructure, tourism, agriculture, industrial and resource development projects and conduct whole of government evaluations of coordinated projects, following impact assessment
    • plan, establish and manage state development areas (SDAs) throughout Queensland to facilitate economic development
    • approve (with conditions) or reject projects or development applications on SDAs
    • acquire land and sell or lease land or easements
    • provide development and land-access rights for 'private infrastructure facilities'
    • require a local government or other entity to build a particular project (through a 'works regulation') or a group of related projects (through a 'program of works')
    • ensure compliance with development conditions
    • use 'prescribed project' powers to ensure timely decision making by local or state government agencies

    Administering agency

    Department of State Development
    Office of the Coordinator-General

    Act(s) name

    State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Queensland)

    Contact details

    Department of State Development
    Office of the Coordinator-General


    Mailing address:
    PO Box 15517
    City East, Queensland 4002

    Phone:

    07 3224 5885

    Fax:

    07 3225 8282
    info@dsd.qld.gov.au

    Website:

    Department of State Development Opens in a new browser window

    Supporting information

    Disclaimer

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