Planning Scheme Review Project

As part of stage 2 of the Planning Scheme Review Project, Council sought community feedback on the Fraser Coast Planning Scheme 2014 as part of an overall review of the planning scheme. While submissions for stage 2 of the project closed Friday, 13 November 2020, you are welcome to submit feedback at any time throughout the Planning Scheme Review Project (via the discussion paper, email, a letter).

This Discussion Paper identifies the planning scheme's current policy framework and new trends that are shaping our region. The paper sought feedback on whether changes are required to the planning scheme to ensure that it aligns with new trends and community priorities over the next 20 years.

All feedback provided has now been recorded and will be analysed and consolidated into a Planning Scheme Review Outcomes Report, which will provide responses to key planning issues and will be made available on engagement hub in early 2021. The purpose of the paper is to look at the how the planning scheme functions, represents the communities expectations and delivers development outcomes, it is not intended to focus on individual property zoning or development proposals.

  • Planning Scheme Review Process

    The planning scheme review project consists of four key stages expected to take approximately 3 years to complete

  • Stage 1 (December 2019 - August 2020)

    Demographic trends analysis - view the report here

  • We are here > Stage 2 (September 2020 - February 2021)

    Discussion paper and planning scheme audit - view the discussion paper here

  • Stage 3 (March 2021 - December 2021)

    Planning scheme amendment drafting - view the Amending the Planning Scheme - Fact Sheet here

  • Stage 4 (January 2022 - December 2022)

    Formal amendment and adoption process - view the Amending the Planning Scheme - Fact Sheet here

Current Directions in the Fraser Coast Planning Scheme 2014

The Fraser Coast Planning Scheme sets out the preferred land use strategy for the region.  It seeks to achieve ecological sustainability and better outcomes for people, places, the environment and the economy.  Council is seeking input on whether the current planning scheme should be changed to better shape development of the region over the next 20 years.

The planning scheme applies to all land in Fraser Coast Regional Council including all premises, roads, internal waterways and local government tidal areas (refer Figure 1).  The planning scheme affects how people can develop land in the region by allocating land into zones and by identifying areas affected by overlays or local plans, where special provisions apply. 

Specifically, the planning scheme identifies which land uses (e.g. units, shops, industry) and types of development (construction of a new building and subdividing land) require development approvals and the standards that new development should meet (e.g. building setbacks and height and addressing natural hazards like flood and bushfire).

Economic Development

The planning scheme is an important enabler of economic development as it supports business innovation, investment and industry growth.  Planning plays a critical role in achieving economic growth by encouraging traditionally strong industries, including health care and social assistance, construction, manufacturing, tourism and agricultural sectors, while also supporting new and emerging sectors to grow and prosper.  Effective and responsive planning helps to provide the right conditions for growth across all parts of our economy. It can facilitate the availability of well-located and serviced land for business and industry.

The planning scheme provides significant employment opportunities in Maryborough, focused on industry and manufacturing, aviation and marine industries, retail and government services. Hervey Bay supports further growth in tertiary education, aviation, tourism, health, retail and service related industries.

Settlement Pattern

Fraser Coast region’s mainland area has rural and coastal towns and villages, set within a farming hinterland and fringed by the world-renowned Hervey Bay coastline and Great Sandy Strait. 

The Fraser Coast region is characterised by a range of vibrant and diverse coastal and rural towns and villages, which are serviced by the two major regional population centres of Hervey Bay and Maryborough. There is a hierarchy of centres established within the Fraser Coast, with services and facilities provided at a scale commensurate with the role and function of each centre.  Maryborough (CBD) and Pialba in Hervey Bay are the Principal Activity Centres, with District (Rural and Coastal) centres located at Burrum Heads, River Heads, Tiaro and Howard.  District (Urban) Centres are located at Eli Waters (Boat Harbour Drive), Doolong Flats (Rasmussen’s Road), Torquay (Denmans Camp Road) and Urangan (Boat Harbour Drive and Elizabeth Street).  Specialist Activity Centres are located adjacent to the Hervey Bay Airport and at the Urangan Boat Harbour.  Tourism Activity Centres are located on the Esplanade at Pialba, Scarness, Torquay and Urangan.

The physical form and structure of development within urban areas results in the creation of communities that have a compact urban form and walkable neighbourhoods, enjoy a variety of transportation options, incorporate natural landscapes and promotes diversity of housing whilst respecting the character of the diverse places within the Fraser Coast.

A significant proportion of future urban growth within the Fraser Coast is accommodated within identified urban expansion areas. These areas represent sustainable development opportunities and align infrastructure delivery with land use planning.  Urban expansion occurs within the identified urban expansion areas of Doolong Flats/Ghost Hill, Eli Waters/Dundowran, Kawungan North East, Nikenbah, St Helens, Granville, north of Boys Avenue at Maryborough, Burrum Heads and Howard. Rural residential development will continue to be recognised as a lifestyle choice for residents in the Fraser Coast, with further development being located within existing identified Rural Residential areas.

The design of buildings and urban spaces responds to the sub-tropical climate of the Fraser Coast and addresses key sustainability issues including energy and water efficiency. Locally responsive built form and urban design enhances the image of the Fraser Coast as an attractive and interesting place in which to live, visit and conduct business.

Community Wellbeing

The quality of life and community wellbeing of residents of the Fraser Coast will be enhanced through appropriately located and designed neighbourhoods and community activity areas. Healthy and strong communities are promoted through the provision of active transport and open space networks and by providing inclusive, safe and comfortable environments for residents within which to live, work and play. To meet community needs of people at all stages of their life and in various economic circumstances, a diverse range of housing types will be provided on the Fraser Coast.

Social infrastructure, community facilities and services are fundamental building blocks to creating complete communities.  Human and civic assets provided on the Fraser Coast will create the social and economic legacy for current and future generations and will promote a higher degree of self-reliance for the region.

The provision of suitably located and designed open space and recreation areas is fundamental to building complete communities and will help to ensure that the Fraser Coast is maintained as a highly attractive area in which to live, work, play and visit.

Fraser Coast has many known and potential traditional owner cultural heritage sites. Fraser Coast and Maryborough in particular, is also known for its post-settlement history and cultural significance comprising of historic buildings, places, precincts and streetscapes which contribute to the character of the region.

Ecological Values and Landscape Character

Fraser Coast is internationally recognised for its unique environmental values. The area contains important habitat and biodiversity values at an international, national, state and local level, including coastal dune systems, wetlands and remnant vegetation. Protection of these ecologically important areas is vital in order to maintain biodiversity values within the region, including near-threatened species such as the koala, humpback whale and migratory birds.

In addition to Fraser Island, the Fraser Coast mainland takes in an extensive area of coastline extending from Burrum Heads in the north to the inlet of Tin Can Bay in the south. This coastal environment, with its associated beaches, dunes, foreshores, estuaries, rivers and coastal streams strongly influences the character, lifestyle and environment of the Fraser Coast.

The significant role that scenic amenity and landscape character plays in defining the unique character and identity of the Fraser Coast, including its individual communities, is recognised.

The waterways and wetlands of the Fraser Coast provide habitats for many fauna species and an important recreational, scenic amenity and water supply resource. To protect these values, regard must be given to surface water and groundwater quality and environmental flows.

Climate change has the potential to impact on the natural and built environment and these changes should be reflected in the management of development.


The provision of an efficient and well-integrated transport system to service the Fraser Coast is essential to community wellbeing and economic prosperity. The provision of an integrated transport system promotes more sustainable transport modes, including public transport and active transport.  The provision of an efficient and reliable public transport system on the Fraser Coast will help to reduce dependency on the private motor vehicle and ease pressure to upgrade road networks to cater for increased traffic volumes over time.

In recognition of substantial health, social and environmental benefits, it is important to support and encourage active transport (walking and cycling) use on the Fraser Coast. With its relatively flat topography, favourable climate and scenic amenity values, the Fraser Coast is an ideal place to walk and cycle.

The efficient and effective movement of freight is essential to sustaining economic activity and development within the Fraser Coast. The identification and protection of strategic elements of the freight movement network will help to ensure the ongoing ability to support and promote the local economy.

The ongoing operation of the Hervey Bay and Maryborough airports is protected in recognition of the important role that they play in connecting the Fraser Coast to other regions both in terms of passenger and freight movement as well as their general aviation functions.

Infrastructure and Services

The planning and delivery of infrastructure aligns with the pattern of settlement for the Fraser Coast, meets the needs of the community and is provided in a logical, timely, efficient and sustainable manner. In addition, major infrastructure corridors and sites should be identified and afforded protection to maintain the operation and efficiency of existing and planned networks.

The planning and delivery of water, wastewater and stormwater services across the Fraser Coast should be viewed as an integrated water cycle management system. Such an approach offers the opportunity to reuse and recycle to maximise the availability of water as a precious and finite resource. Development needs to incorporate effective water cycle management to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of the Fraser Coast community and the environment.

The region is well serviced by essential energy infrastructure. Energy use occurs in a more sustainable manner, through development maximising opportunities to incorporate energy efficiency alternatives reducing dependency on energy from non-renewable sources. Access to efficient, modern and high quality telecommunications and information technology infrastructure helps connect the dispersed communities of the Fraser Coast and provides access for the region to State, National and Global economies.

The projected population growth of the Fraser Coast will generate an increased volume of waste and increased pressure to upgrade or provide new waste management and recycling services and facilities. Minimising the production of waste and maximising opportunities for reuse and recycling will help to alleviate these pressures and enhance the overall sustainability outcomes of the Fraser Coast.

The provision of adequate emergency services and infrastructure is necessary to support the planned growth of the Fraser Coast and promote community safety and wellbeing.

Natural Hazards

Given the diversity of physical and environmental settings within the Fraser Coast, the region is vulnerable to the potentially adverse impacts of a range of natural hazards including flood, bushfire, landslide and coastal hazards including any impact of climate change. Development needs to be appropriately located and designed in order to minimise the risks associated with these hazards.

In assessing the potential adverse impacts of natural and coastal hazards, the predicted effects of climate change are taken into account.

Figure 1.  Fraser Coast Regional Council Map (Source: Intramaps, Fraser Coast Regional Council).

Planning Context

Why Review the Planning Scheme?

A planning scheme should be periodically reviewed and updated to ensure it remains relevant and reflects current trends, policy and community expectations. The State's Planning Act 2016 requires that planning schemes be reviewed every 10 years. Previous background studies including the Sustainable Growth Strategy date back to 2010/2011, and as such it is timely to consider whether the assumptions and policy directions in the current planning scheme require revision.

Copies of all the background documents which informed the drafting of Fraser Coast Planning Scheme 2014 can be found on Council's website here. Since the adoption of Fraser Coast Planning Scheme 2014, Council has also undertaken a range of other projects that have relevance to, and should be reflected in, the planning scheme:

  • Active Transport Strategy;
  • Airports Master Plan;
  • Hervey Bay Central Business District - Urban Renwal Master Plan;
  • Coastal Hazard Adaption Strategy;
  • Drones Strategy 2018-2023;
  • Economic Roadmap;
  • Esplanade Master Plan;
  • Open Space Strategy (under development);
  • Rural residential Land Strategy;
  • RV Strategy;
  • Small Community Plans;
  • Smart Communities Strategy;
  • Water Infrastructure Study;
  • Water Quality Strategy (Draft);
  • Flood Risk Management Framework (under development); and
  • Vegetation Management Framework (under development).

You can view Council's current and completed projects here.

Queensland's Planning Framework

Planning Legislation

The Planning Act 2016 establishes a system of land use planning and development assessment to facilitate the achievement of ecological sustainability.  It provides for the making of the State planning instruments (State Planning Policy and Regional Plans) and local planning instruments (including planning schemes), to regulate planning and development assessment.  In most cases, the local government is responsible for assessing and deciding development applications, however the State may also be involved, if State interests are potentially affected.  The State interests in development applications are set out in the Planning Regulation 2017.

The following flowchart (refer Figure 1) provides a high level overview of the State's planning system as it applies to Fraser Coast.

Figure 1. Overview of the State's Planning Framework.

State Planning Policy

The State Planning Policy (SPP) sets out the State’s interests in land-use planning and development across Queensland. The State Government works with Councils to ensure that the State interests are adequately reflected in their planning schemes.  The SPP outlines 17 state interests, arranged under five broad themes, as detailed in the following diagram (refer Figure 2).  The SPP does not prioritise one State interest over another.  It instead acknowledges the way State interests are applied will vary between, and within, regions and local government areas, and will depend on environmental, economic, cultural and social factors.

Figure 2. Overview of State Planning Policy.















Further information on the SPP and supporting guidelines can be found here.

Regional Plans

Regional plans support growth and development in the regions while protecting each region’s natural resources.  Council must consider the Regional Plan when preparing and amending the planning scheme.  The Wide Bay Regional Plan commenced in 2011 and is currently being reviewed by the State Government.  Visit the Queensland Government website to find out more.

How does the planning scheme fit in?

The planning scheme is a statutory document, which guides growth and development in the local area.  It must consider State planning interests, as well as local matters, and is a collaborative effort between the State Government, Council and the community.  To the extent of any inconsistency, a State planning policy prevails instead of a regional plan and a regional plan prevails over a planning scheme. 

Further information on the Queensland Planning framework can be found here.