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Explained: What is a planning scheme and why it matters to you

Photo taken on the 1st August 2012. New development at Brookwater on the left of the main road and Augustine Heights on the right.

At first thought it may seem a little daunting to have your say on a citywide planning scheme.

That need not be the case. While you may not be a city planner by trade, your thoughts on how the city should grow are important.

That’s why as a two-year process to develop a new city planning scheme gets underway, council is calling on the community to have its say.

To help you get started, we’ve put together these easy to follow answers to some key questions.

What is a planning scheme?

Put simply, a planning scheme is a set of maps and documents prepared by council to guide what can be built where. It is about making sure the right development happens in the right locations.

It also helps identify infrastructure needed to support growth, includes policies and frameworks to protect Ipswich’s environment and heritage and respond to issues that impact on development and the community, such as flooding, to maintain our area’s values and way of life.

How is it used?

Whether it is an application to build a new house, a plan for 106 townhouses across three blocks or the development of a major office tower or shopping centre, it is all considered against the content of the planning scheme.

That is why it’s important the scheme reflect the community’s vision for how Ipswich should grow and develop to accommodate new residents and jobs.

The planning scheme does not guarantee development in a specific area, but rather sets out the types of development that may be suitable.

For more on how development applications are assessed read Why develop a child care centre and not a bowling alley?

Why do we need a new planning scheme?

It’s been 13 years since the current scheme came into effect. A lot has changed in Ipswich in that time.

Ipswich’s growth currently sits at a staggering 5 per cent per annum, with the city’s population expected to grow from today’s 220,000 to 520,000 people by 2041.

This unprecedented growth, as well as changes in recent years to state planning requirements, means the time is right for a new Ipswich planning scheme.

How will the scheme be developed?

The new scheme will be developed in five stages. They are:

  • Stage 1 (Where we are now): Preparation of a draft scheme, including early consultation on a Statement of Proposals incorporating the draft Strategic Framework.
  • Stage 2: Submission of a full draft planning scheme to the State Government for review and approval for proceeding to formal public consultation.
  • Stage 3: Public consultation on draft planning scheme. Results will be reported to council and then to State Government.
  • Stage 4: Final consideration of the draft planning scheme following public consultation by the State Government and approval for council adoption of planning scheme.
  • Stage 5: Adoption of the new planning scheme by council.

What is the Statement of Proposals all about?

The Statement of Proposals incorporating the draft Strategic Framework looks at the following:

  • The context in which the new Planning Scheme is being created.
  • The vision for the scheme and process for its creation.
  • A proposed overall approach and strategy direction for the whole city with supporting maps and information.
  • Proposed detailed strategies for 30 local areas (including alternative options for some areas and sites) with supporting maps that indicate likely future land zonings.
  • Information on how you can have your say and what happens next.

Why is council consulting in stage 1?

Consultation at this early stage is not required under the state’s land use planning laws.

However, council has made the decision to seek community input on the draft Statement of Proposals including an initial draft Strategic Framework as a demonstration of council’s new approach to transparency and to help council prepare a better planning scheme.

Community feedback gathered during this period will help council create the full draft planning scheme.

There will be further community consultation on the full draft planning scheme next year.

What does council want to know from you?

Council wants your thoughts and suggestions across three levels. They are:

Our city: Your views on the overall strategic direction and vision for Ipswich. Does the vision match how you want to see the city grow?

Your local area: Your views on the 30 local area planning precincts discussed in the Statement of Proposals, including your preferences for development options described for certain local areas.

Your land: Your views on proposed designations for individual land parcels, including any likely future zonings and development constraints (such as flooding and underground mining) that may apply.

Where can you find the information?

The Statement of Proposals including the draft Strategic Framework document, maps and information are available to view here.

Maps are available to view via links within the various sections of the Strategic Framework document of via the interactive mapping tool here.

When do you need to have a say by, and what’s next?

Community consultation on the Statement of Proposals is open until 4.30pm on Friday, 28 June, 2019.

Submissions can be made via email at

If you have any questions, contact 3810 7990, email or visit the counter at council’s Administration Building at 45 Roderick Street, Ipswich during office hours.

Once the feedback has been received, it will be collated and considered by council as the full draft Planning Scheme is prepared.

The full draft Planning Scheme is expected to be open for community comment next year.

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