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The Queensland Government is now in caretaker mode until after the state election. Minimal updates will be made to this site until after the election results are declared.

The State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) charges development assessment fees for assessing a matter of interest to the state triggered under schedule 6 or 7 of the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009.

Please note that it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the correct fees are paid to enable an application to be properly made. A full copy of the fees is available in part 3, division 3 (Fees) and schedule 7A of the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009.

The state government's development assessment fees were presented in the Review of Queensland's development assessment fees – Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (Decision RIS) (PDF icon 1.2 MB).

Refund of fees

Under some circumstances SARA fees may be eligible for a full or partial refund. Straightforward circumstances that may warrant a refund include:

  • applications incorrectly referred or lodged
  • fees inadvertently overpaid
  • withdrawn applications (refund subject to assessment stage when withdrawn).

SARA will also consider refunds on a case-by-case basis for a limited range of scenarios such as:

  • an application has already undergone, or is undergoing, a similar or duplicated assessment process
  • development is proposed by a local government or state government department and is in the public interest
  • when an application is triggered more than once for essentially the same assessment by the state.

The current legislation does not allow for the waiving or discounting of SARA fees at the point of lodging applications (other than for registered non-profit organisations). Full fees, as specified in the regulation, must therefore be paid at the time of lodging an application.

All refund requests must be made by applicants to SARA case officers at least several days prior to a SARA assessment manager decision or referral agency response being issued. Requests for refunds should desirably be made soon after applications have been properly made to SARA. SARA will not give consideration to requests for refunds on applications after SARA decisions have been made or SARA referral responses have been issued.

Note: If you are seeking a refund for an application lodged under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, please be advised that refunds can only be processed via EFT, regardless of the original payment method. SARA case officers can assist you in completing the process to receive a refund. Refunds for applications under the Planning Act 2016 can either be processed back to credit cards or via EFT (based on the original payment method).

Further information

For more information please contact your regional office.

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On 3 July 2017, Queensland started operating under new planning legislation – the Planning Act 2016. Information on this page relates to the previous legislation – the Sustainable Planning Act 2009. Learn more about the new planning system.