The Queensland Government is preparing a new regional plan for South East Queensland to accommodate the one million new homes projected to be needed by 2041.

This will include identifying future growth areas with a predicted need to allocate almost 20,000 hectares of new land for greenfield development.

South East Queensland

South East Queensland is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia and is projected to exceed five million residents by 2041. Centred on Brisbane, the region extends from the Gold Coast in the south to Noosa in the north, and west to Toowoomba.

The region is the administrative hub of Queensland and accommodates approximately 70% of Queensland’s population, despite representing just 1.3% of the state’s total area.

New regional plan

The Queensland government is preparing a new regional plan to support the region’s growth and prosperity. The new statutory plan will designate land for urban and non-urban purposes and include regional-specific policies to guide development.

Urban footprint

A key function of the new regional plan will be to identify future growth areas in the region through the expansion of the ‘urban footprint’. Under the existing regional plan, all of the region is included in one of the following regional land use categories:

  • urban footprint
  • rural living area
  • regional landscape and rural production area.

The urban footprint includes both existing urban areas and greenfield areas allocated for future development. The expansion of the urban footprint to accommodate future population growth will be one of the most important issues to be addressed in the new regional plan and will be critical in setting the future settlement pattern for the region.

Currently, there are very strict controls on land outside the urban footprint being developed for urban purposes, and urban development is basically confined to the urban footprint. Major changes will therefore need to be made to the urban footprint under the new regional plan to provide sufficient land to accommodate future growth.

This in turn will have potentially significant impacts on issues such as:

  • the extent to which housing will be provided through infill development of existing urban areas versus new greenfield areas
  • location of employment centres and the supply of land for retail, commercial and industrial purposes
  • protection of land for agricultural, environmental and other non-urban uses
  • infrastructure provision and cost.


The new regional plan will be potentially significant for anyone with property or business interests in South East Queensland. The new plan will be critical in identifying future development areas and the location of major employment centres and infrastructure.

Changes to the urban footprint in particular will have a major impact on landowners as will changes to the associated regulatory provisions that apply to development outside the urban footprint.

Landowners and others within the urban footprint may also be significantly affected by any changes to matters such as infill dwelling targets, employment centres and other regional plan policies affecting planning intentions for existing developed areas.

Review process

The new regional plan is currently being prepared with targeted engagement with key stakeholders. Public notification of the draft new regional plan is expected around mid-2014 with adoption of the new regional plan anticipated by early 2015.