Public submissions & submitter appeals process

What is a submission?

Members of the public can support or oppose impact assessable development applications by making a formal submission. A submission is a written statement supporting or opposing a proposed development.

Acceptable submissions

To be considered "properly made", a submission must:

  • be in writing and signed by each person;
  • include the name and address of each person;
  • clearly identify the application reference number;
  • state the grounds of the submission;
  • be received by Council during the formal public notification period.

Council needs to understand the reasons behind your submission. For example, if you think the type of development proposed for your area is unsuitable, you need to say why it is unsuitable, not simply that you do not like it.

A person who makes a properly made submission is called the 'submitter'.  All submissions are considered in the assessment of the application. Once the application is decided and the applicant appeal period has ended, a copy of the Decision Notice is sent to all submitters; or the first person on the list of 'submitters' if the submission was signed by several people (e.g. a petition).

Lodging a submission

You can make a submission in writing to:

Attention Manager Strategic Planning & Approvals
Cairns Regional Council
PO Box 359
Cairns QLD 4870

A downloadable submission form ( PDF, 0.55 MB ) is available to assist in lodging your submission. Submissions can also be emailed to

Grounds for submission

The following are examples of grounds for submissions:

  • Whether the proposed use is consistent with the intent for the area.
  • Whether the scale and design of the proposed development is compatible with surrounding development.
  • How the development addresses the street and interfaces with adjoining properties.
  • Any potential traffic and car parking issues associated with the development.
  • Hours of operation.
  • How the development may impact on drainage patterns in the area.
  • How the development fits with any objective of the planning scheme to protect and enhance the natural environment.
  • Adverse amenity impacts, such as dust or noise.

Appeal rights for submitters

A submitter for a development application may appeal to the court only against:

  • The Assessment Manager’s decision on the part of the application requiring impact assessment under section 314 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.
  • The part of the approval relating to the Assessment Manager’s decision under section 327 of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 for a preliminary approval to vary the effect of a local planning instrument.

An appeal may be against the giving of the approval or a provision of the approval including:

  • The conditions, or lack of conditions, for the approval.
  • The length of the relevant period for the approval.

When you can appeal

A submitter may only appeal against a decision by Council within the submitter appeal period, which begins after the Decision Notice or negotiated Decision Notice is given to the submitter. The submitter appeal period is 20 business days.  Council advises submitters in writing when their appeal period begins and ends.

Lodging an appeal

To lodge an appeal, a notice of appeal form must be completed and lodged with the accompanying fee to the Planning and Environment Court.

Last updated: 18 January 2018