Development applications

Development Application Online is a self-help service that allows you to lodge a Development Application or view and track applications at a time that is convenient to you without having to visit or contact Council.

COVID-19 Response Investment Incentive Policy

Council has adopted the COVID-19 Response Investment Incentive Policy - effective 12 August 2020 until 30 June 2022.

The Policy aims to support small scale development, such as those being considered by “mum and dad” investors, where infrastructure charges may be a barrier. In doing so, it will provide an economic stimulus for the Cairns development and construction industries and local employment across the region.

Read more and check your eligibility for the COVID-19 investment incentive.

Planning Act 2016

Please note that the Planning Act 2016 comes into effect on 3 July 2017. Applications lodged prior to 3 July 2017 will continue to be assessed under Sustainable Planning Act 2009 in accordance with sections 285-289 of Planning Act 2016.

References to the Sustainable Planning Act will be changed and updated to the Planning Act 2016 in due course.  Information on the new Planning Act 2016 can be found at

Please note that the CairnsPlan 2016 was prepared under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and therefore refers to outdated terminology and categories of development. Please refer to the fact sheet on the CairnsPlan 2016 and the new Planning Act 2016 ( PDF, 0.32 MB ) for guidance on how to interpret the CairnsPlan 2016 from 3 July 2017.

DA Online: technical issues

Council's DA Online site is experiencing intermittent technical issues.

Uploading attachments with your application:  Please combine all documents into a single file prior to uploading to our website. Ensure any password protection is removed from your file.

If you lodge an application but do NOT receive a confirmation email, please email your details to as soon as possible to ensure that your application is processed in a timely manner.

Understanding development

Information about development types, levels of assessment, applicable zoning and overlays. More

Making a development application

A guide to help you prepare and lodge a properly made application, plus information on Council's pre-lodgement service and fast-track application service for simple, well made applications. More


Under s46 of the Planning Act 2016, Council may provide, in limited circumstances, an exemption from a development application. An application to Council is required. More

Development Applications online

Development Applications Online (DA Online) is Cairns Regional Council's online lodgement and viewing portal. More

Infrastructure charges

Cairns Regional Council Infrastructure Charges Resolution (ICR) contains the infrastructure charge rates for development. The ICR can be found here. More

Siting dispensation (Referral Agency assessment)

Council acts as a referral agency for building works that involve variations to site coverage, building heights and design under the Queensland Development Code and CairnsPlan 2016. More

CairnsPlan 2016 Property Reports

Use our free online tool to access planning information about properties in the Cairns region. More

Have your say on a Development application

A submission is a written statement made to Council which outlines your support or objection to a proposed plan or new development. More

Please note

  • Cairns Regional Council provides an online DA lodgement and payment service to ensure continuity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Council's online DA lodgement and payment service is for Cairns Regional Council only and does not include any State requirements or referrals (eg MyDAS).
  • Acceptance of an application lodged via Council's online DA service may not constitute a properly made application. This is to be determined by Council during normal working hours.
  • Cairns Regional Council ensures all new development applications are available online. However applications made prior to 1 January 2012 may not be available online.
  • If you need help finding information on a Development Application that is not online please contact Council's Customer Service Centre on 1300 69 22 47.
Last updated: 19 August 2020