Have your say on a Development application

Submissions and submitter appeals

A submission is a written statement made to Council which outlines your objection to all or part of a publicly notified application and/or support for all or part of a publicly notified application.

When assessing a proposed development, Council must take into consideration matters raised in a properly made submission.  Highlighting specific issues through a submission, provides Council with a better understanding of the likely impacts of the proposal and may require the developer to make changes to their original concept.

Making a submission during the nominated time periods also gives you the legal right to appeal Council’s decision on a development application through the Planning and Environment Court.

What types of applications are required to be publicly notified

Submissions can be made on a proposed development listed within the CairnsPlan as ‘impact assessable’.  Normally, these are complex developments, or those that Council thinks might impact on neighbours or be potentially unsuitable for an area.  Developments that are straightforward, or considered generally suitable, are listed as ‘code assessable’.  You cannot make a submission on these applications.

Public notification must be undertaken for a minimum of 15 business days (30 business days for an application that includes a variation request).

The notification period must not include any business day between 20 December of a particular year and 5 January of the following year.

Where to find out about a Development application

To find out about a proposed development go to Council’s website and look for the ‘Development Application’ online tool.  Click on ‘Search Existing Applications’, enter the address or lot description of the property or alternatively you may search by the application reference number (found on the corflute sign or public notice in the paper).

If a formal request for approval, called a development application, or DA, has been submitted to Council, you will be able to access the application and all supporting information, as well as correspondence between Council and the applicant.

When to write a submission

A submission cannot be made at any time.  There are statutory timeframes when assessing a development application and it is only within the Public Notification phase that a submission can be lodged with Council.

During this phase a submission can be lodged at any time until 5pm of the last day of the notification period.

Should your submission be received outside this time, your submission will be accepted and considered by Council however, you will not receive rights to appeal.

What is a 'properly made' submission

A ‘properly made’ submission is one that:

  • Is in writing and received by mail or email;
  • States the development address it relates to;
  • Is signed by each person who made it (unless it is made electronically);
  • Is received during the notification period (i.e. during the days stipulated in the public notice);
  • States clearly the name and address of each person making the submission; and
  • States the grounds (reasons) for the submission.

Additional information to assist Council in processing the submission is appreciated:

  • Includes facts and circumstances supporting the grounds (reason for the submission);
  • Includes the Council file/reference number (if known); and
  • Is addressed to Council’s assessment manager (if known).

If you lodge a submission and it is considered NOT ‘properly made’, the submission may be considered by Council’s Assessment Manager, however, you will not be permitted rights to appeal.  When a submission is made to Council, receipt of your submission will be given, however Council will not necessarily advise whether the submission is properly made or not.

Is my submission confidential?

No, submissions are not kept confidential and will be made available to the general public.  Your submission is posted on Council’s webpage through our ‘Development Application’ online tool.  Your name and address will also be published within the appendix of the Decision Notice.

Can I withdraw my submission?

Yes, you can withdraw your submission at any time before the decision is made, even if it is not a properly made submission.  The person who made the submission may, by written notice:

  • amend the submission during the notification period; or
  • withdraw the submission at any time before a decision about the application is made.

What happens after the Decision?

Once Council has made a decision about the application and your submission was considered ‘properly made’, a copy of the Decision Notice will be posted or emailed to you.

If you signed your name in a petition, only the ‘principal’ petitioner (i.e. the person that signed their name first or identifies themselves as the contact person) will receive a copy of the Decision Notice.

If you disagree strongly with the decision made by Council, you may make an appeal against the decision to the Planning and Environment Court.

When can you 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.

How do I lodge my submission?

By Person

Over the counter at Council's main Customer Service Centre
119-145 Spence Street
CAIRNS   QLD  4870

This office is open from 8am to 5pm weekdays (excluding public holidays)

By MailCairns Regional Council
Attention: Manager, Strategic Planning & Approvals
PO Box 359
By Email


By OnlineDevelopment Application submission

Last updated: 16 June 2020