Submitting an Operational Works Application

Application associated with a Planning Approval

Once a Development Permit (for a Material Change of Use and/or Reconfiguring a Lot) has been received, you may be required to lodge a further application for a Development Permit (Operational Works) under the Planning Act 2016.

It is important to read the conditions of approval carefully.  In some instances where works under the approval are internal to the site and can be managed under an associated building approval, no further Operational Works application is required. Where works are external to the site and impact Council infrastructure or the roadway (including the verge and paths), then a separate Operational Works application must be lodged with Council.

Standalone application (not associated with a Planning Approval)

A Development Permit for Operational Works is required for activities such as:

  • Any proposed modification of the road reserve;
  • Filling and/or excavation activities;
  • Stormwater/water/sewer connections;
  • First driveway (where it does not conform to the FNQROC Development Manual specifications);
  • All second driveways;
  • Landscaping;
  • Vegetation damage (street trees and trees within the property boundary in some circumstances); and
  • Illuminated signs.

The above are examples of activities impacting Council infrastructure that may not be linked to a Development Permit for Reconfiguring a Lot/Material Change of Use.

The planning scheme CairnsPlan 2016 identifies when Operational Works approvals are required and the corresponding category of assessment.  Refer to the Far North Queensland Regional Organisations Council (FNQROC) for helpful information and checklists.

Written approvals from referral agencies and other stakeholders are required prior to lodgement. These can include:

  • Department of Transport & Main Roads (DTMR);
  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF);
  • Department of Environment and Science (DES);
  • Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME);
  • Ergon Energy;
  • Landowner's consent for works in/on land not owned by the Applicant/Developer; and
  • Others as necessary.

Applicants must ensure that all engineering drawings and specifications submitted for approval are checked, approved and signed by a registered professional engineer.

Useful resources

The following resources may be useful in preparing your Operational Works proposal for assessment:

Engineering Best Practice Guidelines
Tools by other essential service authorities
Cairns Regional Council forms

What should I provide?

For works involving engineering elements such as roads, paths, driveways, sewer/water/stormwater and earthworks, a properly made application should include:

  1. Cover letter
  2. DA Form 1, obtained from Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP);
  3. Statement of Compliance for Operational Works Design, obtained from Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQROC);
  4. Plans (to scale) in support of the application, including but not limited to:
    • Plans illustrating the functional layout;
    • Road/stormwater/sewer/water/landscaping works including vegetation protection;
    • Removal/excavation/fill earthworks; and
    • Erosion and sediment control.
  5. All supporting information required to assist with the assessment of the development application (such as geotechnical reports, acid sulfate soil reports, engineer's reports, hydraulic reports, arborist reports, traffic management plans/guidance schemes, visual impact assessments, revegetation/remediation plans);
  6. An assessment against the planning scheme CairnsPlan 2016;
  7. Payment of relevant application fees, (please refer to Development Fees & Charges.  More than one fee may apply for applications that cover multiple application types); and
  8. Payment of the relevant bond for works on roads.  The Development Assessment - Receipt Sheet ( PDF, 0.1 MB ) is completed when payment for the application is made.

The Operational Works application should be a standalone application whereby all relevant plans and information referred to is supplied together for assessment.  The Operational Works application should not have to rely on other applications already submitted or reports yet to be obtained from other sources.

In cases where the proposed works are to commence years after the initial application was made, some specialist reports (such as geotechnical reports) may no longer be relevant due to potential changes in ground conditions and other environmental factors.

Where can I lodge my application?

Cairns Regional Council requests that applications be lodged electronically, with accompanying plans be submitted in an unlocked and flattened PDF format.

For applications lodged electronically or by mail, Council requests that payment be made over the counter at Customer Service.  Please note that emailed applications will not be accepted.

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

This office is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm weekdays (excluding public holidays)
By MailCairns Regional Council
Attention: Manager, Strategic Planning & Approvals
PO Box 359
By EmailPlease contact Council's Planning Approvals team at for instructions on how to pay via credit card and lodge the application via email.
By OnlineDevelopment Applications Online Portal
Last updated: 14 September 2020