Assessment

Application fees

The SCL fee structure is based on a full cost recovery model and is incorporated into the new Strategic Cropping Land Regulation 2011.

View the fee structure fact sheet (PDF, 85K)*.

SCL validation

The process for validating strategic cropping land (SCL) is provided for in chapter 2, part 2 of the Strategic Cropping Land Act 2011 (SCL Act).

A validation application can be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) to confirm whether an area of land is or is not SCL.

Once a validation application is accepted by DNRM, the application undergoes a public notice and submissions stage.

The applicant must publish an application notice in a newspaper that generally circulates in each of the local government areas that may be affected by the application. This gives the public an opportunity to review and provide comment on the technical details of the application.

The application is assessed, along with any submissions. DNRM then makes a validation decision as to whether the land subject to the application is SCL or non-SCL.

Please note: Prior to the validation decision taking effect, any one who has received an information notice about the SCL validation decision have the legal right to appeal that decision in court.

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Resource development assessment

Any resource activities that will have a permanent or temporary impact on SCL or potential SCL must be assessed under the SCL Act.

It is an offence under sections 76–77 of the SCL Act to carry out resource activities that will have a permanent or temporary impact on SCL or potential SCL unless the impacts of the development have been permitted through a resource authority. 

SCL requirements are built into the environmental authority application processes, to streamline assessment processes as much as possible.

View the resource approval factsheet for more information on how the legislation intersects with the various resource Acts.

There are two assessment pathways available to resource proponents proposing to undertake resource activities on SCL or potential SCL—the standard conditions code or a protection decision.

SCL standard conditions code

The standard conditions code simplifies the SCL compliance framework for certain resource activities that have a temporary impact and pose a relatively low risk of adversely impacting on SCL.

Refer to the standard conditions code for the full list of resource activities that are authorised under the code.

SCL protection decision

Resource activities that cannot comply with the standard conditions code must apply for an SCL protection decision, and are assessed and conditioned under chapter 3, part 4 of the SCL Act.

Development assessment under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009

The State Planning Policy 1/12: Protection of Queensland’s strategic cropping land (SPP1/12) has been replaced by a single State Planning Policy. The single State Planning Policy is available on the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning website.

Certain developments involving material change of use and reconfiguring a lot need to complete IDAS form 35 - Strategic cropping land.

From 1 July 2013, the development assessment component is administered by the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) using the State Planning Assessment Provisions (SDAP).

The chief executive of DSDIP is the assessment manager or referral agency for all development applications where the state has an interest, such as strategic cropping land.

Development applications are to be prepared and lodged through DSDIP’s new online SARA system called MyDAS. SARA will provide a single point of contact.

Find out more about SARA.

Exceptional circumstances

Proposed developments will not be permitted to permanently impact SCL in a protection area except in demonstrated 'exceptional circumstances'.

Developments that will be considered to be an exceptional circumstance will be rare and uncommon.

To be considered an exceptional circumstance, the development proponent must demonstrate that:

The benefits may include a social or community service, or an economic benefit to the State that overrides the need to protect SCL resources from permanent impacts.

Developments that are assessed as exceptional circumstances are still required to make all efforts to avoid and minimise any impacts on SCL, and mitigate any permanent impacts.

The Strategic Cropping Land Regulation 2011 prescribes major renewable energy projects as a type of development considered to be exceptional circumstances development, recognising the inherent significant community benefit derived from these types of development.

However, it does not exempt these projects from the Act. These projects will still be required to avoid and minimise any impacts on SCL to the greatest extent possible, and mitigate any permanent impacts.

Please note: If the proposed development is a declared or undecided coordinated project, the application form and fee must be made to the Office of the Coordinator-General. For all other types of projects, the application form and fee must be made to DNRM.

Impact assessment

Different development assessment rules apply in the protection and management areas.

Protection areas

If the proposed development falls within a protection area, land that is confirmed as SCL against the criteria will not be able to be permanently impacted, except in limited exceptional circumstances.

If DNRM decides the land is SCL, you will be required to avoid and minimise to the maximum extent possible, any temporary or permanent impacts on identified SCL.

If SCL cannot be avoided, temporary development may proceed if SCL can be restored to its pre-development condition. If SCL cannot be avoided and will be permanently impacted, the development can only proceed in limited exceptional circumstances.

If the project is determined to be an 'exceptional circumstance', the applicant will still be required to make all efforts to avoid and minimise any temporary or permanent impacts on SCL and mitigate any permanent impacts.

Management area

If the proposed development falls within the management area (and the land is confirmed as SCL and has a history of cropping), the applicant will be required to avoid and minimise, to the maximum extent possible, any temporary or permanent impacts on identified SCL.

Where this is not possible, resource development proponents will be required to mitigate any permanent impacts.

In the case of developments under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, if SCL cannot be avoided, temporary development may proceed if SCL can be restored to its pre-development condition. If SCL cannot be avoided and will be permanently impacted, the development may only proceed if it is determined that there is an overriding need for the development. The applicant will still be required to mitigate any permanent impacts.

Temporary and permanent impacts

A temporary impact on SCL will endure for up to 50 years and prevents cropping during that time. Examples may include drilling or wells under a resource. The land can be restored to its former SCL status.

A permanent impact on SCL will endure for 50 years or more, and prevents cropping during that time or in the future. Examples may include:

The SCL Act sets out the types of activities that will be deemed as those that temporarily and permanently impact SCL.

For urban developments under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009,the State Development Assessment Provisions provides information and guidance on activities that temporarily and permanently impact SCL.

Mitigation arrangements

Developments in the management area and some transitional projects will be required to mitigate any permanent impacts on SCL to ensure Queensland's agricultural cropping productive capacity is maintained.

Developments in the protection areas that are determined to be an exceptional circumstance will also be required to mitigate any permanent impacts.

These developments will be required to avoid and minimise, to the maximum extent possible, any impacts on identified SCL. Where this is not possible, the development proponent will be required to mitigate their impacts.

However, mitigation cannot be substituted for the requirements to avoid and minimise impacts on SCL, or to restore any temporary impacts.

These mitigation provisions ensure that where development is permitted on SCL, the permanent impact of the development does not lead to a loss of productive value.

The Strategic Cropping Land Regulation 2011 prescribes the rate for determining the mitigation value in each zone and sub-zone.

Transitional arrangements

Chapter 9 of the SCL Act provides transitional arrangements for resource projects that did not have the necessary approvals when the SCL Act commenced on 30 January 2012.

Proposed resource development projects that have met certain milestones in the assessment process may be allowed to proceed on SCL, but those that do not have final environmental approvals will still be required to avoid, minimise and mitigate any impact on SCL.

Resource development projects that are not well advanced in the approvals process and occur on SCL or potential SCL will be subject to the full effect of the legislation.

View the guide to transitional provisions for resource authority applications (PDF, 63K)*

Any environmental authority amendment application lodged before 30 January 2012 that is undecided, or any future amendment to the environmental authority for a resource tenure may result in the SCL Act being triggered.

Overriding need

Proposed developments under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 in the management area need to avoid SCL. If SCL cannot be avoided, temporary development may proceed if SCL can be restored to its pre-development condition.

If SCL cannot be avoided and will be permanently impacted, the development may only proceed if it is determined that an overriding need exists for the development where it provides a public benefit and no other site is suitable for the particular purpose.

Permanent impacts on SCL must be mitigated.

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Last updated 3 December 2013

Strategic cropping land