Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Development Plan Consent is assessed by a planning officer who considers the Development Application against the provisions of the relevant Development Plan and processes the Development Application in accordance with any procedural requirements set out in the Development Act 1993 and the Development Regulations 2008.

It is recommended that applicants refer to the Development Plan before making an application. If you are considering submitting a Development Application for a more complex form of development (e.g. land division, commercial, medium density residential etc.) it is suggested that you engage with Council’s planning officers to ascertain pre-lodgement advice which will assist you in understanding the types of information required and the issues that may need to be considered and addressed.

Building rules assessment is the second stage of the Development Approval process and involves the assessment of building plans for compliance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA), various Australian Standards, and other relevant Council and State requirements. This ensures the building will be structurally sound if built or amended in accordance with the approved plans.

Building rules assessments involve the surveying of plans for compliance with the following matters:

  • Structural adequacy
  • Fire safety
  • Health and amenity
  • Energy efficiency
  • Access for people with disabilities

When lodging a Development Application you can elect to have your building rules assessment undertaken and approved by either a private building certifier or through council's Building Department

The Building Code of Australia is reviewed on an ongoing basis with amendments introduced depending on the impact they have on the safety, health, amenity and sustainability in the design, construction and performance of buildings.

State and Territory Variations and Additions

Each State’s and Territory’s legislation adopts the BCA subject to the variation or deletion of some of its provisions, or the addition of extra provisions. These variations, deletions and additions are contained in appendices to the BCA for each State and Territory.

The Building Code of Australia usually amended every year to contain the changes approved by The Australian Building Codes Board.

The Rural City of Murray Bridge uses checklists for the different classifications of the building based on the requirements of the Building Code of Australia to check applications lodged with Council (other than those privately Certified) requiring Development Building Rules Consent.

Development Approval is required to divide land into separate blocks or allotments or to move boundaries.  See Development Information Guide - Land Division for more information.

Development Approval for a land division application normally requires the granting of both a Development Plan Consent (more information above) and a Land Division Consent.

Land Division Consent, as a general rule, involves consideration of the infrastructure elements that may be associated with a land division, such as the creation of a driveway crossover, stormwater management infrastructure, or in the case of more substantial land division proposals, the creation of new public roads and footpaths.

The level of infrastructure required with each land division proposal varies depending on the individual circumstances of each proposal.  It most cases, when infrastructure is required to be constructed as a result of a land division, the applicant or proponent is required to fund the infrastructure.

When considering a land division proposal that will create additional allotments it is critical that you engage with Council’s planning officers early in the process to ensure you can be made aware of possible infrastructure considerations that may impact your proposal.

You will need to submit to Council the following:

  • a completed Development Application Form
  • the relevant documents/plans (for more information on specifically what is required please refer to Fact Sheet 5 or discuss your proposal with Council’s planning officers)
  • pay the development application fee
  • a current (issued within 1 year) Certificate of Title for the land

If the need for further documents becomes evident during assessment, you will receive a letter requesting the provision of further information.  Assessment of an application cannot proceed until the complete set of required documents is provided.  If you do not provide the requested information your application will normally be refused.

For Development Plan Consent, each development application will fit into one of three classes which affect the way that the application is processed:

  • Complying - if the proposed development meets the criteria listed as complying in the Development Plan or specified in the Development Regulations 2008, Development Approval must be granted
  • Merit - if the proposed development is not specified as either complying or non-complying, it is individually assessed on merit having regard to the relevant Development Plan policies.
  • Non-complying - if the proposed development is listed in the Development Plan as being a non-complying form of development, only in circumstances where the proposal does not compromise the intent of the Zone, the Development Act provides an opportunity for the assessment of an application.  See Development Information Guide Non-complying Development

An application should be lodged every time you wish to undertake development. Development is defined in the legislation and refers to a range of activities associated with building work, changes to land use, advertising signs, land divisions and community title divisions etc. It may be a small domestic structure or a larger commercial project, but an application is necessary either case.

The best way to find out if you require development approval is to check with one of Council's Development Assessment Officers.

There are set time limits in which councils are obliged to make decisions.  The Rural City of Murray Bridge endeavours to process all applications in the quickest time possible.  If the application must be referred on to other bodies, or additional information is require from the applicant, the decision will be delayed.  Thorough preparation before lodging your application will ensure efficient processing.

Complying development will normally take approximately 10 business days for a decision to be made.

Merit applications typically take between 6-8 weeks depending on the complexity of the application, however please note that and referrals to other agencies, public notification requirements or complicated infrastructure considerations may result in lengthier assessment time frames.

Non-complying development requires the concurrence of the State Commission Assessment Panel together with, more often than not, referrals to other agencies and public notification. Accordingly the timeframe applicable for non-complying development is normally approximately 6 months.

Non-complying development requires the concurrence of the State Commission Assessment Panel together with, more often than not, referrals to other agencies and public notification. Accordingly the time frame applicable for non-complying development is normally approximately 6 months.

This is not pemitted. Under the Development Act 1993, a fine of up to $120,000 applies for undertaking work without Development Approval.  In some cases you may be required to remove the structure if it has been built without Development Approval at your own cost.

Depending on the type of application Council may be obliged to give people likely to be affected by development an opportunity to make comment (also known as a representation).

The Development Regulations 2008 and/or the Development Plan set out the types of development where people have this right available to them.  The extent of the notification is determined by the Development Act 1993.

See Development Information Guide - Public Notification for more information.

What happens if I don’t like to decision of the relevant authority, or if I am unsatisfied with the way my application or query has been handled?

Appeals

Depending on the type of application that has been lodged with the relevant authority, a right of appeal does exist against a decision that has been made. Appeal rights can generally be summarized as follows:

  • An Applicant (a person who has lodged a development application or is seeking approval) has a right of appeal against a processing decision of the relevant authority and a decision of a relevant authority (including the imposition of conditions) unless the application was for a non-complying form of development;
  • A Representor (a person who has lodged a valid representation as part of a Category 2 or 3 public notification process) has a right of appeal against the decision of the relevant authority where a development application was subject to Category 3 public notification; and
  • An Interested Person (a third party who has a demonstrated interest in the proposal) has an appeal right against a decision of a relevant authority with respect to the nature of development, the classification of a development application or the level at which a development application is publicly notified.

Other appeal rights may exist and some appeal rights are affected by the processing requirements that are applicable to a development application. Further information on appeal rights can be obtained by:

  • Reviewing Section 86 of the Development Act 1993;
  • Reviewing the information contained on the rear of the Decision Notification Form once a decision on a development application has been made by Council (note: other relevant authorities may have different information contained on their Decision Notification Forms);
  • Contacting the Environment, Resources and Development Court on (08) 8204 0289 or
  • Contacting Council planning staff, a planning lawyer or a planning consultant.

Complaints

If you feel aggrieved with the way your application, representation or query has been handled by a member of Council’s Development & Regulation Business Unit there are two options to enable you to lodge a complaint.

Initially you can lodge a complaint with the Council in accordance with the Council’s Complaints Management Framework, available here. A majority of all complaints are addressed and resolved through this process.

In addition to lodging a complaint with the Council, should you remain unsatisfied with the response, Section 103 of the Development Regulations 2008 provides persons with a right to make a complaint to the Minister for Planning relating to development plan or building work assessment. The relevant sections of Regulation 103, together with the process that is followed, are noted below:

103—Complaints relating to development plan or building work assessment

……

(2) A person may make a complaint to the Minister about a private certifier or council if the person believes—

(aa) that the private certifier or council has failed to comply with, or acting in contravention of, the Act, these regulations or a Development Plan with respect to any matter associated with any assessment, decision, permission, consent, approval, authorisation, certificate or process that relates to the assessment of any proposed residential code development; or

(a) that the private certifier or council has failed to comply with, or acted in contravention of, the Act, these regulations or the Building Code with respect to any matter associated with any assessment, decision, permission, consent, approval, authorisation, certificate or process that relates to building work (or proposed building work), or the classification or occupation of a building; or

(b) in the case of a private certifier—that the private certifier has failed to comply with, or acted in contravention of, a code of practice.

(3) A complaint must—

(a) be in writing; and 

(b) contain particulars of the allegations on which the complaint is based; and 

(c) be verified by statutory declaration. 

(4) Except with the express permission of the Minister, a complaint must not be lodged with the Minister more than 6 months after the day on which the complainant first had notice of the matters alleged in the complaint.

(5) The Minister may require the complainant to give further particulars of the complaint (verified, if the Minister so requires, by statutory declaration). 

(6) The Minister may refuse to entertain a complaint or, having accepted a complaint for investigation, may refuse to continue to entertain a complaint, if it appears to the Minister— 

(a) that the complainant does not have a sufficient interest in the matter to which the complaint relates; or 

(b) that the matter raised in the complaint is trivial; or 

(c) that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious or is not made in good faith; or 

(d) that it would be more appropriate for proceedings to be initiated in a court or tribunal constituted by law; or 

(e) that there is some other good reason not to proceed (or to proceed further) with the matter under this regulation. 

(7) If a complaint is against a council— 

(a) the Minister must initially refer the matter to the council for consideration (or further consideration) and report; and 

(b) the Minister may, on the basis of a report under paragraph (a) (and in addition to the powers of the Minister under subregulation (6)), decide not to proceed with the matter under this regulation. 

(8) The Minister must inform the complainant of a decision under subregulation (6) or (7)(b) and the reasons for it. 

(9) Subject to the operation of subregulation (6) and (7), the Minister must, after receiving a complaint— 

(a) refer the matter to an authorised officer for investigation and report; and 

(b) by written notice—inform the private certifier or council of the reference of the matter to an authorised officer (including, in the case of a private certifier, information about the nature of the complaint). 

(10) The authorised officer must conduct an investigation into the complaint as soon as practicable after the matter is referred under subregulation (9). 

(11) The authorised officer must give the private certifier or council a reasonable opportunity to make representations to the authorised officer about the complaint. 

(12) The authorised officer may (in addition to the powers of an authorised officer under section 19 of the Act) require— 

(a) the private certifier or council; or 

(b) the complainant, to provide to the authorised officer any document or other information relevant to the investigation of the complaint (verified, if the authorised officer so requires, by statutory declaration).

(13) If during an investigation the authorised officer is satisfied that there is matter about which another complaint could have been made against the private certifier or council, the authorised officer may, after consultation with the Minister, deal with the matter as part of the investigation as if a complaint had been made about the matter. 

(14) The authorised officer— 

(a) may report to the Minister at any stage of an investigation; and 

(b) must present a written report to the Minister at the conclusion of an investigation. 

(15) The Minister must supply the complainant and the private certifier or council with a copy of a report presented under subregulation (14)(b). 

(16) The Minister may, on the receipt of a report under subregulation (14)(b)— 

(a) decide to take no further action on the complaint; or 

(b) discuss the matter with the parties in order to attempt to resolve the issues between them; or 

(c) if the complaint has been made against a private certifier— 

(i) caution or reprimand the private certifier; 

(ii) make recommendations to the private certifier; 

(iii) impose conditions on the registration of the private certifier under regulation 93A; 

(iv) determine that the registration of the private certifier under regulation 93A should be suspended or cancelled; 

(v) disqualify the private certifier from registration under regulation 93A for a specified period or until the fulfilment of specified conditions; or 

(d) if the complaint has been made against a council—refer the matter to the council for further consideration, with or without recommendations; or 

(e) refer the matter to another person or authority, with a recommendation for further inquiry or action. 

(17) A determination under subregulation (16)(c)(iii), (iv) or (v) will have effect according to its terms and without the need for further inquiry by the registration authority under regulation 93A. 

(18) However, before taking action under subregulation (16)(c), (d) or (e), the Minister must give the private certifier or council (as the case may be) a notice in writing— 

(a) stating the proposed course of action; and 

(b) stating the reasons for the proposed course of action; and 

(c) inviting the private certifier or council to show, within a specified time (of at least 10 business days), why the proposed action should not be taken. 

(19) The Minister must inform the complainant of the outcome of the complaint under subregulation (16).

(20) The Minister, an authorised officer or any other person or body conducting an investigation or other proceeding under this regulation is under no duty to rectify a problem involving a building or building work identified or reported as a result of the performance of a function under this regulation.