Ipswich is one of the fastest growing areas in Queensland and continues to grow and change.

So how do we plan for this growth and change?

Planning is about the right development in the right locations both within Ipswich and South East Queensland, and making it clear what we want to protect and where development should be avoided. In order to meet the challenges for the future, while protecting and maintaining the things our community love about life in Ipswich, we need to plan where, when and how development should occur.

Council is preparing a new planning scheme, Ipswich Plan 2024, to help us plan for our growing city. Once the new planning scheme is adopted by Council it will replace the current 2006 Ipswich Planning Scheme.  Public consultation of the draft new planning scheme concluded on 16 July 2023.  Visit the new planning scheme website to learn more about the draft new planning scheme and register for project updates.

New Ipswich Planning Scheme Project - Ipswich Plan 2024

Why plan?

No city stays the same. Cities grow and change to respond to changing people, and opportunities, and respond to challenges.

Our city of Ipswich is a key regional growth area in South East Queensland that is growing and changing at a fast pace. The current population of Ipswich is approximately 247,000 people and is expected to grow to 535,000 by 2046, meaning accommodating an additional 288,000 residents. To manage this growth, we will need to generate at least 75,000 extra jobs and provide for an additional 106,000 homes, including facilitating diversity in lifestyle, housing choice, and affordability.

Planning helps to accommodate this change as Ipswich and the South East Queensland region grows. Planning for the future means understanding what our city is like now, while thinking about what we want for the future. With change, also comes opportunities. Good planning can improve our lifestyle by creating great places for people to live, work and visit.

Planning aims to manage how our city grows and changes in a way that benefits people, places, the environment, and the economy by reconciling a number of often competing interests in the wider public interest. Planning also helps to identify future infrastructure for when and where it’s needed to support sustainable growth.

Change will happen, but it often takes a long time. We therefore need to plan for it so we can manage where it happens and how it affects our community.

What is planning?

Land use planning affects your everyday life. You may not notice it, but planning has shaped the way we live today. Planning influences the places where you live, work and visit, now and into the future.

As our city grows and changes, we need to make sure there is enough land and spaces available in the right locations to support our community’s needs, and plan for enough land for housing, services and business in the areas they are needed, whilst also supporting the local economy and jobs, and protecting what we value for our future.

Planning helps to manage key opportunities and challenges facing our city including:

  • Guiding our rapid growth and change
  • Facilitating housing and lifestyle choice, diversity and affordability
  • Creating great places in which our community can thrive
  • Guiding development including managing how land and buildings are used
  • Making sure we have the right infrastructure and businesses to support our community, the economy and job growth
  • Ensuring our communities become more resilient to natural hazards such as flooding and bushfires, and human-related constraints.
  • Protecting our natural environment, green space, natural resources and heritage.

As an example, planning for housing means that we need to plan for a diverse range of housing types and varieties across a range of different locations. This ensures that our communities have the ability to choose from a mixture of places to live and lifestyle options.


Planning within Ipswich is currently led by the 2006 Ipswich Planning Scheme.  Council is in the process of preparing a new planning scheme which once adopted by council will replace the current planning scheme to help us plan for our growing city. We need to do this to meet the challenges for the future, while protecting and maintaining the things our community values in Ipswich.  You can help shape how change happens by learning more about the new planning scheme, Ipswich Plan 2024 and registering for project updates.

Who is responsible for planning?

All levels of government and the private sector play a role in land use planning, infrastructure and services needed to support our community. The state government and local councils primarily share responsibility for land use planning. The property and development industry plan, propose and undertake development to create great places, and communities contribute to shaping their futures by having their say on planning.

Who is responsible for planning

Queensland Government

The Queensland Government plans how growth will be managed across the state and regions through various plan-making tools.

State Plan-Making

The state government plans express their key state and regional interests in land-use planning primarily through the State Planning Policy and regional plans.

The State Planning Policy outlines the current state interests which guides how councils should plan for housing, economic growth, the environment, resilience to natural hazards and infrastructure. Local councils need to consider these state’s interest in their planning schemes.

Regional plans set out long-term strategies to guide growth and support future jobs specific to each region’s needs. These plans set job and growth targets while protecting each region’s liveability, natural resources and environment. The state government’s key regional interests encompassing Ipswich are set by the South East Queensland Regional Plan - ShapingSEQ

Priority Development Areas

The state government can also declare priority development areas (PDAs) to promote accelerated development opportunities focused on economic, community and social growth. The Ripley Valley Priority Development Area was declared by the Queensland Government in 2010 to support our city in meeting its growing housing needs.


The state government also set the rules for local governments and other users of the planning system to follow through legislation.  These planning rules form the process and requirements when making or changing local planning schemes, development assessment and dispute resolution.

To learn more, visit the Queensland Government's planning framework website.

Local Governments

Each local government across Queensland is responsible for the planning of their communities’ future growth and change. This long term vision and direction is set out in the local government’s local planning scheme.

Planning schemes are a legal document that the community, development industry and governments all look to in order to understand their local government’s plan for managing this future growth and change.  Planning Schemes are a rule book to help guide the range of development and change that we want to facilitate, protect the features that we want to keep and prevent things we don’t want to see.

Planning schemes help to shape our city by:

  • Managing change and growth – Plans for land for housing, infrastructure and business where it is needed and when
  • Facilitating different housing options – Encourages a variety of different homes to be built to suit different people
  • Guiding how development happens – Provides the framework against which development applications are assessed
  • Planning for resilient communities – Maps out natural hazards and human-made constraints including flooding and bushfire overlays to reduce risks to the community
  • Creating great places for people – Uses zones and overlay maps to make sure the right activities and buildings go in the right places
  • Infrastructure where it is needed – plans for necessary infrastructure needed to support sustainable growth in the right places and infrastructure is built where it is needed in a cost-effective manner
  • Protecting the environment and greenspace – Identifies and protects our natural environment, waterways and wildlife
  • Protecting what’s special – Protects what’s most important about our city and way of life
  • Considering community views and aspirations – formulated with community input

Property and Development Industry

The property and development industry can consist of private companies, small developers (including individuals and one-time developers), and not-for-profit groups.

The property and development industry must follow planning requirements and development assessment processes when building on or using their land. Good developments can help us grow sustainably and deliver jobs and growth that are needed for our community.

Local planning schemes outline how your area could grow and change in the future, and the development industry plays an important role in bringing that to life.


The community can play a key role in shaping their future by getting involved and commenting on state, regional and local plans as well as some proposed developments.

Unfortunately, many in our community only get involved in the planning process once a development application has been made, development is underway, or land has been sold for development. At these times, it is often too late to have a real influence on what should and should not happen in an area. The best time for the community to express their views is with the preparation of a new planning scheme or amendment to our city’s planning scheme.

What is a planning scheme?

Each local government prepares and maintains its own planning scheme as the main ‘rule-book’ for determining what new developments should occur in their local government area and how. The planning scheme achieves this by planning for and regulating what development should occur where and when, how development should occur and what assessment process is required.

Local government are the main entity responsible for assessing proposed developments triggered by the planning scheme and use the requirements outlined in their planning scheme to assess proposed developments. Council’s current planning scheme, being the 2006 Ipswich Planning Scheme can be viewed by following the link.

Under Queensland planning legislation, a planning scheme cannot prohibit development by stopping a development application from being made, even if the proposed development is not compatible with the requirements of the planning scheme’s intent for the area. The development application must be accepted by council even if there are concerns about its consistency with the planning scheme or the community’s aspirations. This means that almost any development proposal can be put forward to council to be assessed against the provisions of the planning scheme on a case-by-case basis.

Planning schemes are also an evolving document that are continually reviewed to ensure that they respond to the changes in the community and planning circumstances, with a major review generally undertaken every 10 years. Local governments develop planning schemes, including any proposed major changes, in consultation with the community and with the involvement of the state government as the approval authority.

Council is currently in the process of preparing a new planning scheme for the City of Ipswich called Ipswich Plan 2024. Further information on the new planning scheme project is available on council’s Shape Your Ipswich webpage.

What makes up a planning scheme?

Planning schemes are developed in accordance with planning legislation being the Planning Act 2016 and Planning Regulation 2017, and generally contain consistent elements across Queensland.

The elements of a planning scheme include:

Strategic frameworkSets out the planning scheme’s overarching policy direction for future development across the city.
  • Zones divide the city into groups which designate land for a particular range of purposes (e.g. residential, industrial, rural) and include codes that outline the assessment criteria for each of the zones.
  • Precincts may also be identified within part of a zone, and these precincts provide more specific planning considerations.
  • Sometimes purposes are mixed to reflect the way in which our communities develop, for example it is common to have a small corner store in a residential area.
Local area frameworks or plans
  • Identifies areas of the city with a particular local identity and provides a more detailed localised policy intent in addition to other broader planning considerations.
  • Are a suggested focus area for community review.
  • Overlays identify areas that have unique characteristics which require further planning consideration when a development is proposed.
  • These characteristics may relate to natural hazards such as bushfire, flooding or landslides, contain a value such as biodiversity or heritage, or a constraint such as proximity to an airport, key resource area or motorsports precinct, and are identified over a site through overlay mapping.
  • This part includes the codes which outline the assessment benchmarks for each of the overlays.
Assessment categories
  • This part identifies whether a development application is necessary for each type of development.
  • Where an application is required, the categories of development and assessment also specify the codes and benchmarks the development may be assessed against.
Development codesDevelopment codes include specific assessment benchmarks for types of development, such as ‘reconfiguring of a lot’ applications or specific ‘material changes of use’ proposals (i.e. home based business, tourism, rural activities).
Planning Scheme Policies (PSPs)Planning scheme policies provide information the council may request for a development application and provides guidance or advice about how an applicant can satisfy assessment benchmarks.
Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP)This part outlines the city’s long-term infrastructure planning, which ensures that trunk infrastructure is planned and provided in an efficient and orderly manner. The LGIP integrates land use and infrastructure planning and states the desired standard of service for each trunk infrastructure network.

The planning scheme for the City of Ipswich covers the entire Ipswich local government area, however development within certain areas is governed by legislation and other statutory instruments, such as the declared Ripley Valley Priority Development Area and the area covered by the Springfield Structure Plan.

How does planning affect you?

Planning influences the places where you live, work and visit, now and into the future.

The planning scheme guides new development on what land can be used for (e.g., apartments, shops and industry) and how land may be developed (e.g., construction of a new building or subdividing land into smaller lots), to help achieve the local government’s intent for managing growth and change across the city.

While a planning scheme does not take away existing lawfully established development, it can affect changes to those developments. It can also influence what you or others can and can't develop or build on a property. The planning scheme also sets out the rules for development such as building heights, boundary setbacks and carparking requirements.

That’s why it is important to understand what planning controls affect you and where you live, and to get involved to have your say on planning to shape your Ipswich, and importantly your neighbourhood.

More information about development applications within your area can be found by visiting council’s Development.i

To find out what planning controls affect a property or area, visit our current 2006 Ipswich Planning Scheme or check out our online planning scheme mapping

You can also check out more about how the new planning scheme may affect your property or area, or to register for project updates by visiting the Ipswich Plan 2024 project webpage.

Get involved to shape your Ipswich

There are many ways you can get involved in what is planned for your local area, city or region. By providing your feedback, you are contributing to shaping our city, and helping guide council on decision making and planning for the future.

Want to know more about what’s happening or changing in your local area or region?

To find out more information about development applications in Ipswich and within your area, including making a submission or commenting on an application, visit Development.i

To find out more about or register your interest in future opportunities to comment on council projects in Ipswich, including the development of the Ipswich Plan 2024, click this link to help Shape Your Ipswich.

You can also go to the Queensland Government’s website to learn more about what the state government is planning for our region, visit haveyoursay.dsdilgp.qld.gov.au

More information

For more information, please contact our friendly planning team by: