New SARA guidance

Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP), in collaboration with Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) has published new guidance material approaching state assessment processes.

State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) Basics and SARA Information Requests (IR) and Further Advice Notices (FA)have been provided by the State Government to eliminate confusion about the assessment process between SARA and DTMR.

What is clear from these two documents is that:

  • SARA endeavours to utilise Further Advice notices to establish a dialogue with applicants about significant issues with the application
  • Applicants need to use the nominated DSDMIP case officer as the primary point of contact for any queries about a ‘live’ application
  • Applicants should not make contact directly or independently with representatives from technical agencies
  • The DSDMIP case officer will organise for meetings between the applicant and technical agency representatives to occur in a timely manner, if it will be beneficial to the assessment of application
  • Technical agencies are to be contacted directly once the application is no longer ‘live’. For example, where permits are required by pieces of legislation under DTMR or conditions by SARA to seek other permits
  • SARA aims to issue Information Requests only where it feels that additional information, reports, studies and the like are necessary to inform its assessment.

Members will recall the Institute sought feedback from all development professionals across Queensland calling on their interactions with DTMR. The Institute received an overwhelming amount of comments from all regions in Queensland. These ranged from general communication and coordination items, to more technical items, such as civil and traffic engineering.

As a result, the Institute and DTMR now regularly meet through an established working group discussing items raised by members. In responding to feedback, DSDMIP has collaborated with DTMR to resolve and make clearer issues surrounding the coordination and communication with development applications that trigger state controlled items, such state controlled roads.

The Institute strongly encourages members to continue to provide your feedback to us, and even directly to DTMR or DSDMIP. The next working group will be held over the next quarter.

Any questions relating to the new material or to provide additional feedback, please contact Policy Executive, Robert Tily.