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How Long Does the Development Assessment Process Take?

Much like any other property developer, you must be eager to get a response on your DA the moment you submit it. But often, it takes longer than a few days to get an answer. Read on to learn how long the procedure takes for each state. 

Development assessment is the essential step towards granting development permission for a project. That’s why all development applications undergo this process, regardless of the state or region in Australia. And some rules apply to all parties involved, including you as the applicant, the assessment managers, referral agencies, etc. 

But the real question is, how long do you need to wait until this process is over?

This is a rather complicated question that doesn’t have a simple answer. It’s because whether or not your application takes weeks or even months to assess depends on several factors. And most have to do with the way the assessment process is organised and the quality of the application. 

This article shares how DA assessment works across states and gives relevant information about the process. 

New South Wales

During the development assessment stage, the NSW Council considers all relevant plans and policies, impacts of the proposal on the environment, social and economic factors, site sustainability, broader public interest, and more. 

Once you lodge a development approval with the council in NSW, it will take them between 21 and 90 days to make a decision. Most approvals are received within 40 days, but the delivery can vary depending on the requests for information (there are 21 days for the applicant to submit more information if needed). 

The process can also take longer in the case of integrated developments where proposals require approval from different government bodies. 


There are three categories of developments in Queensland: prohibited developments (can’t make a DA), assessable developments (DA required), and accepted developments (DA not required). 

The development assessment process in Queensland consists of five parts:

  1. Application – up to 10 business days. A multi-disciplinary team reviews the application and allocates it to an assessment manager.
  2. Referral – up to 40 business days. Ten days are needed to transfer the material to the referral agency, five days for the agency to confirm the application and as many as 25 days for the assessment period. 
  3. Information request – from 10 business days to three months. It takes 10 days after the end of the “Application” part for referral assessment or council and up to three months for applicant response before lapsing. 
  4. Public notification – up to 15 business days. In some cases, the applicant or the representative has to make public notification of the DA. 
  5. Decision – up to 40 business days. Thirty-five days are for the council to make the decision and five days for the assessment manager to notify the applicant.

The development assessment process doesn’t always include all parts mentioned above (except for Parts 1 and 5 that always apply). Whether your project needs to undergo Parts 2, 3, and 4 depends on particular circumstances that apply to your development proposal or site. 

The sixth step is “Appeals”, which candidates have a right to according to the Planning Act 2016. 

South Australia

The new system called “Planning, Development, and Infrastructure Act 2016” in South Australia determined timeframes according to which development needs to be assessed. 

Development applications that require planning and building consent consist of the following stages:

  1. Application lodge
  2. Agency referrals
  3. Public notification
  4. Planning assessment and decision
  5. Building consent 
  6. Building decision
  7. Full development approval

All assessment types undergo a verification period of five business days. But it can take longer for performance assessed developments if the assessment authority asks for additional information on behalf of the applicant. 

Usually, the applicant has 12 weeks to provide more information. 

The waiting time for the planning consent can be anywhere between five to 95 business days (the latter being for restricted assessments where public notifications are required). 

As for the building consent, the waiting time is between 30 and 70 business days, depending on the class. 

Finally, for the land division consent, the waiting time is 60 business days. 


Once you lodge an application in Victoria, the planning officer checks it and advises on further steps if necessary. Then, the council or the Minister for Planning (in some cases) assesses the application. This can also include public notification and notifying others about the process. 

It’s worth mentioning that applications that qualify for VicSmart have a limited involvement of external parties. VicSmart is a faster way of assessment for easy planning permits that include a 10-day process of applications that aren’t advertised. 

You can qualify for this application if your proposal is one of the state application types, meets all criteria, and is located in a particular zone. You can find more details about VicSmart here

The steps in the application assessment process are as follows:

  1. Notice of a planning application 
  2. Public inspection 
  3. Talking about the application with applicants and neighbours 
  4. Making a submission 
  5. Planning referrals 
  6. Making the decision 

In the state of Victoria, the Council has 60 days to decide on the application. If it fails to do so, applicants can apply to VCAT for a review. 

If the 60-day limit approaches, applicants can ask their council planners about the recommendation, whether the decision will be made, or why there has been a delay. 

However, most councils in the state normally decide before the due date to avoid hearings.

The Wait Is Worth It

The reality is that the development assessment process often takes longer than any developer would want. 

However, this is a necessary step to ensure your project is in accordance with the laws, rules, and expectations of the community. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you can proceed with your application free from concerns. 

Regardless of the state in which you wish to start a project, be prepared to wait at least three weeks from start to finish. But you can apply for special programs that allow faster development assessment, depending on the project type and state. 

And if you need help finding and assessing profitable sites within a matter of minutes, you can do so on the Archistar platform. 

Download our 1-Click due diligence reports to discover details about a site in one report, everything you need to know including zoning, overlays, planning controls, sales history, valuation estimates, and references to government documents. This will help improve the chances of your development application being approved.

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