Operational Works



The Planning Act 2016 defines Operational Work as "work (other than plumbing, drainage or building work) in, on, over or under premises that materially affects premises or the use of premises".

Operational Work is a type of development that is regulated by Council in accordance with the Western Downs Planning Scheme incorporating Amendment 1.

What is Operational Work?

To construct new infrastructure, modify existing infrastructure or to carry out earthworks, you may need to apply for an Operational Work Permit. Examples of Operational Work include, but are not limited to:

Filling and Excavation

You may need a development approval to fill or excavate a site, including the removal or importation of material to or from a lot.  It is also relocation of material within a lot that will change the ground level of land.   

This applies to earthworks on residential, commercial, industrial, or rural allotments.  If a site is identified as High or Extreme Flood Hazard, a higher level of assessment is required, which may include the need for a Flood Impact Assessment to be undertaken.

Providing Infrastructure to Council, such as:

  • Stormwater
  • Water
  • Sewerage
  • Roads
  • Upgrades to Council services as a result of a development approval  


Earthworks over 500m3 in the Rural Zone triggers an Operational Work application under the Planning Scheme, which includes the construction of dams. 

Taking or Interfering with Water

If an application for Operational Work involves the taking or interfering with water and is assessable development under the Planning Scheme, the applicant will then be required to refer the application to the State Assessment and Referral Agency as part of the development assessment process as a Referral Agency. 

You can find more information on taking of overland flow on the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Waters website below: 


It is recommended that all applicants proposing to take or interfere with water, contact the local officer of the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water before lodging a development application with Council.  Local business centre contacts for the Department can be found by accessing the link below:  


When Is Operational Work Required?

Development Approval for Operational Work is required when the proposed work is:

  • a conditional requirement as a result of a Planning Approval (for example Material Change of Use or Reconfiguring a Lot) and/or;
  • for Operational Work that is not covered under the definition of "Minor Operational Work" in Schedule 1 of the Western Downs Planning Scheme incorporating Amendment 1. Council can provide further direction as to when an Operational Work application is required.

How to Apply for Operational Work 

A development application for Operational Work must be accompanied by:

  • a correctly completed DA Form 1 applying for Development Permit for the relevant type of operational works (current version);
  • Engineering Drawings prepared by an appropriately qualified Engineer (Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland);
  • specialty Engineering Reports (if required) such as, but not limited to a Stormwater Management Report;
  • a Flood Impact Assessment prepared by Water Technology Pty Ltd if Council's Development Engineer advises that it is required for the application (for example, if earthworks are proposed in a Flood Hazard Area illustrated by the Flood Hazard Overlay mapping of the Planning Scheme);
  • assessment demonstrating compliance with the Operational Works Code and any applicable Overlay Codes of the Planning Scheme; and
  • the relevant application fee in accordance with Council's current Register of Cost Recovery Fees and Charges.

It is recommended that you engage a qualified Engineer with experience in the type of work you are undertaking to prepare your application to ensure that Council is able to process the application quickly and without unnecessary delay. To find a suitably qualified engineer for your development, it is recommended that you visit the Registered Professional Engineers of Queensland (RPEQ) website for a directory of qualified engineers.   

Operational Work Applications can be lodged in person at Council's Customer Contact Centres, via post or via email.

Advertising Devices

Some types of signs (Advertising Devices) are covered under the definition of "Minor Operational Work" (in Schedule 1 of the Western Downs Planning Scheme incorporating Amendment 1) and therefore do not require Operational Work approval.  

In all other circumstances, Advertising Devices are considered to be Code Assessable Operational Work under the Western Downs Planning Scheme incorporating Amendment 1, and you will need to submit a Development Application seeking approval from Council.   

Driveways (Accesses) 

Driveways generally do not require Operational Work approval.  However, if a driveway is proposed to access a road maintained by Council and is not approved as part of a previous Operational Work approval, an application must be submitted to Council's Infrastructure Services Department.  Contact Council to find out if your new driveway requires an approval.  

There may also be requirements to conduct work in a Council road reserve, as well as for work related to vehicle access to a State-controlled road.  An approval from the Department of Transport and Main Roads will be required if the new driveway is to gain access to a State-controlled road (main road).