SARA (State Assessment and Referral Agency) – what happens now

Yesterday, 1 July 2013, saw the launch of the State Assessment and Referral Agency (also known as SARA) which is a result, and key component, of the planning reform undertaken by the Queensland Government. SARA has been introduced with the intention of contributing to the creation of the most efficient and effective development assessment system within Australia.

So what is the role of SARA in our development assessment system?

As broadly identified by the DSDIP (Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning) ‘SARA will deliver a coordinated, whole of government approach to the state’s assessment of development applications’.

Previously if there was a trigger for involvement of a state referral agency an application would be provided to that agency (such as Department of Transport and Main Roads or the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection etc).

Now, with SARA operational, applicants and town planning consultants have a single lodgement and assessment point for any development application where the state has jurisdiction.This is not required for all development applications, but only those where a state agency needs to be consulted due to a trigger which requires assessment of a proposal under its jurisdiction.