Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area

Mackay_Waterfront_Main_LogoAbout the Priority Development Area

The Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area (PDA) became effective by regulation on 25 May 2018.

The PDA is approximately 172 hectares and is centrally located within the Mackay urban area and includes land and water along the southern side of the Pioneer River, including the City centre core, and extends east to the adjacent coastal water frontage along Binnington Esplanade (Town Beach).

The PDA is in close proximity to the Mackay Airport, major road infrastructure (Bruce Highway and Peak Downs Highway) and the Port of Mackay.

The Mackay Waterfront PDA was declared to establish the necessary policy framework to support the intended development and community outcomes for the area. The PDA provides opportunities to redevelop the Pioneer River and Binnington Esplanade waterfronts; establishing a precinct for innovation and knowledge based industries; promoting the City centre as a key business hub; and providing exciting and activated streets, places and attractions that improve the city’s liveability, tourism appeal, and investment attraction.

Mackay Regional Council is responsible for planning and development assessment within the PDA and stakeholders are encouraged to contact council if they are seeking information about the PDA.


Mackay Waterfront PDA regulatory framework

The Economic Development Act 2012 (the Act) provides for a streamlined planning and development framework for PDAs to facilitate economic development, and development for community purposes. Once a site is declared under the Economic Development Act 2012, a development scheme for the PDA must be prepared.

Until the PDA development scheme is finalised, development within the PDA is regulated under the Mackay Waterfront PDA Interim Land Use Plan (ILUP).

Development assessment

Prior to lodgement, applicants are encouraged to contact council to organise a pre-application meeting to discuss conceptual and detailed design proposals. While this is an informal process, pre-application discussions allow developers and the development assessment team to work together under a streamlined assessment process. For a pre-lodgement meeting please contact council via the online pre-application meeting request form.

PDA Development Applications can be lodged to council via the application portal, email, post to the Mackay Regional Council Development Assessment Team, PO Box 41, Mackay QLD 4740, or in person at the Mackay Customer Service Centre at 73 Gordon Street, Mackay.

The relevant development form must be completed and submitted with the PDA development application:

For all development enquiries, please either submit an on-line enquiry via, email, call 1300 622 529, post to the Mackay Regional Council Development Assessment Team, PO Box 41, Mackay QLD 4740, or visit the planning advice counter at the Sir Albert Abbott Administration Building, 73 Gordon Street, Mackay

PDA Development Application fees and charges

PDA Development Application fees are in accordance with council’s Mackay Waterfront PDA Development Application Fees and Charges, which are the same as council’s adopted Cost Recovery Fees and Charges 2017-2018.

Development infrastructure charges are in accordance with council’s Adopted Infrastructure Charges Resolution.

Mackay Waterfront PDA FAQs


Who will prepare the Mackay Waterfront PDA development scheme?

The development scheme will be prepared by Mackay Regional Council in consultation with Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) and other state agencies.

In accordance with section 59 of the Economic Development Act 2012, preparation of the development scheme will include public notification. During the submission period, all interested parties including the community, residents, and business operators will be invited to view the proposed development scheme and make a written submission for consideration by the Minister for Economic Development Queensland.

What is the vision for the Mackay Waterfront PDA?

The vision for the Mackay Waterfront PDA is to build upon the area’s exceptional natural, cultural and heritage assets within the city centre environment as part of an ongoing process of evolution and positive change.

Redevelopment will complement the diverse mix of activities and attractions of the City Centre; and advance the region’s economy to establish a waterfront destination with enhanced recreation, lifestyle, tourism and investment opportunities. The delivery of the vision is to be guided by Council in partnership with the private sector and other government agencies.

Five precincts have been identified within the PDA, each offering unique attributes and redevelopment opportunities specific to their location:

  • Precinct 1 - Mackay city centre
  • Precinct 2 - Riverside
  • Precinct 3 - Enterprise
  • Precinct 4 - Queens Park
  • Precinct 5 - Beachside.


All precincts will evolve over time, becoming increasingly interconnected and will:

  • develop a vibrant   state-significant and domestically recognised river and ocean waterfront destinations   that:
    • visually and physically connects places and people with the water;
    • is comfortable, accessible and engaging;
    • creates a high level of amenity by providing a generous multi-functional public promenade,   pedestrian plazas and nodes, and large open spaces;
    • is supported and activated by a high density urban environment accommodating a diverse mix of uses   and activities
  • enhance the quality of life   experience for residents and visitors with a range of   exciting and activated streets, places and attractions that improve the   city’s liveability, tourism appeal and investment attraction, increasing access and mobility,   and improved resilience to future storm events
  • establish a   precinct for innovation and knowledge based industries that provide valuable labour skills, technology and products to support the development and growth   of the region’s economy
  • promote the Mackay City Centre as a business and innovation hub that supports the growth and development of the   region.

Further information on the Mackay Waterfront PDA Vision is located on the Connecting Mackay website.

Who will undertake the development assessment for the Mackay Waterfront PDA?

The development assessment powers of the MEDQ under the Economic Development Act 2012 have been delegated to Mackay Regional Council, except for the assessment of State interests. Council will assess development applications against the purposes of the Economic Development Act 2012 and the Mackay Waterfront Interim Land Use Plan. The power to assess State interests has been delegated to Economic Development Queensland. Mackay Regional Council will coordinate referral of applications to Economic Development Queensland for State interest review as part of the development assessment process.

What happens when a development application is made within the Mackay Waterfront PDA?

When lodging a development application to the Mackay Regional Council the application will be assessed against the purposes of the Economic Development Act 2012 and the Mackay Waterfront Interim Land Use Plan (ILUP) until the development scheme has been finalised.

How does the Economic Development Act 2012 development assessment process differ from the Planning Act 2016 development assessment process?

Development applications over land within a PDA are made against the ILUP, instead of the local planning scheme and assessed under the Economic Development Act 2012. Under this Act, the assessment process generally occurs within 40 business days. This timeframe does not include circumstances where there is a need for additional information or public notice of the application.

Development applications over land outside a PDA are made to and assessed by the local government authority under the Planning Act 2012 and the planning scheme.

How can you  lodge a PDA development application with Mackay Regional Council?

The forms and processes for lodgement of a PDA development application to Mackay Regional Council can be found above in the Development assessment section of this webpage.

Will the heritage places within the Mackay Waterfront PDA be preserved?

There are nine state-listed and 50 local-listed heritage places identified in the PDA. These heritage places will be preserved and re-purposed with a range of uses that complement and enhance the existing character of the City centre.

Mackay Regional Council has a façade improvement scheme to support the revitalisation of building facades in the City centre. More information can be found on council’s heritage buildings interactive map and the Heritage and character overlay within the Mackay Region Planning Scheme on MiMAPS.

Will council’s Facilitating Development in the Mackay Region Policy apply within the Mackay Waterfront PDA?

Council’s adopted Facilitating Development in the Mackay Region Policy will apply to the range of eligible land uses within the Mackay Waterfront PDA. More information on council’s Policy can be accessed via the policy webpage.