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Planning and building

The Gold Coast is a vibrant and attractive city. We are working hard to maintain our enviable lifestyle and ensure our city continues to thrive in a sustainable way.

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Erosion and sediment control

The City is committed to improving the water quality of our waterways. Disturbed soils, silt, litter and other materials loose in the environment have the potential to end up as deposits in our streams, rivers, and the Broadwater. These materials can cause short and long term environmental problems.

Our catchment management studies have identified development as being the main source of stormwater pollution. Officers randomly inspect development sites and issue fines to those that do not comply with the legislative requirements. Fines can be issued to people polluting the City’s stormwater and apply to homeowners as well as the development industry.

From 1 July 2018, offences under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 can attract on-the-spot fines from 15 penalty units ($1958) for an individual to 75 penalty units ($9791) for a corporation. Serious or repeat offenders may be prosecuted through the courts where the maximum penalty that may be imposed is 1665 penalty units ($217,365 for an individual or $1,086,828 for a corporation.

If a site is operating under a development approval, a breach of development approval conditions may result in an on-the-spot fine of 20 penalty units ($2611) for an individual and 100 penalty units ($13,055) for a corporation under the Planning Act 2016. Higher penalties apply if offenders are prosecuted through the courts where the maximum penalty that may be imposed is 4500 penalty units ($587,497) for an individual and $2,937,487 for a corporation.

Note: Increases may occur each year due to an increase in the value of a penalty unit or an increase in the number of penalty units.

Education is our main strategy in managing this problem, providing detailed information and advice to anyone managing erosion issues.

Best practice

Best practice is the management of an activity to ensure environmental harm is minimised using cost-effective measures. These practices are assessed against national and international standards.

The guidelines, Best Practice Erosion & Sediment Control (IECA AUSTRALASIA, November 2008), provide a practical guide to best practice techniques to minimise stormwater pollution from building sites. These guidelines are designed to help people involved in the building industries to comply with their statutory environmental duties and avoid large fines.

Benefits of best practice in erosion and sediment control

Benefits to homeowners, builders and the development industry include:

  • all-weather site access
  • improved wet weather working conditions
  • sites do not get boggy
  • less mud and dust problems
  • reduced stockpile losses
  • reduced clean-up costs
  • better public image
  • more marketable sites
  • fewer public complaints
  • reduced risk of fines
  • better fishing for everyone.

National and international experience shows that the cost of effective pollution management on building sites is greatly reduced as builders become experienced with the various techniques.

For further information regarding development applications please contact Planning Assessment on 07 5582 8866 or email

For further information regarding complaints or compliance please contact Development Compliance on 07 5667 5978 or email

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