Declared in 2003, the 4915-hectare Townsville State Development Area (SDA) is a defined area of land dedicated for industrial development. It is located about six kilometres south-east of the Townsville CBD and two kilometres south of the Port of Townsville.

Situated at the junction of the national road network (Bruce and Flinders Highways), with direct connections to major rail networks and the Port of Townsville, the Townsville SDA is positioned to be the preferred location in North Queensland for the establishment of industrial development of regional, state and National significance.

The Townsville SDA supports economic development and job creation in a way that manages environmental, cultural and social issues as well as considering existing industry and surrounding infrastructure within the region.


Enhanced development scheme for the Townsville SDA

A new and improved development scheme came into effect in May 2019 following a comprehensive review by the Coordinator-General to encourage development activity and stimulate economic growth and job creation for the greater Townsville region. The review considered previous studies as well as updated technical analyses relevant to flooding and infrastructure, updated environmental constraints mapping and input from stakeholders and the community.

The resulting development scheme streamlines assessment processes and provides clarity around expected development outcomes.

Key changes to the development scheme include:

  • a reduction in the number of precincts (i.e. land use zones) to reduce complexity and better target key industries for the region, including transport, port related, medium and high impact industry
  • clarifying the preferred development intent for each precinct to ensure the development scheme can accommodate the broadest range of industry suitable for its location
  • where in proximity to residential areas, requiring development to manage adverse amenity impacts
  • regulation of subdivision and vegetation clearing to improve development coordination and streamline assessment processes
  • introducing SDA self-assessable development and identifying development that doesn’t require public consultation if a use is consistent with the intent of a precinct
  • a range of minor changes to precinct boundaries to reflect updated environmental constraints mapping
  • updated format and presentation to improve usability.

View a copy of the enhanced Townsville State Development Area Development Scheme (PDF icon 800 KB).

The Townsville SDA is open for business

The Townsville SDA is positioned to meet the needs of large-scale projects as evidenced by the major industries that are established within the SDA. The Townsville SDA is currently home to:

  • Aurizon Stuart intermodal facility
  • Aurizon locomotive and rolling stock maintenance facility
  • Glencore Xstrata copper refinery
  • JBS Australia abattoir
  • Origin Energy Mt Stuart peaking generator plant
  • Pacific National rail freight terminal
  • Sun Metals Zinc refinery
  • Townsville City Council landfill
  • Townsville correctional facility.

New industries considered suitable for the Townsville SDA include a diverse range of port, rail, and road dependent industries such as:

  • manufacturing (chemicals and metals production)
  • minerals processing
  • intermodal freight and logistics
  • bulk storage.

Benefits of the Townsville SDA

The Townsville SDA provides benefits to business and industry looking to invest in Queensland including:

  • locational advantages including access to:
    • the Port of Townsville, Queensland's third largest port, handling more than 7.3 million tonnes during the 2017-18 financial year, with over 30 different commodity types imported and exported including copper, zinc, lead, sugar and fertiliser
    • rail routes running north, south and west with key connections to the North Coast Rail Corridor and North West Rail Corridor
    • the national road network, at the junction of the Flinders and Bruce Highways which provide access north to Cairns, south to Mackay and Brisbane and west to Charters Towers and Mount Isa
  • efficient use of land, including:
    • a dedicated transportation corridor, providing direct road access to the Port via the Townsville Port Access Road
    • the future potential to divert rail freight access to the Port through the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor and to provide a services and materials transportation corridor to avoid the Townsville CBD and residential suburbs
  • opportunity for large-scale heavy industry to co-locate with existing industries, with existing industrial enterprises and large areas of greenfield land available for development
  • a large workforce and major support services within the city of Townsville
  • streamlined assessment processes for applications and requests
  • regulation of material change of use, reconfiguring a lot, and operational work for native vegetation clearing to improve development coordination and reduce the regulatory burden on proponents
  • best practice land-use planning and management - ensuring land and infrastructure assets are, and remain, attractive to existing occupants and potential investors.

The Townsville SDA Development Scheme

The Townsville State Development Area Development Scheme (PDF icon 804 KB) is a regulatory document that controls planning and development within the Townsville SDA.

First approved by the Governor in Council in 2005, the development scheme has been amended numerous times. The current version was approved in May 2019.

The development scheme contains a development assessment framework for making, assessing and deciding applications and requests relating to development within the Townsville SDA. The most common of these is an SDA application for a material change of use.

The development scheme for the Townsville SDA is supported by a public consultation policy (PDF icon 86 KB) that provides information on matters the Coordinator-General may consider when determining whether public consultation of an SDA application is required.

The Townsville SDA maps and targeted land use precincts


Acceleration of the Townsville SDA

Townsville SDA success story – Aurizon Stuart Intermodal Facility

Land ownership

Further information

For further information on the Townsville SDA, contact the SDA Division on 1800 001 048 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.