Developers undergoing residential projects in south east Queensland will be able to get approvals for water and sewerage components of new developments directly from water utilities under new laws designed to simplify property development and construction compliance in that state.

From July 1, under the Water Supply Services Legislation Amendment Act, temporary arrangements which require distributor-retailers Unitywater and Queensland Urban Utilities (each owned by a number of local councils) to refer applications to connect water and sewerage services to new developments back to their local council owners will be done away with and the two utilities will be able to approve such applications directly.

The new laws also remove existing requirements throughout the state under the Plumbing and Drainage Act for the installation of water meters to be supervised or performed by a licensed plumber (except for sub meters for multi-unit complexes) and for water providers to prepare strategic asset management  plans, system leakage management plans, outdoor water use conservation plans and drought management plans.

Instead, water providers (predominantly local councils in rural and regional areas) will be able to appoint their own people to install meters and will simply have to prepare an annual report outlining results delivered against key performance indicators.

Drinking water quality management plans will still be required in the case of drinking water providers.

Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said the previous rules requiring connection applications back to councils created unnecessary delays and that the new rules would deliver simpler compliance and faster service for developers and home builders.

McArdle also said the new reporting arrangements will promote accountability.

“Customers will also be able to see how their provider measures up in a report on the water industry’s performance to be first published in early 2016,” he said. “We promised at the election to grow construction as one of the four pillars of the economy and to cut red tape and these reforms deliver.”

McArdle said the reforms were developed in consultation with local governments and water service providers.