Queensland Planning Overhaul Goes Before Parliament

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
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Three new pieces of legislation which will overhaul planning rules in Queensland have been introduced into Parliament in that state.

Introduced by Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad, the  Planning Bill, the Planning and Environment Court Bill and Planning (Consequential) and Other Legislation Bill, will replace the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

The new reforms will see the Planning and Environment Court governed by a separate new piece of legislation, which will dictate its constitution, composition, jurisdiction and powers.

According to Trad, the reforms will also:

  • Reduce the current number of mechanisms for expressing the State’s interests in plan making from four instruments to two by removing State Planning Regulatory Provisions (SPRP) and Standard Planning Scheme Provisions (the Queensland Planning Provisions, commonly referred to as QPP.)
  • Reform the mechanism to support the provision of community infrastructure by removing the need for separate or additional referrals and incorporates local government engagement. Local governments will also be able to designate infrastructure more expeditiously with a process that mirrors state arrangements.
  • Reform the current framework for making and amending local planning schemes to build in more flexibility to negotiate a process that is fit-for-purpose for a particular local government as well as a standardised default process; and confirming State interests early in plan development.
  • Change the development assessment system by combining fewer, more clearly defined categories of development; more straightforward decision rules; and fit-for purpose processes.
  • Require the publication of reasons for development assessment decisions.

The legislation followed an earlier directions paper which had argued that there were a number of concerns surrounding the SPA, including that current planning schemes were overly complex, development application decisions were taking too long, the legislation itself was overly complex and that some developments had ended up being ‘poor’ on the ground.

In a statement, Trad said the Bill delivered certainty for industry while also ensuring a strong community voice regarding new developments within their locality.

“The reforms support jobs and economic development through streamlined assessment processes, while also ensuring ecological sustainability remains at the core of our planning system,” she said.

Trad says the state has allocated $59.4 million over five years to assist councils to prepare for the new system and would review the State Planning Policy and State Development Assessment Provisions next year.

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