New planning framework: much more work to be done, for community rights and for the environment
18 September 2015
Did you miss our last LawJam on this topic? We’re convening a special extra session for regional environmental group representatives in town for the Resources Community Roundtable – and anyone else who couldn’t come!
Queensland’s planning reforms have entered their second stage, with the release 10th September of an exposure draft of the proposed new framework. And there’s still a lot of work to be done! While some nuances of the current framework have been simplified, and Court costs rules partly restored to previous ‘own costs’ rules, the environment and community rights have not come out better and in many ways are actually worse off!
Submissions are due by 6pm on Friday 23 October. This is a crucial time to have your say. Contact us for our easy-to-use sample submission.
Our recent LawJam on the exposure draft of the proposed new planning framework heard from:
- Revel Pointon, Law Reform Solicitor, EDO Qld. See Revel’s presentation …
- Paul McDonald, General Manager – Business Development and Innovation, SEQ Catchments. See Paul’s presentation …
- Associate Professor Phil Heywood, Adjunct Associate Professor in Urban and Regional Planning, QUT. See Phil’s presentation ….
We have produced three tables analysing how the framework delivers on key areas of concern (1) Protecting nature, (2) Community participation in decision making and (3) Open, transparent, accountable planning framework.
In summary, our key concerns are:
- The principles of ‘ecological sustainable development’ are not adequately provided for or defined;
- Climate change and the environment only get tokenistic mention;
- Development assessment provisions are now provided in Rules which can be easily changed at the whim of any government;
- More flexibility is given to local governments in deciding content of local planning instruments, leading to inconsistency between local government areas in planning approaches;
- State Assessment Referral Agency is being maintained – meaning our State specialist departments only have ‘advice’ agency status and cannot require refusal, approval or conditions as they previously could;
- Costs orders may be made against third parties who take enforcement action under the Act. This was not provided for in SPA prior to LNP changes and does not follow through on Labor’s pre-election commitment; and
- No detail in the Act provided prescribing the types of documents that must be made accessible to the public – these are provided in the Regulation which is easier to change.
What can you do?
1. Contact us for our easy-to-use template submission.
2. Make sure you get your submission in on time with all the important points covered!
3. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions on this important topic: email@example.com
We have to ask – Why overhaul a planning framework if it is not going to be better than its predecessor? Particularly on essential components of planning – environmental protection and community engagement?
We have a fantastic opportunity here to create positive changes in how planning is undertaken in Queensland – let’s make sure we make the most of it!