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Law Reform · Energy & Climate

Have your say: On the draft planning framework

21 October, 2015

The Government released an exposure draft of the new planning framework on September 10 for public comment. Submissions close THIS FRIDAY 23 October, 6pm.

Help our Government improve Qld planning before the Bills are finalised for introduction to Parliament

EDO Qld template submission available here, or draft your own, but make sure you get your concerns heard!

The Government released an exposure draft of the new planning framework on September 10 for public comment.

We are sorry to report that this new planning framework in no way improves community participation nor environmental protections in planning and development decisions; in fact in many ways it is a step backwards.

Now is the time to have your concerns heard on the new proposed framework – prior to final drafting and introduction to Parliament.

Get your submissions in by 6pm, THIS FRIDAY 23 October 2015 – or if that’s a push, get it in ASAP, so that your concerns can help in the re-drafting of the framework prior to going to Parliament.

You can make a submission in the following ways:


Need help? You can also use our submission template.


1) Download the submission template;
2) Replaced highlighted sections with your details, and add your opinions and any personal examples to support your opinions;
3) Send to bestplanning@dilgp.qld.gov.au;
4) Let us know you made a submission, by emailing us at edoqld@edo.org.au.

Also, send your submission to your local Parliamentarian and inform them of your concerns. Talk to as many people as you can!

Some submission tips provided by the Department:

  • Your submission does not need to be long or complex. Your opinions, your reasons for them and your suggestions are the most important parts.
  • State clearly your view and reasons for it.
  • Provide examples where you can.
  • Say how your concerns might be addressed and your reasons for it.
  • Provide references to any factual data or examples.
  • Group your points under the relevant section or chapter and specify e.g. Chapter 6, Section 2.4 or simply… Plan Making
  • While submissions tend to focus on what 'issues', please take a moment to share what improvements or positive aspects you feel exist in the planning bills.
  • You can make your submission in a language other than English. The Department will arrange for a translation.

Planning law may not seem exciting, but think of it this way – development is the biggest impact humans have on our environment and what shapes our communities. Our planning laws provide the fundamental tools in regulating the impact of development; they provide environmental protections as well as the right for the community to have their concerns heard around bad development proposals – We need to get this right!

As summarised previously, our key concerns with this planning framework are:

  • The principles of ‘ecological sustainable development’ (ESD) are not adequately provided for or defined – with uncertainty as to whether key ESD principles, such as the precautionary principle, will even be included;
  • Climate change and the environment only get tokenistic mention;
  • Public consultation times on development applications have been reduced, compared to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA) provisions prior to the Newman government’s changes;
  • State Assessment Referral Agency (SARA) is being maintained – our State specialist departments only have ‘advice’ agency status and cannot require refusal, approval or conditions as they previously could;
  • SARA can still make decisions that are inconsistent with the State development assessment provisions - which provide the criteria for assessment of matters of State interest;
  • 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.
  • 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 possible inconsistency between local government areas in integrating consideration of environmental values and planning approaches;
  • Major changes to development applications are not necessarily required to be re-notified; and
  • Too many discretions are provided – including to allow non-compliance with public notification requirements, to allow public notification prior to an information request being finalised, and to provide exemptions from development assessment. Discretions, coupled with the ultimate power of SARA, open up our planning system to corruption. Where there is corruption in planning, the environment and community rights are the first to suffer.

It’s not too late to help our Government turn this framework into ‘Australia’s best planning system’. 

Stand up for the environment and community rights in planning – get your submission in!


Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.

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