Our planning laws are the foundation of regulating development in Queensland. They must be strong, prepared through broad consultation across the state, and they must have the environment’s needs represented.
EDO Qld has been working hard to ensure Queensland planning laws receive adequate community consultation. Many of our clients are facing well-resourced developers and – as you can imagine – there is often a major power imbalance in having their concerns heard and addressed.
ALP ‘Better Planning for Queensland’ directions paper
On 25 May 2015, the Queensland Government released the ‘Better Planning for Queensland' directions paper ("the directions paper"). This paper comes after the suite of planning bills introduced by the previous government lapsed upon the calling of the state election in January 2015.
The directions paper proposes to repeal the current Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) and replace it with a new regime that consists of three separate bills: a main planning bill, a bill establishing the jurisdiction of the Planning and Environment Court, and a general bill incorporating amendments to other Acts.
Legislation will be drafted and released for consultation in late 2015, with the new legislation expected to commence in mid-late 2016.
Other than some references to ‘sustainability’, the directions paper does not place sufficient emphasis on environmental protection, with no reference to biodiversity or ecosystems at all.
It is essential to get involved in these early consultation stages so that your concerns are addressed and considered prior to drafting. Public comment on the directions paper is now open until 31 July 2015 via the Queensland Government website.
LNP Private Members' Planning Bills
On 4 June 2015, the shadow planning spokesperson Tim Nicholls introduced a number of recycled LNP planning bills that had lapsed upon the calling of the state election in January 2015. These bills are separate from, and not related to, the ALP planning reform proposal in the directions paper.
The bills limit community consultation and override local governments. The Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee is currently seeking submissions on these private members' bills:
- Planning and Development (Planning for Prosperity) Bill 2015
- Planning and Development (Planning Court) Bill 2015
- Planning and Development (Planning for Prosperity – Consequential Amendments) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
The committee invites submissions from all interested parties addressing any aspect of the bill. Guidelines for making a submission to a parliamentary committee are available here: Guide to making a submission. Closing date for written submissions is Monday 13 July 2015 by 4.00pm.
Want to know more? Come along to our next LawJam: 'Planning Reform and the Community'
EDO Qld is holding a number of free community seminars (LawJams) to critically review the proposed new planning legislation from the perspective of good planning, community rights and the protection of ecology:
- Brisbane: University of Queensland, Thu 9 July 2015 at 6pm - RSVP
- Sunshine Coast: Lake Kawana Community Centre, Wed, July 15 at 6pm - RSVP
- Gold Coast: Robina Community Centre, Thu 16 July 2015 at 6.30pm - RSVP
Admission is free but seats are likely to fill fast. Don’t forget to secure your place!