A Queensland Parliamentary Committee is considering submissions on new legislation, the Regional Planning Interests Bill 2013.
In summary, the Bill:
- creates new ‘regional interest areas’ including strategic environmental areas (for example, the Wenlock/Steve Irwin Reserve and some other wild rivers areas), priority living and agricultural areas;
- requires proponents who want to carry out a resource activity like mining or CSG in one of these areas, to apply for a ‘Regional Interest Authority’ (RIA);
- where an Environmental Authority (EA) conflicts with the RIA, the EA can be amended to be consistent with the RIA; and
- prevents third party appeals by citizens acting in the public interest, as it only allows “affected land holders” or the proponent to challenge the decision in a merits appeal.
EDO Qld and EDO NQ have a number of concerns about the Bill and prepared a joint submission to the Committee.