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Law Reform · Access to Justice

Update on Qld’s Planning Laws: Deputy Premier listens to industry, not community

10 December, 2013

On 28 November 2013 Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney replied to EDO Qld and disagreed with us on the need for release of a public discussion paper on the major proposed reforms of Queensland’s planning legislation.

The Deputy Premier’s reform proposal is to repeal the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (“SPA”) and replace it with a new Act, called “Planning for Queensland’s Development Act 2014”.

The proposal also includes changing the purpose to be along the lines of ‘economic development’ – whereas its current purpose is “ecological sustainability”.

The Deputy Premier said that he is committed to introducing the Bill into Parliament prior to 30 June 2014.

EDO Qld is very concerned. 

The normal process for such major reform is having public consultation at an early stage of policy development and prior to drafting the bill, so ideas may be debated and evidence considered appropriately. 

The former conservative Borbidge Government (who introduced “ecological sustainability” as the object of planning legislation) consulted with the public at an early stage prior to its reforms in 1997. The current conservative O’Farrell Government in NSW undertook significant public consultation prior to drafting its recent planning reforms. So Queensland is out of step with good and accepted practice by conservative governments. This is unfair to hard working community groups, who have a wealth of experience, and a legitimate interest in the rules that govern planning. Industry is being consulted now, but not the broader community.

The Deputy Premier stated that in early 2014 after they have developed their policy and drafted the legislation, they will a “offer an exposure draft of the Bill for broader industry engagement”.

A copy of EDO’s letter is here and the Deputy Premier’s letter in reply is here.

EDO Qld is the only non-government non-industry community organisation on the Planning Stakeholders Forum. EDO Qld will continue to urge that  there be public consultation on these important reforms, as a basic and fundamental part of policy development.

If you wish, ask your local member of Parliament to request a government briefing on the reforms or write to the Premier and Deputy Premier to urgently request broader community consultation on the proposed reforms.

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

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