The Queensland Government has released two draft bills which are set to repeal the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld): the Draft Planning and Development Bill and Draft Planning and Environment Court Bill.
Some changes are significant and will affect all planning and development in Queensland.
It appears the new legislation would give local councils more power over which types of development will be open to public notification and appeals, as councils could choose to reduce public participation rights.
Overall, public rights to access to information, public participation in development assessment including notification and submission rights, have become less secure in the Planning and Development Bill. Even the purpose omits all reference to community participation, compared with existing planning law.
Furthermore, this legislation does nothing to enhance community rights and participation and in this regard, represents a major step backwards. For example, if a development is such that it requires impact/merit assessment, then there must be both public notification and appeal rights.
The purpose of the legislation should be ecologically sustainable development – a well-understood concept which assists in certainty for the community and the development industry.