THE Queensland Government last week introduced three planning bills to the Queensland Parliament as part of reforms that aim to establish a better planning system for Queensland that will deliver confidence and transparency for the community and greater certainty for industry.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad said the planning reforms will support responsible development and ensure genuine public participation in the planning process.
Ms Trad said the proposed new planning system will enable communities, councils and industry to shape the future of their streets, suburbs and regions.
"The bills will ensure Queensland's planning system is fair, open, transparent and easy to understand," she said, adding that the reforms will put Queensland on track to have the best planning and development assessment system in Australia
"The reforms support jobs and economic development through streamlined assessment processes, while also ensuring ecological sustainability remains at the core of our planning system," Ms Trad said.
"The Palaszczuk Government supports planning reform to deliver a more efficient system that supports investment and jobs, but does not believe this should come at the expense of community participation or the important role of local government.
"The bills deliver certainty for industry by ensuring the new state planning and assessment laws are sensible, well-structured and easy to follow and will bolster investment confidence," Ms Trad said.
"Importantly the bills also ensure residents will have a strong voice in the planning and development decisions that affect the neighbourhoods and communities where they work, live and play."
Ms Trad said the three bills introduced to Parliament had been developed following a robust consultation program that engaged residents, local government, the development industry and planning profession.
"Honouring the Palaszczuk Government's promise to Queenslanders that we would listen, a state-wide six-week consultation period was undertaken to ensure the community had the opportunity to be part of the drafting process," Ms Trad said.
"More than 300 submissions were received from the community and the overwhelming message was they wanted to see more transparency and accountability around development decisions.
"Following this feedback and to improve transparency we have ensured as part of these reforms there will be a requirement for all decision makers at a local and state level to publish reasons for their decisions."
The Queensland Government has committed $59.4 million over five years to assist in preparing for the new planning system, which includes financial support to local councils in transitioning their planning schemes and development assessment systems.
The Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning will now focus on refining the supporting instruments and planning for a smooth transition to the new planning framework and the next stage of the consultation process.
The Queensland Government will also undertake a review of the State Planning Policy and the State Development Assessment Provisions in 2016 to ensure matters of state interest are being adequately protected.
The three bills, the Planning Bill, the Planning and Environment Court Bill and Planning (Consequentials) and Other Legislation Bill, will replace the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.
More information is available from the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning website at <http://www.dilgp.qld.gov.au/planning-reform>.