NEW planning laws passed by Queensland Parliament last week will ensure the community, sustainability and jobs are at the forefront of planning and development across Queensland, the State Government has said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad said the new Planning Act 2016 would provide more opportunities for community involvement in planning, support responsible and sustainable development, and provide industry with more certainty to invest in jobs.
"This major planning reform will put Queensland on track to have the best planning and development assessment system in Australia," Ms Trad said
"The new Act cuts through the complexity of the current legislation and will ensure Queensland's planning system is fair, open, transparent and easier to navigate for planners, developers, local government and the community.
"Planning shapes our places, spaces and communities and the development that follows is a major contributor to investment and jobs.
"This Act will help to drive jobs and economic development across our state, by ensuring planning and assessment laws are sensible, well-structured and easy to follow, to bolster investor confidence in both projects and people.
"While responsible development is important to cater for growing and changing populations, the new legislation will also ensure we restore the community's voice and lift the veil of secrecy over too many development decisions.
"Both state and local government will now have to publish the reasons why development applications have been approved or refused, to ensure accountability.
"There will also be more consultation time for new planning schemes, to ensure residents have the time to have their say on the decisions that affect the neighbourhoods where they work, live and play.
"Importantly, this Act also delivers on Labor's election commitment to restore rights stripped away by the LNP Government that removes the risk of substantial costs orders if a resident appeals a development decision.
"It's also characterised by a continuing focus on ecologically sustainable development and the protection of places of heritage significance for the benefit of future generations."
Ms Trad said the Planning Act 2016 had been developed in close consultation with residents, local government, the development industry and planning profession.
"Honouring the Palaszczuk Government's promise to Queenslanders that we would listen, a robust consultation program informed the drafting process, including a state-wide six-week consultation period with residents," 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."
According to the government, key features of the Planning Act 2016 include:
- A requirement for assessment managers and referral agencies to publish reasons for their decisions on development application;
- Reinstated public access to information;
- Public notification for all impact assessable developments;
- Reintroduced costs provisions whereby each party bears their own costs;
- Streamlined development assessment process;
- Clearer, simpler categories of development and levels of assessment;
- Code assessment decisions rules explicitly recognising a presumption in favour of approval for code assessment;
- Reinstated requirement for regular review of local planning schemes and infrastructure plans;
- Automatic indexing of infrastructure charges; and
- Clear and simplified transitional arrangements as a result of names and notification requirements.
The State Government has committed $59.4 million over five years to assist with the transition to the new planning scheme and to assist councils to offset costs.
"My department is committed to assisting councils with the transition to the new planning system, to ensure it's as smooth as possible," Ms Trad said.
"I am also committed to helping all Queenslanders understand the new planning system. We will cater for everyone - from documents and brochures to on-line presentations and videos and local events."
From July, the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning will host a series of workshops to begin the transition with local governments, in addition to more information for the community.
More information is available from the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning website at <http://www.dilgp.qld.gov.au/planning-reform>.