HERITAGE buildings in Queensland will be better protected from indiscriminate private certifiers through legislation introduced to Parliament by the State Government last week.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad said the amendments will bring forward tougher penalties for those who flout planning laws.
"We are strengthening the rules and introducing significant deterrents to ensure we do not lose our treasured heritage buildings at the stroke of a pen," Ms Trad said.
"Earlier this year, we saw two character properties at Norman Park inappropriately demolished and these new rules introduce clearer requirements to prevent further preventable destruction.
"This includes the ability for the Minister to give immediate effect to a Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI), fast-tracking the ability to protect local heritage buildings from inappropriate demolition.
"Once passed, this Bill will also bring forward the tough penalties slated under the new Planning Act 2016, so they will take effect in early 2017, instead of mid-next year.
"The earlier we can enforce these penalties the better, and this amendment shows just how seriously the Government takes the proper rule of planning law and the protection of our valued heritage and character.
"We are also bringing forward other significant changes, including the rule that will prevent the Planning and Environment Court from awarding costs against individuals or groups who are challenging developments.
"When the LNP stripped the community of this legal right in 2012, it meant unscrupulous developers could threaten local communities with a costs order to avoid legitimate appeals against development that does not comply with a Council's town plan.
"Our changes mean that Queenslanders can once again appeal planning decisions without the fear of potentially having hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs awarded against them."
The Bill amends the planning and building legislation to:
- Confirm the circumstances under which two approvals for building work are required, and those in which only one approval is needed;
- Establish the order in which the approvals should be obtained for building work when requiring more than one approval; and
- Clarify the responsibility of certifiers to await the consideration of the local government before finalising their own assessment.
The changes, which will see the penalty for development offences increase from $202,963 to $548,550 are contained in the Local Government Electoral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016.