QUEENSLAND Deputy Premier and Minister for Planning Jackie Trad last week announced the commencement of the state's new planning system, which she said heralds a new era for planning in Queensland that will ensure the community is at the forefront of the planning process.
"The Planning Act 2016, which replaces the existing Sustainable Planning Act 2009, will create a new, simplified planning system that is easier to navigate for the community, local government and industry alike," Ms Trad said.
"It's clear that Queenslanders want more transparency and accountability around development decisions and our new Planning Act delivers on this. The new system embraces genuine community engagement while giving the industry certainty to deliver jobs, better protects our heritage and addresses the threat of climate change.
"It introduces a number of measures to ensure decision making is fair, open and transparent including making it mandatory for councils to publish reasons for decisions on development applications.
"We know that this is a big change for our local councils, which is why we have invested $15.8 million both to develop the new planning framework and to ensure that councils are ready for the new system.
"This has included a number of initiatives including workshops across the state, livestreams, financial assistance with IT upgrades and a $4.5 million Innovation and Improvement Fund which will help councils to find ways to make their planning and development systems easier to use and understand.
"There is also a brand new, easy to use Planning ePortal that will provide a better, more accessible online experience for both the community and industry."
According to the government, key features of the new system include:
- Councils and state government to publish reasons for decisions on development applications;
- Improved public access to information;
- Better community engagement opportunities;
- Greatly reduced potential for the community to face adverse cost orders in court appeals;
- A streamlined development assessment process;
- Clearer, simpler categories of development assessment;
- Greater certainty through a new 'bounded' code assessment; and
- Stronger protection for heritage buildings.
More information is available from the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning website at <https://planning.dilgp.qld.gov.au/>.