A DRAFT State Planning Policy for the Queensland Government's Strategic Cropping Land Policy is now open for consultation.
Natural Resources Minister Rachel Nolan said the government is working hard to progress the policy which aims to protect the state's best cropping land from mining and other development in two key regions.
The implementation of the Strategic Cropping Land (SCL) policy was announced by the government in May this year, with resource development projects – such as mining – not well advanced in the approvals process made subject to the full effect of the legislation to be introduced later this year.
"There is a clear need to advance important mining projects in this state – they create thousands of jobs, they fuel our power supplies and every Queenslander's prosperity heavily relies on their exports," Ms Nolan said.
"But we equally value our agricultural sectors – the land on which they operate is an important resource for our food supplies. To help us get the balance right, we are consulting with stakeholders."
Ms Nolan said the next step towards implementing the policy is today's release of the draft State Planning Policy for public consultation.
According to the government, the draft State Planning Policy will ensure that Strategic Cropping Land is protected and managed through the planning and development assessment framework under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.
"As resource developments are not currently assessed under the Sustainable Planning Act, the new Strategic Cropping Land legislation and amendments to existing resources legislation, will ensure that these developments are assessed," Ms Nolan said.
The new State Planning Policy will commence when the Strategic Cropping Land legislation comes into effect. It will operate in tandem with the existing State Planning Policy 1/92: Development and the Conservation of Agricultural Land, which applies to a broader range of agricultural land.
Ms Nolan said a Regulatory Assessment Statement was put out for public consultation on 31 May and that after a 62-day consultation period this has now drawn to a close.
"A range of stakeholders made submissions and these will all be considered as we work towards entrenching this policy in legislation," the Minister said.
The draft State Planning Policy is available from the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) website <http://www.derm.qld.gov.au>.