QUEENSLAND Premier and Reconstruction Minister Anna Bligh today announced that the largest floodplain mapping initiative in the state's history is underway and released a draft floodplains guideline.
The draft 'Planning for stronger, more resilient floodplains' guideline aims to provide councils with a toolkit to help assess future development applications and the opportunity to better align floodplain management and land use planning.
"This initiative brings together, for the first time, an option for councils which strengthens the connection between land use planning and flood plain management… This is a new broader approach to floodplain mapping developed on a whole-of-catchment view rather than council by council," Ms Bligh said.
The guideline was developed in consultation with more than 10 councils, the Local Government Association of Queensland, Geosciences Australia and the Fitzroy Basin Association. It is now open for consultation until November 11.
Ms Bligh said the initiative would make available a greater level of information to all, especially councils, who will be better equipped to identify and address issues "sooner rather than later".
"It's about greater knowledge of our floodplains informing sensible planning and not a stop on development," said Ms Bligh.
'Planning for stronger, more resilient floodplains' includes an interim mapping product and development controls that councils can consider for existing planning schemes.
The main objectives of the guideline are to:
- Promote a greater understanding of the scale and extent of floodplains in Queensland and their management;
- Promote a greater correlation between floodplain management and land use planning;
- Provide Councils with an information toolkit that they can adopt in a timely manner to provide interim measures to support development assessment; and
- Support a more resilient built form outcome in flood prone areas through additional interim planning scheme measures
The Premier said the toolkit includes a standard template for a development assessment code. The code includes basic provisions to support better outcomes from development applications.
Based on geological evidence, the maps show areas where there has previously been inundation or where there is a probable chance of inundation.
"These are the areas where the State and councils need to focus in their assessment of future developments and types of development," Ms Bligh said.
"Sensible planning on floodplains is not about stopping development. We are simply saying extra caution needs to be shown about the location of developments and the types of structures built in floodplain areas."
By October, it is expected that 40 per cent of the state will have been mapped under the new program. Combined with existing floodplain mapping, this will represent coverage for about 90 per cent of Queensland's population. By the middle of next year there will be floodplain maps for all relevant areas of the state.
The Premier said the initiative is a first step in creating a more standardised approach to floodplain management and mapping across Queensland.
The 'Planning for stronger, more resilient floodplains' guideline and maps will be open for comment and submission until 11 November 2011. More information is available from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority website at <http://www.qldreconstruction.org.au/> . The full 'Planning for stronger, more resilient floodplains' guideline is available directly from this link (PDF: 5.73MB).