Reform of the Queensland planning system has been announced
by the Palaszczuk government, which released its directions paper
entitled 'Better Planning for Queensland: Next Steps in
Planning Reform' on 25 May 2015.
That discussion paper tells us that there are issues with the
current legislation that need to be fixed and that draft
legislation (which, it is hoped, will commence in the second half
of 2016), will be introduced by October 2015. In one of the media
statements that accompanied the discussion paper, we are told that
what we can expect will be a "new, clear, logical and
consistent Planning Act". After the debate that raged over the
title of the lapsed Planning and Development Bill, it will be
interesting to learn whether the simple 'Planning Act' will
The discussion paper, which is available to
view here seems to resonate much of what the Planning and
Development Bill touted, albeit that some of its elements might
again be up for re-wording, in particular - the levels of
assessment (i.e. should these remain as compliance, code and impact
– or be changed to something else).
There are two distinct shifts away from where we got to under
the draft legislation introduced by the previous government,
according to the discussion paper, namely:
There seems to be an intent on reinstating the former cost
arrangements under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009
– via the restoration of 'the rights of resident and
community group submitters to appeal decisions to the Planning and
Environment Court without fear of having costs awarded against
There is an indication that enforcement notices (as opposed to
simply enforcement orders) might be notified on title.
In concluding, it is noted that the discussion paper also tells
us that one of its reform priorities is to fix 'the problems
that are blocking better performance and better development
outcomes'. It is indeed an admirable goal, but we would say,
not something that can necessarily be achieved through statutory
For the legal practitioners in this space, it is once again time
to get excited by the prospect of a new statutory regime. We will
watch this space with interest, as should the development industry
and local governments.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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