Broad new planning powers will be vested in the Queensland
Reconstruction Authority under the Queensland Reconstruction
Authority Bill, which was passed by State Parliament on 17 February
The new Authority will co-ordinate reconstruction and recovery
caused by disaster events, and the Bill gives powers to declare
projects and reconstruction areas, to impose development schemes,
to undertake works and to compulsorily acquire land.
Although the Bill will only remain in effect for two years, it
could have a very significant effect upon planning and development
What events trigger the Authority's intervention?
The disaster events are defined as:
the floods caused by heavy rains in December 2010 and January
severe tropical cyclone Yasi; or
another disaster, within the meaning of the Disaster
Management Act 2003, prescribed under a regulation.
The power to declare certain projects and development
The Bill enables the Minister to:
declare a project for proposed development to be a
declared project if the project is to be
undertaken in a part of the State that has been directly or
indirectly affected by a disaster event, and the declaration is
necessary to facilitate flood mitigation or the protection,
rebuilding and recovery of affected communities;
recommend to the Governor in Council that a regulation declare
a part of the State to be a reconstruction
declare a declared project or particular development in a
reconstruction area to be a critical infrastructure
project if it is critical or essential for the State or
for economic, environmental or social reasons. A critical
infrastructure project declaration is not subject to judicial
Speeding up the decision on a development application
The Authority would be able to issue a "notice to
decide" or "progression notice" to prevent delays to
the decision-making process on a development application for a
declared project or a project within a reconstruction area. The
Authority may also issue a "step-in notice" to assess and
decide or, in some cases, reassess and re-decide an
The power to impose development schemes
The Authority may make a development scheme for a declared
project, a reconstruction area or part of a reconstruction area. A
development scheme replaces the relevant planning scheme, and
includes a land use plan regulating development for the project or
in the reconstruction area. It will prevail where there is an
inconsistency with a State planning instrument or State plan,
policy or code.
Development applications made for projects which fall within an
area to which a development scheme applies must be assessed against
the development scheme. The assessment manager's decision on a
development application may be inconsistent with a State planning
regulatory provision if the conflict is necessary to comply with
the development scheme.
The power to undertake works
The Authority may be directed by regulation to undertake
particular work. In addition, some powers of the
Coordinator-General under the State Development and Public
Works Organisation Act 1971 have been applied to work
authorised to be undertaken by the Authority, such as entry to land
and certain early works and works on foreshores.
The Authority also has special powers in relation to works in a
reconstruction area, including to close roads.
The power to compulsorily acquire land
The Authority will be able to compulsorily acquire land:
to carry out authorised works;
to implement a development scheme for a declared project or a
reconstruction area; or
to carry out the authority's reconstruction function.
The process under the Acquisition of Land Act 1967
applies for the taking of land and paying of compensation.
The exemption from the provisions of the Sustainable Planning
Any action undertaken by the Authority or its Chief Executive
Officer in relation to a power or function conferred by the Bill is
not subject to the provisions of the Sustainable Planning Act
2009. Accordingly, development approval requirements under
that Act do not apply.
The failure of a party to call a witness does not necessarily give rise to an adverse inference being drawn in accordance with Jones v Dunkel (1959) 101 CLR 298. An unfavourable inference is drawn only if evidence otherwise provides a basis on which that unfavourable inference can be drawn.
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