The next steps in delivering planning reform for Queensland have
been revealed with the release of a Government Directions Paper,
Better Planning for Queensland. The paper comes after the suite
of planning Bills introduced by the previous Government lapsed upon
the calling of the State election in January 2015.
What will the reform look like?
The proposal is for a new Planning Act that will repeal and
replace the current Sustainable Planning Act 2009.
It is proposed that the reform will be effected by a package of
a main planning bill;
a bill to separately provide for the establishment and
jurisdiction of the Planning and Environment Court; and
a third bill to deal with technical and consequential
Much of the detail that is process-oriented (such as plan-making
and development assessment processes) is not intended to be part of
the Act and will be dealt with in other instruments.
Proposals for planning instruments
Simplify the hierarchy for State planning instruments by having
2 types of State instruments - regional plans and the single State
Planning Policy (SPP) - with the State Planning Regulatory
Provisions and Queensland Planning Provisions to be removed.
Matters regulated by discontinued State planning instruments (such
as the urban footprint and koala protections) will be moved to the
regulation or other instruments;
Move the process for making planning schemes out of the Act,
allowing local governments greater flexibility in the plan-making
process (with a default "minimum" path and community
Extend the maximum life of Temporary Local Planning Instruments
from 12 months to 2 years and allow them to be amended.
Proposals for the development assessment
Change the categories of development to "accepted",
"assessable" and "prohibited" development.
Further consultation will occur about whether to change the levels
of assessment for assessable development (currently
"compliance", "code" and "impact"
Introduce exemption certificates that, in certain
circumstances, will exempt inappropriately categorised
Simplify the requirements for properly made development
applications to reduce the risk of technical non-compliances;
Retain the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) and
State Development Assessment Provisions (SDAP);
Simplify the rules for development assessment, with assessable
development to be either approved (or conditioned) using
established benchmarks or decided against policy and other relevant
public interest matters;
Move processes such as the development assessment process out
of the Act to a statutory instrument.
Proposals for community
Continue submitter appeal rights for notifiable
Restore previous costs rules in the Planning and Environment
Proposals for enforcement and
Increase penalties to bring them in line with similar
Make enforcement notices attach to the land and be recorded on
Proposals for other planning
Simplify community infrastructure designations, with new
arrangements enabling the Planning Minister to assess against a
single set of state assessment criteria, with development for a
designated purpose to be exempt from State and local planning
Continue the ability for local governments to designate land
for community infrastructure using a planning scheme
Simplify Ministerial powers and make them more consistent.
What to look out for
Reform legislation always faces a number of common challenges in
its implementation, particularly in transitional provisions. Key
things to look out for are:
how the new legislation will impact existing use rights,
development approvals and planning instruments;
how existing applications are to be processed;
how existing appeals, and rights to appeal, are continued.
For proponents of new development, and the community, important
features will include:
public notification obligations and submission rights;
Key dates set out in the Directions Paper are:
Draft legislation to be produced for broader community
New legislation to be introduced to Parliament by October
New planning legislation to commence in the second half of
A more detailed timetable is to be released in the coming
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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