Statutory regional planning for South-East Queensland
has been in place for more than 10 years, firstly with the 2005 SEQ
Regional Plan and followed by the current SEQ Regional Plan which
commenced in 2009.
A new regional plan, to replace the current 2009 plan, has been
on the drawing board for some time. The State has committed to
delivering a new draft plan for public consultation in 2016 and
expects to release the final plan next year.
The Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
anticipates that the new regional plan will:
respond to the region's changing population size and
set responsive directions and targets;
boost jobs growth across the region in industries of the
drive towards a region that is "smart, sustainable,
compact, connected, safe and healthy for now and into the
The State's "Shaping SEQ – Planning for the
Future" indicates that the core principles from the current
regional plan will continue, including a compact urban form and
more development in existing urban areas that creates communities
with diverse housing that is well-connected, vibrant and
sustainable. The new plan will have five core themes – grow,
live, connect, prosper and sustain – to support the
affordability, vitality and quality of the region.
Consistent with this, it has been reported that the new regional
plan will facilitate more infill development such as highrise and
townhouse developments. In light of comments that urban renewal
does not meet everyone's needs and there needs to be new
greenfield sites, the Minister has indicated the regional plan will
provide a balance between infill development close to transport and
more affordable greenfield housing.
Planning to facilitate greater infill development and minimise
greenfield development is generally underpinned by principles about
better utilising existing infrastructure, minimising urban sprawl
and reducing environmental impacts (e.g. clearing vegetation).
While encouraging greater infill development is a reasonable
policy, it is also important to acknowledge that from a community
viewpoint infill can have undesirable impacts. Recent experiences
in Brisbane's inner city areas demonstrate that existing
communities often feel aggrieved by the process of densification
and associated impacts on character, traffic and amenity,
notwithstanding the rational public policy reasons for encouraging
infill in close proximity to the City centre. Further, infill
housing does not necessarily accommodate the desires of many
demographics to have a house on a reasonably sized lot which is
both available and affordable. Ultimately, infill development has
its limitations. Existing infrastructure can only accommodate a
certain capacity and will eventually need to be upgraded to
accommodate a greater population.
As the State has undertaken various modes of informal
consultation and will shortly undertake formal public consultation,
it is perhaps timely to discuss with the community why infill
development is desirable, acknowledge and seek to address concerns
about impacts on existing communities and understand what type of
development in the region people want. It seems likely to be the
case that people support infill development in principle, provided
impacts can be managed. Critically, the SEQ Regional Plan must also
focus on delivering sufficient greenfield development areas to
cater for desirable housing options along with reasonable
connections to employment and good quality infrastructure.
We will continue to "watch this space" in anticipation
of dates for public consultation for the new plan.
The Western Australian Government's long-awaited response to review of the Construction Contracts Act 2004 was recently released amid further scrutiny on government-managed construction projects and contractor insolvencies.
Repealing section 18C will not stop racial harassment, but you still must be accurate, reasonable and act in good faith.
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