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Queensland's first wind farm state code and planning guideline have been released?
The Queensland State Government has released Queensland's first wind farm state code (Code), supported by the wind farm state code planning guideline (Guideline), to facilitate quality renewable energy outcomes whilst balancing wind farm proposals against liveability, sustainability and prosperity. The Code and Guideline commenced on 22 July 2016, as part of the State Development Assessment Provisions (version 1.9).
The Queensland State Government has said it developed the Code and Guideline after identifying the need for a consistent, coordinated, whole-of-government approach to the assessment and regulation of wind farms. Local governments previously acted as the assessment manager for wind farm development often without the required technical expertise, and using local government planning schemes that largely failed to address complicated characteristics specific to wind farms.
The Code and Guideline operate to support the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, via the State Assessment and Referral Agency, as the assessment manager for Queensland wind farm proposals.
The Code applies to a material change of use for a new or expanding wind farm. The State Government says the purpose of the Code is to protect individuals, communities and the environment from adverse impacts as a result of the construction, operation and decommissioning of wind farm development. The Guideline will assist applicants in preparing development applications for new or expanding wind farm proposals. The Guideline will also provide information to assist applicants in complying with the performance outcomes and acceptable outcomes of the code.
There will be an annual increase to infrastructure charges for new developments in Queensland?
Jackie Trad, Queensland's Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, announced last week that infrastructure charges levied by councils on new development approvals will be automatically indexed each year under amendments to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld).
Infrastructure charges are the costs developers are required to contribute towards the construction, upgrading and maintenance of infrastructure such as roads, water supply and stormwater infrastructure. Amounts are based on adopted infrastructure charges resolutions implemented by councils.
Often infrastructure charges are not paid until late in the development process and there can be years between a charge being levied on an approval and the charge being paid. Under the current regime there is some scope for councils' adopted infrastructure charges resolutions to allow for an increase in the charges between the date a charge is levied and when it is paid, however the change will automatically index all infrastructure charges for newly approved developments at the start of each financial year.
The Producer Price Index (PPI) will be applied, which is based on increases to the cost of road and bridge construction averaged over the previous three years.
Whilst the change was proposed as part of the new Planning Act 2016 (Qld), due to take effect next year, Ms Trad says the change was brought forward to provide a more immediate boost to infrastructure revenue for councils. It is expected to commence in coming weeks.
The heritage referral trigger is set to return later this year in Queensland?
From later this year, development applications for land adjoining sites listed on the Queensland Heritage Register will again need to be referred to the State Government for assessment, in addition to the usual assessment processes.
Prior to 2012, development applications for land adjoining a Queensland Heritage Place triggered referral to the State Government to consider impacts on heritage values. However, this referral trigger was removed as part of the LNP Government's overhaul of planning legislation and now only applies to development proposed on heritage places.
In making the announcement to reinstate the referral trigger, Queensland's Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, said that recent controversy surrounding the approval of a 47-storey tower on land adjoining heritage listed Customs House in Brisbane's CBD has been considered, which drew strong criticism from the Heritage Council and the public for its perceived failure to respect the heritage significance of its neighbour.
When the new regulation commences any development applications for land adjoining any of the approximately 1600 places on the Queensland Heritage Register will need to be referred to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection under the State Assessment and Referral Agency for technical advice.
Major amendments are proposed to Brisbane City Plan 2014 to cater for the elderly?
Brisbane's Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has acknowledged the need for a broader opportunity for the development of aged care and retirement living facilities in Brisbane, especially in areas close to the city. In his speech to the Council's ordinary meeting on 14 June 2016, the Lord Mayor stated that it is important to offer aged care and retirement living in areas where people are familiar with medical and other services, and where they have long-established friendships.
This concept of 'ageing in place' is becoming increasingly popular, and underpins many policies at all levels of government.
In recognition of this need, the Council has resolved to adopt major amendments to its planning scheme to allow for a more streamlined approach for extending or upgrading existing facilities, as well as to provide for new aged care and retirement living centres in suitable locations. It is expected that a comprehensive policy will be forthcoming in the next few months which will set the framework for potential opportunities across the aged care sector.
This article is intended to provide commentary and general information. It 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 article. Authors listed may not be admitted in all states and territories