Australia: Draft South-East Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031: Key Changes

Key Point

  • The draft Plan has many new features.

While the South-East Queensland Regional Plan 2005-2026 was not due for review until 2010, this was fast-tracked by 12 months to address increasingly critical issues facing the region, including:

  • traffic congestion
  • housing affordability
  • higher than expected population growth (population increase from 2.8 million to 4.4 million by 2031)
  • employment opportunities
  • the need to reconsider capacity of the Urban Footprint; and
  • climate change issues.

The draft South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031 has sought to address these issues, as well as the consequential pressures on the region's environment and infrastructure. Submissions were able to be made up until 1 May 2009.

"Smart Growth" Policy

The 2005-2026 South-East Queensland Regional Plan promoted "interconnected communities" as well as "large urban areas separated by open space and many small to medium-size towns and villages". This vision has been altered under the 2009 plan, which adopts a "Smart Growth" policy. The Smart Growth policy addresses growth through the following mechanisms:

  • broadhectare land supply to cater for approximately 55 percent of population growth
  • setting new dwelling targets for infill to cater for approximately 45 percent of population growth. It is predicted that 735,500 new dwellings will be needed in SEQ by 2031 due to growth. Major growth areas include Brisbane City (target of 21 percent of new dwellings in SEQ), the Gold Coast (target of 19 percent of new dwellings) and Ipswich (target of 16 percent of new dwellings)
  • increasing the capacity of the Urban Footprint rather than expanding the Urban Footprint. The Draft Plan leaves the boundary of the Urban Footprint largely unchanged
  • prescribing minimum dwelling yields of 15 dwellings per hectare for significant Greenfield sites
  • prescribing minimum dwelling yields of 30 dwellings per hectare to be focused within and around regional activity centres, and public transport nodes and corridors
  • issuing State Infrastructure Agreements which set out landowner and developer contributions towards critical state infrastructure and services to meet forecasted demand
  • ensuring there is prior preparation and adoption of structure plans for all new major developments
  • establishing a Metropolitan Development Program to assist Government to plan strategic growth areas (this is examined in more detail below)
  • limiting the scale of tourism, sport and community activities in the Regional Landscape and Rural Production Area, and restricting subdivision of land in these areas (except in limited cases including Material Change of Use consistency); and
  • proposing increased densities in existing activity centres, growth corridors, renewal areas and remaining broadhectare areas. Growth corridors exist along the Indooroopilly railway line, proposed Northern and Eastern busway and the proposed Darra-Richlands railway line.

New Growth Areas

The Draft Plan identifies areas which will be planned to accommodate new urban development, classified using a tripartite system:

  • Urban Growth Areas - these areas lie within the Urban Footprint and are developed through structure plans and/or master plans under the Integrated Planning Act 1997 (Qld). These areas are intended for large-scale broadhectare development and require extensive land use and infrastructure planning.
  • Future Growth Areas - these areas lie within the Urban Footprint and are intended for infill or possible urban growth areas, subject to the resolution of infrastructure. The State will assist in the timely delivery of Future Growth Areas to the market. Regulatory provisions still control development in future growth areas.
  • Identified Growth Areas - these areas are subject to investigations into land capability, infrastructure and suitability. These areas lie outside the Urban Footprint but are identified by the Draft Plan as being necessary for urban development when demand requires it. Significant infrastructure planning and strategic land use are necessary before these areas are ready for development.

Metropolitan Development Program

A key feature of the Draft Plan is the inclusion of the Metropolitan Development Program (MDP). Similar systems have already been adopted in Perth and Melbourne, comprising an annual State Government document prepared through consultation with local governments and the development industry. It is proposed that the MDP will be implemented by a new unit within Queensland's Department of Infrastructure and Planning. Key functions of the MDP will include:

  • identifying rates of broadhectare and infill development by each local government area
  • assessing implementation of the Regional Plan settlement pattern; and
  • addressing land delivery by assisting Government to plan strategic growth areas.

Climate change strategies

Another key feature of the new Draft Plan is the inclusion of climate change strategies in Part D(1). The Draft Plan promotes development in South-East Queensland in a way that responds to climate change risks. Strategies proposed in the plan include the establishment of a South-East Queensland Climate Change Management Plan, provision for greenhouse gas monitoring, and relocation of industries from inner-suburbs to reduce car dependence and increase public transport accessibility. Energy efficient buildings and infrastructure are also promoted to address demand for energy produced from non-renewable sources.

The Draft Plan implements Towards Q2: Tomorrow's Queensland target of reducing Queensland's carbon footprint by targeting greenhouse gas emissions from land use and development in the South East Queensland region. Monitoring will establish the greenhouse gas emissions trend in the region focusing on land use and transport based emissions. Emissions from large emitters (more than 25,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum) will not be included as they are addressed in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme once introduced.

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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