New Planning Act from 3 July

24 June 2017

Posted in: Town planning

There’s changes afoot for Queensland’s planning industry that will impact communities and developers. From 3 July, a new Planning Act will replace the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

The Planning Act 2016 is statewide legislation that establishes a framework for land use planning across the state. Basically it is the top level set of rules that governs planning in Queensland. The new planning system is performance based, which allows for  flexibility in how development can be achieved, which also responds to community needs. The good news for those in the industry is that the new Act is more of an evolution rather than a revolution.

Key changes include:

  • Reasons for development approvals being published by State and Local Governments for the first time

  • Local Governments have to consult the community for longer on new planning schemes

  • State Government has mandatory consultation on planning instruments

  • Exempt and self-assessable development become “Accepted” development under the planning instruments (code and impact assessable development remain)

  • Development will be assessed more strictly against the criteria in the relevant code

  • Greater scope for Councils to support development in conflict with planning instruments based on planning merit rather than the former ‘grounds’ test alone

  • More appeal options for community without adverse costs

  • Ability for councils to increase infrastructure charges on new development

  • Simpler development assessment process

  • Reduction in number of forms for development assessment

  • Stronger protection for heritage buildings through requirement for independent examination

  • Reinstatement of land surrender arrangements

  • Requirement for developments to measure potential climate change impacts.

The new Act has three key elements: plan making, development assessment, and dispute resolution.

The Act makes clear what level of government (State or Local) is responsible for doing what in our planning system. From a “plan making” perspective, the State Government is responsible for:

  • Dividing up responsibilities

  • Setting out the process for making a plan

  • Explaining the mandatory components of a planning scheme

  • Ensuring there is effective community engagement

  • Approving Local Government planning schemes.

At this plan making level, Local Government is required to do the following:

  • Prepare its own planning scheme

  • Apply the State’s categories of assessments

  • Set what is code or impact assessable

  • Take care of the details like codes, building heights etc.

The next key element is “development assessment” and responsibilities between the State and Local Governments is as follows:

State Government

  • Mandates framework for assessment including the basics required for applications
  • Specifies any interests it has in an area through regulation
  • Assesses state aspects of developments
  • Publishes reasons for development.

Local Government

  • Sets out what development can occur in an area
  • Assesses and makes decisions on applications
  • Has to power to make infrastructure agreements with applicants to ensure necessary infrastructure is funded
  • Publishes reasons for development.

Finally, the dispute resolution element ensures all parties have an opportunity to be heard should their be disagreements over development and planning matters.

 For further information about the new Act you can access a fact sheet here.

For detailed information on the development application process, the DA rules provide the  statutory framework for development assessment under the new Act.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to provide accurate information, Consult Planning does not guarantee that this blog article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.