Moves on the part of the Queensland government to overhaul the state’s Sustainable Planning Act have won widespread support from the property and construction industry.
Kathy McDermott, Queensland Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia, says the changes represent an important step in driving more certainly, efficiency and clarity through the system.
She says the amendments remove a number of ‘ball and chain’ elements from the system that achieve little other than add to the time and cost of development.
“In recent years Queensland’s planning system has evolved into a cumbersome, process orientated quagmire of conflicting policies and procedures” McDermott says.
“These changes are an important step in achieving a planning system that delivers certainty, efficiency and clarity to all stakeholders”.
Announced by the Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney on Thursday, key elements of the reform package include:
- Streamlining the development application process by allowing developers to deal with a single office rather than multiple government departments
- Expanding the powers of the Planning and Environment Court to allow – where the court sees fit, the awarding of costs to successful applicants
- Simultaneously to the point above, providing a new, streamlined ‘no costs’ regime within the court for less substantial matters which do not require the attention of a judge
- Further reducing and streamlining the application process by allowing councils discretion to accept development applications which do not include all required supporting information at the time of lodgement
- Other red tape reduction initiatives, including the removal of master and structure planning arrangements that the industry says are ineffective and the separation of state resource allocation and entitlement requirements from the development application process.
Seeney says the reforms, together with recent amendments to the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 to remove particular referral triggers, will streamline the involvement of the state in development assessment and reduce red tape and bureaucracy associated with new developments.
He says allowing developers to deal with a one-stop-shop government office will both reduce complexity and provide for greater certainty with regard to development outcomes, whilst the new costs regime will discourage appeals which have little merit.
“The old system was tired, bureaucratic and mired in red tape” Seeney says.
“It was unnecessarily holding up construction and development across the state”.
MacDermott says the reforms, together with the introduction of the First Home Owners Construction Grant announced as part of the budget, will improve confidence in the sector.
She says the collaborative process through which the reforms were agreed upon demonstrates that direct engagement with industry leads to better policy outcomes.