Legal Update – Reform of Planning and Development Laws and Processes

21 MAY 2014

The Queensland Government is currently preparing for a reform of planning and development legislation with a view to introducing a number of changes with the aim of streamlining the application and approval processes, reducing red tape and costs for developers and generally encouraging development and economic growth.

The proposed new legislation is still a number of months away from being finalised, but we encourage developers to keep up to date with the types of changes that are likely to be introduced by the new laws, with a view to staying ahead of the market in terms of knowledge and planning.

Key changes currently planned under the proposed new laws include:

1.  Creating a single state assessment and referral agency for development applications to be lodged and processed;

2.  Reducing red tape for development applications including removing the requirement for evidence of the resource entitlement / allocation to be lodged with the application;

3.  Empowering local governments by affording them a discretion to accept development applications even though the development application does not strictly comply with certain mandated requirements;

4.  Providing for the Queensland Planning Provisions, which are the standard provisions under which planning schemes are to be modeled, to apply to all local governments to ensure consistency in assessment levels for certain low risk developments;

5.  Giving the Planning and Environment Court further powers including the discretion to make legal costs orders for some proceedings; and

6.  Reform of the infrastructure contributions framework to generally enhance the equality and consistency of the system for developers. One of the outcomes of the review process was the identification of the inequity of requiring developers to pay for infrastructure which did not directly benefit that development, but instead had a broader community benefit. One proposed change to address this is the limitation of infrastructure charges to certain “essential infrastructure” only and alternative funding sources for certain “desirable” infrastructure.

We will know more about the specific changes introduced by the new planning laws over the next few months as the proposed legislation progresses through the final consultation and approval phases. It does however seem to us that the new laws represent an exciting time for property developers, with the expectation of a more efficient, practical and lower cost planning system to get approvals through and advance your business interests.

We will keep you updated with respect to further developments in the proposed new laws to keep you ahead of the market when the new laws come into effect.

Contact Partner: Francesca Petroccitto
Direct Telephone : 07 3210 5771
Mobile Telephone : 0402 293 644
francesca.petroccitto@kinneallymiley.com.au

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