Queensland Adopts Statutory New Planning Regime


Queensland's Planning Act 2016 (Qld) (the Act) commenced this month, together with the Planning Regulation 2017 (Qld), replacing the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld) (SPA).

Deputy Premier and Minister for Planning Jackie Trad said the new system will create a new, simplified planning system that is easier to navigate for the community, local government and industry alike,” Ms Trad said.

While the Act offers a new structure and introduces some new supporting instruments, many of the existing planning and development concepts familiar to users of the SPA are retained, albeit with some modifications.

Not all concepts from the SPA have made their way to the new Act however, with the State Planning Regulatory Provisions, Queensland Planning Provisions as well as compliance assessment and permits notably absent. Arrangements for how this will work on commencement of the Act will be covered in the new regulation.

The Act is structured around three main elements: plan making, development assessment and dispute resolution. Similar to SPA, the State and local governments will share responsibility for delivery.

The Act is to be supported by other legislation, including the Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 and the Planning (Consequential) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2016.

In addition, in order to interpret the Act you will also need to have regard to the following supporting information:

  • The Planning Regulation 2017 (the Regulation);
  • State planning instruments being the State Planning Policy and Regional Plans;
  • Local planning instruments being planning schemes, temporary local planning instruments and local planning scheme policies; and
  • Other statutory instruments including the new Development Assessment Rules (DA Rules) and the Minister's Guidelines and Rules.

Like the SPA, the Act provides that development categorised as assessable will require a development approval before it can be lawfully carried out.

Development is now categorised as assessable through a categorising instrument which includes the Regulation and a local government planning scheme, among others.

In addition to assessable development, a categorising instrument can categorise development as prohibited (for which a development application cannot be made) or as accepted development (for which a development approval is not required).

Unlike the Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS) prescribed in the SPA, the Act sets out a framework for a new planning assessment process and provides for the creation of the DA Rules, which separately set out the assessment process that must be followed when:

  • an applicant makes, changes or withdraws a development application; and
  • the assessment manager and any referral agency, assesses and decides a development application.
  • the SPA will continue to apply to a development application that was made before but not decided on commencement of the Act;
  • a use of premises that was lawful before commencement will continue to be lawful after commencement; and
  • development approvals, infrastructure agreements, designations and planning instruments in effect on commencement of the Act will continue to have effect as if the document had been made under the Act;

 Courtesy Ian Motti And Adeline Brosnan.

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