Planning reform for Queensland commences 3 July

The Queensland Government has recently released the final piece of its planning reform puzzle, with the finalised Planning Regulation 2017 now publicly available. Queensland’s new planning legislation, which comes into effect on 3 July, will be supported by a suite of recently gazetted and released state interest instruments and promises to deliver a more simplified, transparent and responsive system. But what does it mean for our clients? The reality is, the new planning system is evolution rather than revolution or reform. However, there are a suite of changes which will be important to recognise and understand. So apart of new terms, what does it bring?

The good:

  • A focus on less risk to applicants
    • Bounded code assessment now means if Code Assessable development complies it must be approved
  • Reduced assessment timeframes
    • All automatic time extensions removed (refer to Figure 1)
  • Greater flexibility to change applications and approvals
    • No longer are changes to approvals restricted to ‘minor changes’ or not ‘substantially different development’ tests
  • Applicants now have the ability to pause the process at any time (up to 130 business days)

The bad:

  • No more rolling currency provisions
    • Applicants need to be aware of this to avoid hard earned approvals lapsing
  • New urban design referral trigger
    • Widely considered unnecessary and unhelpful overreach by the Queensland Government

The questionable:

  • Ability to elect not to receive an information request
  • New fee amounts by the Queensland Government
    • Claimed to be more aligned to the level of assessment undertaken
  • Assessment decision rules amended to include ‘having regard to other relevant matters’
    • Unknown as to what ‘other relevant matters’ will be?

Figure 1: Figure released by the Queensland Government illustrating the application timeframe differences for various types of application between the existing and new planning system, with the blue lines representing the new planning system timeframes

For further information about the new planning system or if you’re looking for advice around what the new Queensland planning system might mean for your project? Please contact Damian Delmanowicz, Senior Planner in our Brisbane office on 07 3221 8166/0404 478 086 or who will be more than happy to discuss the potential implications or advantages that the new system could bring to your project.