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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    Sweeping reforms for Queensland’s planning and development system

    Minister for Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

    Tuesday, June 09, 2009

    Sweeping reforms for Queensland’s planning and development system

    Major reforms to Queensland’s planning approvals system will see building developments get off the ground within weeks rather than months – creating and sustaining construction industry jobs as the state experiences the brunt of the global economic crisis.

    Planning Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Sustainable Planning Bill 2009, approved by Cabinet today, will result in the biggest reform to planning approvals in over a decade.

    “It will mean massive reductions in red tape and unnecessary delays which anyone in the building industry will tell you can result in significant extra costs,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “It will mean developments get off the ground sooner by reducing costs, streamlining plan-making and improving assessment times via a user-friendly ‘fast track’ system.

    “Getting approval from Councils and State Government departments can take months due to the layers of bureaucracy applicants need to wade through.

    “Under the new Bill, a new assessment category called a Compliance Assessment – which applies to such developments as a new factory in a designated industrial estate – will see applications out the door within a week.

    “That’s an incredibly fast turn-around timeframe which reduces unnecessary red tape.

    “At the end of the day, this is about creating more efficient processes for construction sites and as a result keeping Queenslanders in jobs.”

    Mr Hinchliffe said developers accessing the more efficient and accountable system would also be able take advantage of the new legislation which will allow certain applications to be deemed to be approved if they are not decided within specified timeframes.

    “Deemed approvals are a significant reform,” Mr Hinchliffe said

    “This results in greater certainty, faster processing and reduced costs for both the applicant and Council.

    “It also means faster, on-the-ground delivery of appropriate developments.

    “Under the new Bill, Councils will have enhanced powers to stop work on a development.

    “For example, if work on a heritage building is deemed out of character, Councils will be able to issue an immediate ‘stop work’ notice instead of waiting 20 days from when a ‘show cause’ notice is issued,” the Minister said.

    The Sustainable Planning Bill 2009 is part of a review that overhauls and replaces the Integrated Planning Act (IPA) 1997.

    “IPA had become too process driven and needed major reform, and that’s what we have delivered – a system that moves away from process and focuses on outcomes,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

    “The new legislation will ensure the State and local governments are responsive to rapidly changing needs.

    “IPA served its purpose by bringing together more than 30 separate pieces of planning and development legislative arrangements into one Act.

    “IPA also established the Integrated Development Assessment System (IDAS) to provide a consistent planning and development framework.

    “But times have changed – after a decade, the planning system is under pressure to manage continuing rapid growth and changing demographics.

    “As Australia’s fastest-growing state, Queensland needs a contemporary system of planning and development assessment that is responsive to change and continues to deliver the lifestyle for which we are famous.

    “This new framework allows us to do business better and focus planning investment on major issues such as sustainability, housing affordability, climate change and population growth.”

    Mr Hinchliffe said another benefit was that the public and the development industry would now have options for dispute resolution instead of heading to courts.

    “The court system will still need to deal with complex issues - however, smaller, less complex issues can be dealt with using cheaper and faster methods.”

    Media - Thea Phillips - 3224 8750__