Archive for Gympie Region


Winter 2017

Welcome to our winter newsletter providing insights into local planning and development happenings in and around the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay Regions.  Topics for review include:Rainbow Beach

  • Opinion Piece – The Upside of the Housing Bubble
  • New Planning Act for QLD
  • De-mystifying Duplex Developments
  • Unit Titling Explained
  • Rejuvenation for The Parkyn Brothers Jetty

We would love to hear any feedback about the articles and any suggestions you may have for future articles.



Jack Lewis B.Sc Hons UNSW, M.Plan OTAGO  

While the media focuses in on the negatives of the dreaded ‘housing bubble’ in terms of high house prices and home ownership becoming more out of reach for younger generations in capital cities, perhaps this ‘bubble’ can bring opportunities for the Sunshine and Cooloola Coasts?

The 1980s and 1990s was a time of significant growth here on the Sunshine Coast, with internal migration from Sydney and Melbourne at its peak. This was largely a reflection of the cheaper housing market (not having to pay such a high interest rate) and the ‘ideal’ of a better lifestyle. Are there parallels to today’s internal migration patterns?

Id. released an article last week about the release of the ABS Internal Migration Estimates titled What’s driving Sydney’s population exodus, which suggests a strong correlation between Sydney’s housing bubble and the current internal migration patterns. While not as pronounced as the ‘sea change’ migration of thirty years ago – many are leaving the city again.

As previous migrants moved to the Coast for a cheaper and better lifestyle, they changed once small country towns to suit their needs, what will the next generation of ‘sea changers’ bring with them? And how will they further change the landscape of the different communities of the Sunshine and Cooloola Coasts?

Even with new suburbs being created and old towns changing, let’s not forget why this place is still so desirable – our beautiful environment and National Parks – where one can cheaply enjoy the ‘bubbles’. I personally love the ‘bubbles’ of the Noosa National Park point breaks – even makes me jump in when the temperatures start to drop.


Change is Coming – New Planning Act for Queensland

actsThe new Planning Act 2016 (commencing mid-2017) establishes the overarching framework for Queensland’s planning system and provides the foundation for various elements of this system, including compiling new planning schemes, development assessment and dispute resolution. The new state legislation also establishes the rights, roles and responsibilities necessary for the system to work effectively.

The new development assessment process retains a performance based approach and is underpinned by a set of guiding principles. These principles are intended to guide the way that all parties to a development application approach the development assessment process, and set the tone for expected behaviours throughout the process.

  • Applicant-driven process – Reinforce the role that the applicant plays in streamlining the development assessment process.
  • Process efficiencies – Emphasis on undertaking pre-application discussions with the assessment manager and with each referral agency to create process efficiencies.
  • Holistic assessment – Enable a holistic assessment to be undertaken of the development application.
  • Open communications – Encourage and facilitate open communications between the assessment manager, referral agencies and the applicant.
  • Public notification – Facilitate effective public notification in the development assessment process for development applications that require public notification.
  •  User friendly – A more user friendly, navigable and transparent system that facilitates quality development outcomes.

Martoo Consulting has been actively involved with the Industry briefings and ongoing Council advice before the commencement on the 3 July 2017 (less than a month).

Come in and talk to our experienced planners that help explain the changes and how they impact your development interests or visit


De-mystifying Duplex Developments

‘Duplex’ or ‘Dual Occupancy’ are terms to describe two dwelling units on a single lot. Martoo Consulting staff has been involved with the design and approval process for numerous duplex developments over the last 2 decades on the Sunshine and Cooloola Coasts. The following provides a summary of Council’s approval process and common issues.

Noosa Council

Duplexes are allowed in the Semi Attached and Attached Housing Zones (usually areas near town centres). A planning application is required (Operational Works application free if lodged with the planning application). Common issues encountered during the design stage are:Lake Weyba Duplex

  • Interpretation of bedroom / media rooms;
  • Overlooking and screening;
  • Earthworks, drainage and landscaping of the frontage;
  • Parking and Maneuvering to leave site in forward gear.

Sunshine Coast Regional Council

Unlike Noosa, Dual Occupancy units are allowed in all residential zones (including Low Density Residential). They are Self-Assessable in Low Density Residential zone, where not adjoining another duplex and on a site >800m2. A planning application is required for dual occupancy developments on sites <800m2 and are regularly approved if the design meets the site cover, open space, landscaping and parking provisions. Common Issues encountered during the design stage are:Tim Ditchfield Duplex

  • Providing 50m2 of private open space for each unit at ground level;
  • Earthworks and drainage;
  • All development works need to be signed off by a registered engineer.

Gympie Regional Council

Duplexes are supported in both the urban residential zones, being the Residential Living Zone and Residential Choice Zone.  A planning application (material change of use) is also required for dual occupancies in both zones.  The minimum preferred lot size for this development is 500m2 in the Residential Choice Zone and 750m2 in the Residential Living Zone within Gympie’s urban area.  Gympie Regional Council support dual occupancy proposals when compliant with the design preferences in the relevant zone code in relation to maximum building height, the provision of private open space, boundary set-backs etc.


Would you like an Outdoor Area with your unit?

SFP/GTP or BFP/BUP – Unit Titling Explained

When commencing any multi-unit development, an important aspect which is often an afterthought in the titling process is the legislative requirements for the boundaries of lots and common property. This is an important issue which should be discussed at the start of the development process, and can assist to reduce delays in the issue of tile deeds. The right titling could potentially add significant value to the unit price, and minimise the potential for related body corporate disputes later on.


Building Format Plan (BFP)

The most common form of unit titling is a Building Format Plan (previously known as a Building Unit Plan (BUP)) and defines the unit areas by the structural elements of a building (e.g. the centre of walls). This titling applies to multi-storey unit complexes and is often referred to as strata titling.

An example of a Building Format Plan defining the building and the Exclusive Use Areas.

The lot owner is generally responsible for the inside of the walls, and the body corporate is responsible for maintaining the outside of the building, foundations, roof, and essential structural elements of the building even if they are not on common property, roads, gardens and lawns on common property.

Exclusive Use Areas are usually drawn up to demarcate the area the owner has the benefit of, unless the ‘exclusive use’ provisions in the Community Management Statement (i.e. Body Corporate By-Laws) state otherwise.  This form of community titling does not require a subdivision approval.

However, the local government does not need to issue a certificate for the survey plan and the Community Management Statement to confirm that these comply with state planning legislation.

Standard Format Plan (SFP)


An example of a Standard Format Plan defining the individual lots and the common property along the driveway.

A Standard Format Plan in a community titles scheme (previously known as a Group Title Plan (GTP)), defines land using marks on the ground or the outside of the building. This titling can apply to townhouse complexes where each lot owns the building and a ‘yard’.

The benefit of this form of titling is there is usually less common property and as a result there is less body corporate maintenance. Each lot owner is responsible for the inside and outside of their building, foundations, utility infrastructure, lawns, gardens and driveways inside their lot.

However, because this titling involves the subdivision of land, a subdivision application is required with Council. The subdivision is usually undertaken at the same time as the planning approval (i.e. Material Change of Use) for the building/s as a combined application, as the resultant lot sizes are usually smaller than a lot subdivision that is not in a standard format Community Titles Scheme.


Rejuvenation for The Parkyn Brothers Jetty

Martoo Consulting is pleased to report that The Parkyn Brothers Jetty in Tewantin has been approved for upgrading to provide a contemporary jetty and floating pontoon facility.Parkyn Brothers Jetty

In place since 1951, the jetty has been used for transport, fishing and houseboat hire. Martoo Consulting has worked closely with Noosa Council and State Government over the last 18 months to secure the extension to the lease and planning approvals for the jetty redevelopment.

The redevelopment includes the addition of a new storage building designed to be sympathetic to the existing uses on the Noosa River; relocation of the reception and storage area will improve public safety and security by locating it closer to the jetty entry; and the replacement of the existing jetty with a wider jetty with hand rails to comply with current anti-discrimination (disability access) and building standards.
Works are set to commence in the coming weeks ahead of the jetty’s reopening for another busy Spring/Summer in Noosa.


Other Recent Successes for Our Clients

Other approvals this year in which Martoo Consulting has collaborated with our valued clients in delivering successful approvals include:

Commercial / Resort

  • Changes to Viridian Resort, Noosa Heads
  • Restaurant, Noosa Junction
  • Changes to Units and Shops, Noosaville
  • Changes to Settlers Cove Resort, Noosa Heads
  • Office, Imbil
  • Shops, O’Connell Street, Gympie


  • Subdivision, Doonan
  • Subdivision, Dulong
  • Subdivision, Pie Creek
  • 14 lot Subdivision, Imbil
  • Subdivision, Glastonbury
  • Subdivision, Cootharaba Rd Gympie
  • Subdivision, Chatsworth
  • Subdivision, Imbil
  • Subdivision, Myall St Gympie


  • 15 Residential Units, Gympie
  • Units Crank Street,  Sunshine Beach
  • House, James Street, Noosaville
  • Duplex, George Street, Noosaville
  • Duplex, Werin Street, Tewantin
  • Residential Units, James St Noosaville
  • Residential, Imbil
  • House within the Coastal Building line, The Esplanade Teewah


  • Macadamia Nut Production, Monkland
  • St John’s College Nambour Extension
  • Agricultural Glasshouses, Caboolture
  • Industrial, Rene Street, Noosaville
  • Industrial, Yandina
  • Industry, Fairview Road, Monkland
  • Commercial Jetty Redevelopment, Tewantin
  • Extensions to Surf Club, Rainbow Beach
  • Extractive Industry, Kybong
  • Extensions to Church, Southside Gympie
  • School extensions, Southside Gympie


“Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how.”

Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

Feedback requested by Gympie Regional Council on Final draft of Structure Plan for Southside LDA

Feedback requested by Gympie Regional Council on Final Draft of Structure Plan for Southside Local Development Area

160923_Draft Local Development Area Structure Plan 160923_draft-southside-lda


When the current planning Scheme over the Gympie Regional Council area first came into force in July, 2013, it limited future subdivision and land use development in three precincts around the city of Gympie until structure plans were adopted for each respective area by the Gympie Regional Council.  These three precincts are defined as local development areas in the planning scheme and within the localities of Southside, East Deep Creek and Victory Heights

Martoo Consulting has a long history and extensive experience in dealing with development proposals in and around each of these precincts.  Because of this Martoo Consulting has been liaising with Gympie Regional Council on Council’s proposal to adopt structure plans over these local development areas since before the current Gympie Regional Council planning scheme (2013) was introduced.  More recently Martoo Consulting has made submissions to Gympie Regional Council on behalf of several landowners on the preliminary Draft Structure Plan for the Southside Local Development Area.  Gympie Regional Council has recently released the final draft Structure Plan and has invited feedback from landowners and the broader community until 5pm on 23 December 2016.  Again Martoo Consulting is working with certain landowners and the general community to help ensure that their interests are better represent in the adopted Structure Plan for the Southside Local Development Area.    Martoo Consulting can be contacted if any assistance is required in providing feedback to Gympie Regional Council.


Changing land development scheme in the Gympie Region


Superseded Planning Scheme can no longer be requested after 1 July 2014

The Gympie Regional Council adopted the current 2013 Gympie Regional Planning Scheme on 1 July 2013, and as such, the one year anniversary for the take effect date is fast approaching – in less than a month from now.  Developments lodged to the Gympie Regional Council after 1 July 2014 will no longer be able to request assessment under the superseded 2005 Cooloola Scheme.

In some instances, this can significant affect the viability, profitability and design outcomes for the development of land.  It is suggested that even if you are considering developing land in the next 5-10 years time, that you urgently contact Martoo Consulting to conduct a due diligence exercise.

Our planners have the requisite experience to promptly provide advice on whether your approvals for possible future development should be started today – to avoid missing out.

Existing landholders, potential purchasers, and developers take note – this is an exercise which simply must be undertaken for anyone considering developing land in Gympie.

Infrastructure Charges for Developments to Change

State-wide framework to potentially alter local authorities’ infrastructure charges for new developments


New developments increase the demand on local infrastructure such as roads, water and sewerage. Developments can range from homeowners subdividing their block to major developers building a whole new community.

When local authorities approve a development application, the applicant may be required to pay an infrastructure charge to the local authority. Local authorities use this money to upgrade infrastructure and make sure neighbourhoods have the services they need.

Proposed Infrastructure Planning and Charging Framework

The Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning has produced an Infrastructure Planning and Charging Framework that is intended to be fair, clear and simple, striking a balance between local authority sustainability and development feasibility.

The draft framework incorporates four key elements:

A Fair Value Schedule of charges that encourages local authorities to apply fair infrastructure charges.

  • A Priority Development Infrastructure program that will see the state co-invest in development and economic growth in local communities.
  • An investigation into sensible infrastructure standards set by the state.
  • Transparent and consistent legislative changes.

The draft framework was presented to industry representatives and then presented to State Parliament in May.

Should you want to discuss what the change to infrastructure charges may bring for a development in a particular area, please do not hesitate to contact Martoo Consulting to have a planner assist with your development enquiry.

Regional and Rural Development focus of The Queensland Plan: a draft vision for the next 30 years

Shaping fundamental aspects of how our cities and regions might operate for the next few decades

The Queensland Plan

The Queensland Government has been busily and publicly active in the past twelve months, showcasing and shaping its new vision and strategy document;The Queensland Plan.  The widely-consulted strategy has just completed its community review stage.  The document largely centres on the State’s normative interests and portfolios, such as the economy, infrastructure, health and education.  This update focuses upon targets within The Queensland Plan relating to planning and development, giving an insight into how the Queensland Government is planning to shape our State’s built environment over the next few decades:

  • Regions – half of Queensland’s population lives outside South East Queensland.
  • Environment – Queensland has the best balance of environmental protection and economic development in Australia.
  • Infrastructure – the right infrastructure is delivered at the right place at the right time.

The balance of environmental protection and economic development is covered in greater detail in a previous post, and will not be discussed in any depth with this update.  The discussion of infrastructure delivery is indirectly given within this article’s focus upon the “Regions” element of the strategy directive.

Regions – half of Queensland’s population lives outside South East Queensland (by 2044).

At first glance, it may seem that this statement is easily achievable without much direct policy intervention.   However, for a population estimated at 4.66 million at the June Quarter of 2013, South East Queensland makes up approximately 70% of Queensland’s entire residential population.   Further, an assessment of Queensland’s broad hectare land supply, which is greenfield and brownfield land suitable for residential development greater than 2,500m2 in size, provides that South East Queensland holds an expected future dwelling yield of 450,000; accounting for 75% of dwelling yield across the entire State.

So, with a large population base, strong recent population growth, and the potential for a significant amount of future dwellings to be sited within the region, it stands to reason that it may be difficult redirect the inertia behind the steady trend of population growth within South East Queensland.  Once the logistics and cost that would underpin the sufficient and timely construction of public and community infrastructure is taken into account, which would be provided against the current trend of population growth, the scale of the commitment behind this strategy statement becomes more fully realized.

This strategy direction, if carried to fruition, would likely stimulate a large number of infrastructure upgrade projects across the State to support this growth.  Without already large rate bases, these infrastructure investments are not likely to be able to come from smaller Councils outside South East Queensland; limiting significant growth to areas within the larger regional areas of Mackay, Rockhampton, Cairns and Townsville, and undoubtedly with the added help of significant State or Federal regional infrastructure funding.

The far more difficult query relates is how the Government plans to stem the tide of greenfield, and indeed brownfield or infill development, in the burgeoning South East Queensland region, against the apparent momentum of this popular region?

Or is the plan to outstrip the long-standing growth trend in SEQ, with astronomical injections of funds to stimulate growth and infrastructure development in regional and rural areas of Queensland?  Will this come at the cost of those in the State who choose to settle in well-serviced and affordable areas of SEQ?  The finer points of this rural and regional revitalization are not known, and it is impossible to say how exactly such a plan would be delivered at this point in time.

The move by the Queensland Government to focus population growth, and hence economic growth, outside SEQ is a significant undertaking.  To limit impacts upon fringe agricultural lands in SEQ from our ever-expanding city centres, it could be a welcome development.  And so too for towns across Queensland which have been struggling in recent times with the pressures of metropolitan-focused population and societal growth, the “two-state” economy problem introduced by regional mining and gas projects, and fluctuating weather and commodities prices.  The growth would not come without the announcement of many and varied infrastructure projects across the State, which could be a welcome move for the construction and manufacturing sectors.

And it certainly would mean that developers looking to capitulate on this focus should start looking far and wide for opportunities to develop land across Queensland; as the growth in population in these areas will not occur entirely off the State’s back; and not without a concerted push from the urban development industry.

The Mary Valley – Growth and Strategy for revitalisation

Mary Valley

The Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDIP) have been focusing their efforts on growing the economy of the MaryValley, linked with the State’s sale of property in the region, centred around the potential for;

  • Growing agribusiness;
  • Growing small business; and
  • Growing tourism.

The economic development strategy for the MaryValley region, as developed by DSDIP, can be viewed here.  Further, properties for sale through the State are available for viewing here.  It is also possible to submit proposals or register interest in developing land to the Mary Valley Economic Development Office at 46 Main Street, Kandanga.

As specialists in land development for particularly the Gympie and SunshineCoast regions, contact us to find out if your designs on a MaryValley life or business are compatible with the planning schemes and other development constraints regulating land development in Queensland.

Our services may include assisting with site due diligence, co-ordinating the preparation of economic development proposals, and regular town planning, environmental approvals, or surveying work for inclusion in development applications for Council and the State Government.  For a full list of our services, please see our website or contact us.


Planning reform in Queensland

Updates on the Newman Government’s State planning reforms

If you’ve been active in the development space over the last few years, you may have noticed the incremental roll-out of the Newman Government’s policy and planning legislation reform, significantly changing the game for developers in Queensland.

This newsletter will chronicle the release of reforms as they are announced and as they come into force, helping distil what the changes mean for those in the industry, and what could arise out of the various shifts in focus which have been set in motion by the Newman Government.

So far we’ve seen significant changes from 2013, including the following:

  • Installment of the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) and online myDAS portal;
  • State Development Assessment Provisions (SDAPs)
  • Single State Planning Policy;
  • Queensland Planning Provisions;
  • Sustainable Planning Act and Other Legislation Ammendments (SPOLA) Act 2012;
  • Environmental Protection (Greentape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendments Act 2012; and
  • Vegetation Management Amendment Act 2013 (and self-assessable codes)

With the following milestones yet to come in 2014 and 2015:

  • Changes to infrastructure charges framework – mid 2014
  • Planning for Queensland’s Development Act (to replace the Sustainable Planning Act) - late 2014-mid 2015
  • Updating regional plans - to the end of 2014
  • Updating of local planning schemes – ongoing

All of these changes have a significant impact upon the development application process involving almost every type of conceivable type of urban land development in Queensland.

Accordingly, certain types of development activity regulated under planning or environmental legislation, which was previously unviable, may now be achievable with the effects of the reform.  Conversely, these changes may impose different or further challenges or restrictions upon land use matters in Queensland.

Time is the critical element here, and finding out where your development stands sooner rather than later could add significant advantages and save you time and money through the concept design and assessment stages.

If you would like to discuss a particular development with us, and how it’s status may change with the roll out of State legislation or policy, get in contact with our Gympie or SunshineCoast office and one of our staff will assist with your enquiry.



Lord of the Regions: Queensland’s Single State Planning Policy


The Newman Queensland Government’s approach to the State’s planning policy has been revealed as one of consolidation; introducing a single state planning policy (SPP) to replace the multiple policies previously in existence.  The SPP has two important roles; in guiding local governments to identify and implement state interests, and also for applicants in formulating their development proposals.

Lord of the rings

Aside from governmental functions including making or amending planning schemes or regional plans, the SPP has two important applications being for:

  • the designation of land for community infrastructure (CID) for things such as:
    • hospitals;
    • educational facilities;
    • railway facilities;
    • parks and recreational facilities; and
    • government administrative offices and works depots.
  • Assessment of a development application according to the interim development assessment requirements until the SPP is integrated into planning schemes (any scheme made after the SPP came into effect on 2 December 2013)

Some state interests have supporting mapping to assist in spatially representing policies or requirements outlined in the SPP. There is mapping for both local government plan making and development assessment purposes. This mapping is contained in the SPP Interactive Mapping System.

The SPP is set out according to five core themes, under which sixteen (16) interests are grouped.  The themes and their respective interests are the following:

1.    Liveable communities and housing

1.1. Liveable communities

1.2. Housing supply and diversity

2.    Economic Growth

2.1. Agriculture

2.2. Development and Construction

2.3. Mining and Extractive Resources

2.4. Tourism

3.    Environment and Heritage

3.1. Biodiversity

3.2. Coastal environment

3.3. Cultural Heritage

3.4. Water Quality

4.    Hazards and safety

4.1. Emissions and hazardous activities

4.2. Natural hazards

5.    Infrastructure

5.1. Energy and water supply

5.2. State transport infrastructure

5.3. Strategic airports and aviation facilities

5.4. Strategic ports

Not all of the interests listed above are relevant to development assessment, even in the interim until the SPP can be integrated into planning schemes and the interim development assessment provisions apply.  Only the following interests apply, according to how they are set out in the new interim development assessment requirements in the SPP:

  • extractive resources;
  • biodiversity in relation to a matter of state environmental significance;
  • coastal environment where on land in a coastal management district;
  • water quality;
  • natural hazards;
  • emissions and hazardous activities;
  • state transport infrastructure; and
  • strategic airports and aviation facilities.

With a number of planning schemes under review, or scheduled for review in the near future, the Single SPP along with the ever-updating Queensland Planning Provisions, and other relevant planning instruments, are sure to be cornerstones of the Newman Government’s planning legacy, as it is constructed and unfolded before our very eyes.

It remains to be seen whether the level of change from a planning framework perspective is having an effect upon the simplicity and warranted success of development applications; it should be said though that the distinctive move from ad hoc and numerous, toward consistent, consolidated and duly iterative, is a welcome directive in spite of the short term complexity it presents.

New Gympie Regional Council Planning Scheme: six months on

Time running out for assessment under the old Cooloola Shire Planning Scheme

Gympie Town

The Gympie Regional Council adopted its new planning scheme a little over six months ago, on 1st July 2013.  The new planning scheme applies over areas under the old Cooloola Shire, Tiaro Shire, and Kilkivan Shire planning schemes, taking into account the Gympie Regional Council’s plan for development and the new requirements from the State with regards to land use planning.  Accordingly, the zones, levels of assessment, use definitions, infrastructure plans, and other key aspects of any planning scheme have been updated in the new scheme, meaning that a development can be considered differently between the old schemes and the new Gympie Regional Council planning scheme.

An application can be made under the old planning scheme for a period up until twelve months after the new scheme came into effect.  This means until the 1st July 2014, an applicant considering developing their land can still apply to have the application assessed under the old scheme.  This provision exists State-wide, and is intended to allow flexibility for landowners who may have their plans for development seriously affected or altered due to the effect of a new planning scheme.

It is essential to contact one of our experienced planners in order to determine whether there is any benefit in lodging your application for development under an old scheme.  The difference between schemes can be quite substantial, with changes to land zonings, minimum lot sizes for subdivision, levels of assessment for land use changes and other development, and use definitions being typically the key applicable changes.  This can have bearing upon any application, including primarily;

  • Subdividing small blocks or subdivision for an estate, or other reconfigurations of a lot; and
  • Changing the use for commercial, industrial or residential purposes (eg. Shop to factory, house to workshop, café or restaurant to tourist accommodation, etc.).

The new Gympie Regional Council Planning Scheme has also been extensively utilized in applications prepared by Martoo Consulting in the latter half of 2013, and in to 2014 as well.

For more information on our experience and capabilities in our Gympie region, please get in contact.  Our Gympie office is located in the centre of town, and we’d be only too happy to discuss your development opportunities.

The changing face of development in Queensland: Vegetation Management

New regulations govern the use of vegetated land balancing economic and environmental outcomes

Vegetation Management

The legislative and policy framework governing vegetation clearing in Queensland for a range of land uses and development scenarios has changed, with aims to balance good environmental outcomes with correspondingly appropriate development proposals.  Accordingly, development that was previously prohibited or difficult to carry out due to the structure of the previous framework may now be possible, providing that a good case be made for the development against the criteria of the new framework.

The assessment of clearing generally still depends on the following considerations:

  • the type of vegetation (as indicated on the new regulated vegetation management map and supporting maps);
  • the tenure of the land (e.g. freehold or Indigenous land);
  • the location, extent and purpose of the proposed clearing; and
  • who is proposing to do the clearing (e.g. state government body, landholder).

The recent shift provides a raft of significant changes, including different exemptions for clearing purposes, new self-assessable codes, and a new simplified mapping of regulated vegetation over lots in Queensland.  The vegetation categories on the new map are:

  • Category A (red): areas subject to compliance notices, offsets and voluntary declarations
  • Category B (dark blue): remnant vegetation
  • Category C (light blue): high-value regrowth vegetation
  • Category R (yellow): regrowth vegetation within 50m of watercourses in priority reef catchment areas
  • Category X (white): areas not regulated under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

A significant change for most of the developments Martoo Consulting has experience in gaining approvals for – being small subdivisions to large estates, duplexes to multi-storey complexes and shopping centres, schools to marinas and community infrastructure, and even backpackers and bed and breakfasts – is the change in level of assessment from 2 hectares to 5 hectares.  This means that lots less than 5 hectares in area will not be assessed for clearing proposed as part of a development.

The new self-assessable codes and clearing exemption purposes will also likely provide for some significant changes in terms of level of assessment; however these purposes and exemptions tend to be more circumstantial and applicable on a case-by-case basis.

In terms of the outcomes required of developments assessed against the State’s development assessment for vegetation matters, a renewed focus has been cast upon “environmental offsetting” as an acceptable outcome for some clearing that cannot be avoided or minimised.  Offsets can be made either through direct offsets (suitable land with good quality vegetation under an on-title security such as a covenant) or indirect offsets (the payment of an appropriate sum to the government), means that the environmental impact may be considered economically quantifiable and financial penalties enforced accordingly,  instead of the environmental damage being unequivocally prohibited.  The process is somewhat complex, requiring typically an amount of field surveying to determine the ecological equivalence of both the land to be cleared, and in the case of direct offsets, the land provided as an offset.

Martoo Consulting has experience in managing offsets for properties in Queensland, though a significant change to the Queensland Biodiversity Offsets Policy (QBOP) has been earmarked by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection for early 2014, which will also require consideration upon publication for any significant changes affecting industrial, residential, commercial and agricultural land uses in Queensland.

To find out more about your property or development, and how it fits in with the changes in the environmental planning space, get in contact with Martoo Consulting and one of our experienced planners can talk you through the options you have at your fingertips.