Archive for Queensland Government

e-Newsletter Spring 2017

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

  • Can Airbnb be Regulated?
  • From Cootharaba to Coolangatta – Shaping SEQ
  • Cross River Rail Project – What About the North Coast Line?
  • Summer Bushfire Hazard
  • Be Warned! Planning Schemes Have Been Amended
  • Other News

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

Regulating Airbnb

Airbnb has turned sharing our homes and living spaces with strangers from a fringe idea into an income. Much has been written in the media about this disruptive land use change, with most knowing somebody who is making a bit on the side by renting their house out during holiday time to fund their own holiday.

Over the last 5 years Council’s have taken a hands off approach to this disruptive land use change, however is this all about to change?


The Noosa Plan currently requires an impact assessable planning application for a bed and breakfast use, while the Sunshine Coast Council Planning Schemes is more self-regulating allowing for up to 6 people stay for no more than 14 days, so long as the resident owner manages the stay and is reserved a room. However, with more than 1,000 listings on the Coast for short stay accommodation, there have been only 6 applications approved for a ‘bed and breakfast’ use in the last 5 years by both Councils.

Rather, Council has taken a ‘hands off’ approach only responding to complaints from neighbours when the temporary AirBnB residents get out of hand (i.e. party houses). In which case, the owner stops advertising, or buys a house nearby with more understanding neighbours.

Local Councils are having to respond to the other neighbours having to put up with the amenity impacts (noise, car parking, rubbish etc.). Academics and strategic planners have been complaining about the societal concerns associated with the impacts on the local rental market and social cohesion in these transient tourist areas. And now the tourism lobby are now complaining AirBnB is impacting on hotel chains bottom lines. Concern is raised about the lack of regulation of people running hotels out of residential buildings, and highlighting how Airbnb hosts do not collect hotel taxes, tourism levies and are not subject to the same health and fire safety regulations that hotel operators must follow.

In response, Noosa Council recently announced they are looking at ways to formalise AirBnB’s by creating a management policy (and a way of taxing) for the use within the new planning scheme. They have also asked LGAQ to lobby the State government to develop a policy response.

Considering other State Laws recently brought in to control ‘disruptive’ changes such as Uber (as a result of the Taxi Industry lobbying), which include the requirement for licences and annual fees – could this be the start of regulation for this disruptive land use change?

 A new plan for South East QLD – ‘From Cootharaba to Cambooyah to Coolangatta and everywhere in between’

SEQ plan and statistics

SEQ Plan and Population Statistics
Click on image to view larger size

Shaping SEQs is the third ‘big’ regional plan for South East Queensland and sets the parameters for land use planning to grow from 3.5 million to 5.3 million people in the next 25 years.he plan uses all the modern planning terms including responding to ‘global megatrends’, ‘missing middle housing’, ‘sweating our assets’, ‘inter urban breaks’, ‘place making’,  ‘disruptive technology’. However, what is much different from the previous plans to this version is the more collaborative approach the State are proposing to ‘work with’ the 12 local governments, which make up the region. 

What does it mean for the Sunshine Coast?

  • More development towards Brisbane with the expansion of ‘Beerwah East’ as a Ministerial Designated Area. Giving it special status as a large growth area requiring significant state infrastructure investment for its urban development.
  • Halls Creek (south of Stockland’s Aura development) is identified as a potential ‘Future Growth Area’. This means the land has at least been shown on a map for expansion in time the next update of the plan in 5 years.
  • The Sunshine Coast is required to accommodate 53,700 new ‘infill’ unit developments, and 33,300 new ‘greenfield’ developments over the next 25 years. Equivalent to 2,148 new units & 1,332 new detached house lots per year.

Opinion – A lot of the new detached house growth and development will be focussed on the southern end of the coast. Although ambitiously targeting more unit developments, the plan is for more quarter acre block on the outskirts of greater Brisbane.

What does it mean for Noosa?

  • No expansion of the urban footprint for the next five years.
  • The State want to see more consolidated development with 4,800 new ‘infill’ units, and 1,600 new ‘greenfield’ houses over the next 25 years. Equivalent to 192 new units & 64 new detached houses per year.

Opinion – These are fairly low and unambitious targets for growth in Noosa. Even with many sites being zoned for higher densities it is the individual landowner who is deciding whether it is worth building another 10 bedroom house on their unit zoned land near the river/beach.

What does it mean for Gympie?

  • Despite having a new 4 lane highway connecting Gympie to Brisbane making travel times less than 2 hours, there are no State urban footprint restrictions.
  • Gympie Council is planning for the overflow of South East Queensland and recently endorsed the Southside Local Development Area Structure Plan to accommodate a further 1,200 dwellings in an emerging uan area.

Opinion – Considering the greater connection with Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, as well as the cheap cost of land in the area it will be interesting to watch Gympie’s growth over the coming years.

Regional plans are reviewed generally every five to seven years. Feel free to come in and speak to our qualified and experienced planners, who can provide greater insights into the opportunities and constraints for appropriate land development within the region.

 seq plan southseq plan north

legend seq

All Aboard the Cross River Rail Project! What about the North Coast Rail Line?

By Jack Lewis

The South East QLD transport network connects the region from Gympie to the Gold Coast. As a sometimes user of the network, I can attest to the fact that the network is pretty efficient, air conditioned and modern compared with other regions and countries.


However in South East Queensland the car is still the dominant form of travel, and while I can get a train from Gympie to Varsity Lakes that takes just under 5 hours, I predominantly choose to drive the 3½ hours, endure the tolls, roadworks and the overcrowded Nudgee service centre toilets.

Brian Feeney from the University of Queensland recently commented that the push by the QLD State government for the Cross River Project (reinforced by the Shaping SEQ plan) provides for a second railway connection through the Brisbane CBD, but at the expense of decentralisation. He argues this large infrastructure spending will serve areas that already have comparatively good public transport services, whereas the suburban and coastal areas where most people live would continue to have limited transport options.

Give most people a proper rational choice between driving and catching good public transport, and the decision will be between what is cheaper, more efficient and more environmentally sensible. If driving to Brisbane from the coast for and having to be somewhere by a certain time, most still choose driving.

The big growth for the coast in the Shaping SEQ plan document is to open up the southern end of the coast with new Stockland houses. Isn’t it time the State also pushed for a large infrastructure announcement for the North Coast Rail Line?

Fire Noosa North Shore

Fire Noosa North Shore – August 2017

Summer Bushfire Hazard

Spring is bushfire season in our region. We have already had some intense bushfire’s early in the season with houses being lost on the Noosa North Shore and evacuations at the southern end of the coast. Bushfire hazard planning is of critical importance to any new development.

Noosa Council recently refused an aged care facility on part of the Noosa Civic site, with the bushfire hazard risk likely to unduly burden disaster management response and recovery capacity and capabilities. New developments on the south end of the coast also forced residents to flee from their new estate houses.

Come and speak to our experienced and qualified planners who can assist in providing you the upfront information to avoid a costly Council refusal, or appropriate design responses to help manage bushfire risk.

Be Warned! Check how Existing Planning Schemes Have Been Amended To Align with New Planning Act

The new Planning Act commenced in July and introduces new terminology, processes and procedures.  Most local governments have also amended their plans to align with the new Planning Act.  However, there is no need for local governments to advertise or identify the amendments made to the plan.

Certain local governments have taken this opportunity to improve and clarify their previous local planning instrument/scheme without the need to undergo public consultation.  It has been discovered that one such Council has amended the following requirements:

  • Reducing the number of lots that can be developed for dual occupancy by over 50% (not allowing them to be located next to one another);
  • Introduced a maximum height in metres across all zones, rather than the previous and admittedly vague reference to height in storeys; and
  • Further restrictions on the subdivision of rural land for primary production (which is undefined).

Anyone who was considering to proceed with a development application under the previous Sustainable Planning Act is advised to check with a consulting planner to clarify the changes which may have resulted with the introduction of the new Planning Act.

Other News

The Sunshine Coast Council just can’t catch a ‘break’. With the Halls Creek expansion included within the Shaping SEQ Plan, despite Mayor Jamieson being vehemently opposed to Halls Creek being a potential Growth Area. Considering the break is currently approximately 20km wide, at least it’s not as narrow as the 2km between Ormeau and North Coomera on the Gold Coast.

Gympie is still on track to utilise more ‘Sun’ than the ‘Sunshine’ Coast, as a massive $2 Billion dollar solar farm on the outskirts of Gympie is in the approval process. If completed, the solar farm will power over 315,000 homes.

All the good weather has resulted in Section C of the Bruce Highway upgrade nearing completion, with the real possibility of the highway being opened before Christmas.

Note: If you’re having trouble downloading the links – Right Click the link and ‘Open in Incognito Button’ (Google Chrome) or Right Click the link and ‘Open in New Window” (Internet Explorer).

Jack Lewis B.Sc Hons UNSW, M.Plan OTAGO
Greg Martoo, B App Sc (Surv), Dip URP, M App SC (Urban Design), MPIA, MSIA
Certified Practising Planner, Registered Cadastral Surveyor
Nadine Gorton  BRTP, Grad Cert. Mgmt
Sarah Cole  BA (Pol Sci), LLB, L5B (Grad Cert Legal Prac)


Peregian Beach Surf Life Saving Club

In the news – the Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club is working to assist the Peregian community re-establish a sustainable volunteer lifesaving club from Peregian Beach.

The management committee of the Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club has engaged Martoo Consulting to assist working with Noosa Council, State Government, Kabi Kabi and the community in progressing a lease and future planning application.

The next step in the process is for Noosa Council to develop a Peregian Beach Foreshore Land Use Management Plan, which will identify and meet community needs and expectations for the next 40 to 50 years.

Noosa Today Article Peregian circa 1963Peregian Beach Flag



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

The Parkyn Brothers Jetty in Tewantin Approved for Redevelopment

We are pleased to report that The Parkyn Brothers Jetty in Tewantin has been approved for redevelopment.

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 t…he 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; 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.

Parkyn Brothers Jetty 1951 Marine Board Approval 2017 Council Approval Site Plan 3D View Store 3D View Office

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.



The Sunshine Coast Council has, at a Special Meeting on Monday 14 April 2014, adopted the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme.  The adoption comes after the Draft Scheme was signed off by the State Government Minister, subject to conditions which are to be incorporated by Council.

The Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme will replace both the Caloundra City Plan 2004 and the Maroochy Plan 2000, providing a level of consistency across the Sunshine Coast whilerecognising the unique character of local communities.

It is intended that the new planning scheme will commence on 21 May 2014, heralding in a new era for planning on the Sunshine Coast.

Should you wish to know of your opportunities for development either before or after adoption of the new scheme, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.

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.


Development Assessment Fees in Queensland: Overhaul and Increase

State Assessment Fees to follow “cost-recovery” model

Developers proposing to undertake development requiring extra assessment by the State will incur a higher fee from July 2014 under a planned “cost-recovery” model released by the Queensland Government in February.  Some aspects of development in Queensland are considered to warrant the assessment against interests of the State, for impacts chiefly upon their assets such as roads, railways, national parks, environmentally sensitive areas, waterways, agricultural land suitability, and vegetation management.  Any application made to a Local Council for a land development, if it is of interest to the State, currently gets referred to the relevant State Department for assessment, through the State Assessment Referral Agency.

The fees for this assessment currently vary, with some assessments priced at zero, and some in excess of thousands of dollars.  In order to recover approximately 64% of costs ($25.3 million) for its assessments of development applications, the State is proposing that no assessments will continue to be priced at zero, and the existing fee structure recorded in Schedule 7A of the Sustainable Planning Regulation will be overhauled.  The Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement proposes that a weighted fee is to be applied, based upon the time it takes for the State to typically make each certain type of assessment.  There are to be five fixed fee levels, with the base fee at around $700, and the maximum fee at around $11,000.

What does this mean for developers of land in Queensland? In most cases, it means that it will cost more to undertake any type of development involving the State as a concurrence agency.  This has a variety of implications, but typically it would seem that smaller developments that inconsequentially trigger State assessment stand to suffer the most from this policy, due to a high cost relative to their development’s returns.  That being said, the State is proposing that for some potential impacts, a quick assessment of likely impacts can reduce fees.  If a no impact is likely, the fee is applied as cheaply as possible (between $700 and about $2500), but for high likely impacts, fees can be as high as about $11,000.

The most frequently referred State agency for development assessments is the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR).  This referral currently has an assessment fee priced at zero, and can be implicated with many small but also some large developments, based upon their proximity or likelihood of impacting State transport networks (mainly roads).  For the estimated number of assessments in 2014-15, referrals to DTMR account for approximately 36% of the 7040 assessments.  It is considered that much of the assessment revenue would therefore come from triggers relating to DTMR and State-controlled roads, at the cost of the applicant.

It is worth noting that this assessment fee may be in addition to requests for certified reports by consultant Engineers, Scientists, or other suitably qualified persons.  This isn’t a new occurrence, and has been a shift in the last couple of years, which acts to further complicate the process for anyone wishing to do their own development assessment.

The State’s policy does mean that those wishing to profit from the development of land will wear a more equitable share of the costs; a cost that taxpayers had previously borne.  This is an ethical and logical step.  The policy in it’s current form isn’t without potential issues however, including chiefly the basis of the cost being for the historic time it takes for the State to make it’s assessment on certain matters.  These times fluctuate for a variety of reasons; individual assessor performance, change in policy, and difficulty of assessment due to the non-local base of assessor or non-technical base of the assessor.  Further, it is suggested that a Risk-SMART type arrangement would provide further equity for developers who engage experienced consultants, who prepare reports and plans which significantly reduce the time and complexity of the State’s assessment.

The most encouraging section of the policy is the Government’s aim to continually review the fee structure; to ensure that any issues arising from the framework are addressed and any bumps ironed out.   The Government is obviously hoping it’s already got the balance right between cost and outcome, though the fee for some assessments might still be hard for some applicants to swallow, particularly small developments where the trigger for assessment has arisen from what may be perceived as a trivial or inconsequential matter.

If you’re considering a development that you believe may implicate a State assessment, it may be best to consider going ahead with the development now to avoid a potential rise in referral costs. Please contact us for a site-specific assessment, and we can advise on what the potential difference in costs may be.