Archive for Regional Queensland

Changing land development scheme in the Gympie Region

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Superseded Planning Scheme can no longer be requested after 1 July 2014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lodged to the Gympie Regional Council after 1 July 2014 will no longer be able to request assessment under the superseded 2005 Cooloola Scheme.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

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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.

 

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.

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.