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.
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:
- 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
2.2. Development and Construction
2.3. Mining and Extractive Resources
3. Environment and Heritage
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
5.1. 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.