The Queensland Parliament has passed new planning laws to improve liveability, sustainability and prosperity for Queenslanders. The new laws seek to provide greater accountability, transparency and community engagement and a more efficient system to deliver community and industry outcomes.

Under the new Planning Act 2016 and Planning and Environment Court Act 2016, the Queensland planning system will be simplified and streamlined to promote economic growth and investment while accountability, transparency and engagement will be enhanced to provide greater protection for the environment and community values.

A core focus of the reforms is restoring community confidence and industry certainty in land use planning and development. This is sought to be achieved through a range of means, including:

  • simpler categories of development and levels of assessment
  • tighter decision rules for development assessment
  • new requirements on councils and the state government to publish reasons for decisions on development applications
  • restoring appeal rights based on parties bearing their own costs
  • longer consultation times on new planning schemes and mandatory consultation on state planning instruments
  • requiring the regular review of local government planning schemes and infrastructure plans
  • automatic indexing of infrastructure charges.

In addition to promoting better planning outcomes, the reforms aim to reduce complexity and compliance costs to facilitate economic growth and investment.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Jackie Trad has announced that the new laws will be supported by a comprehensive implementation and transition package.

The new planning laws will replace the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 upon commencement which is expected to be in 2017.