The Queensland Government passed the Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2013 on 15 March 2013, introducing a range of changes to the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 to improve the efficiency of the State’s integrated development assessment system.
The changes are part of the Newman Government’s broader policy objective to streamline and integrate development assessment processes and reduce the regulatory burden on the property and construction sectors.
The changes will see the number of schedules in the Sustainable Planning Regulation reduced by seven, and are estimated to reduce the number of referrals to the State by about 1000 per year, freeing up State resources and easing the time and cost implications felt by the development industry.
The changes introduced by the Sustainable Planning Amendment Regulation include:
- removing and simplifying various State transport referral triggers for development applications;
- standardising public notification periods for most development applications to 15 business days; and
- removing provisions related to the requirement for evidence of resource allocation or entitlement for development applications involving a State resource.
Changing State referral triggers
The changes to the various State transport referral triggers aim to simplify the involvement of the State in the development assessment process. Triggers for referring development applications to the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) near an existing transport corridor or future railway corridor have been standardised to a distance of 25 m (previously up to 100 m).  Additionally, all development applications within a distance of 50 m of a transport tunnel will trigger the inclusion of DTMR as a concurrence agency.
Development involving building work that encroaches into the airspace of an airport will only trigger DTMR referrals if the building work is at least 12 m high.
Importantly, schedules 9 to 13 of the Sustainable Planning Regulation have been replaced with a single schedule (Schedule 9 - Development impacting on State transport infrastructure and thresholds), consolidating the threshold triggers for all modes of transport-related development applications involving a material change of use premises, reconfiguring of a lot and operational works.
Standardising public notification periods
Under the changes, almost all development applications that require public notification will now only have to undertake public notification for 15 business days. This is a significant change for those development applications that were previously required to undertake public notification for 30 business days, such as those for large outdoor sport and recreation facilities, tourist resorts, and proposed developments sharing a boundary with a heritage place, wet tropics area or fish habitat area.
However, there are certain development applications that still require a 30 business day notification period (for example, development applications for a preliminary approval overriding the local planning instrument).
Removing provisions related to State resources
As a result of amendments made to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 in November 2012, the Sustainable Planning Regulation will be amended to remove all provisions relating to the requirement for evidence of resource allocation or entitlement for development applications involving a State resource.