The Regional Planning Interests Bill 2013 was introduced into Parliament recently to give effect to the Queensland Government’s “next generation" regional plans to manage land use conflicts in regional Queensland between resource projects important to the economic growth of Queensland and existing agricultural land use.

The Bill makes it an offence to carry out, or allow the carrying out, of a resource activity or regulated activity in an area of regional interest without a regional interest authority.

A resource activity will include mining exploration activities as well as petroleum and gas exploration activities. Regulated activities are yet to be identified and will be prescribed by regulations to the Bill.

Areas of regional interest are defined as being a priority agricultural area, a priority living area, a strategic cropping area or a strategic environmental area and must be shown on a regional plan or a map to be included in the regulations to the Bill.

The Bill will relate directly to the newly created policies introduced in the regional plans for the Darling Downs, Central Queensland, Cape York and South East Queensland.