Queensland has a balanced Parliament, with a few people having the balance of power. Queensland is to have new Planning Acts in the New Year. At present, Bills introduced by both the ALP and the LNP have been introduced into Parliament and are at the committee stage and will be voted on by February next year. There will be Local Government elections about March 2016.
Thus there is a once-in-a-century chance for the votes of a few politicians to make a big difference to the result. We know that there is a wide-spread opinion among ordinary Queenslanders that a lot of development recently has been inappropriate. If we can get this dissatisfaction directed into measures that impress politicians that power should be restored to the people, we could persuade the politicians to pass measures in line with our wishes.
We have been working for months, getting expert opinion as to what changes should be made to the projected Bills so that the final Act will produce better development in the future. To get our voice heard, we need thousands of emails, letters and other messages delivered to politicians to make planning an important electoral issue and to tell them what is needed.
The communication can be in your own words, but the following suggestions for what should be in the Act are endorsed by Brisbane Residents United and experts whom we consulted.
- All development applications that are not in line with the Building Code must be advertised by a notice on the site when the Plan is finalised or when preliminary discussions between the developer and the local authority take place, whichever is the earlier. Time for submission must be adequate and submissions should be given weight when a decision is made on the outcome.
- All applications for development that decrease open space will be rejected and any new development must include open space of a type and size in line with the applicable regulations.
- If any measurement on a development application deviates from the relevant code by more than 10%, the application will be denied. If the deviation is less than 10%, the assessor may allow it, if there are sufficient countervailing advantages e.g. a slight increase in height can be balanced by a larger setback.
- If any development will result in increased traffic and/or increased need for public transport and/or more educational facilities, the developer will pay the amount that the State Government and the local authority assesses will be needed to pay for the changes needed to cope with the increase. These funds must be dedicated to making such changes to public transport etc. as will remedy the problems that have been caused.
- Community consultation about any large scale projects e.g. any changes to Community Infrastructure Designations must be early, open and documented and the opinion of the local community must be an important factor in deciding whether the project is approved.
We intend to have a continuing campaign until at least next March and look for continuing public involvement.
To succeed, we need all interested people to contact
Executive Building Level 12, 100 George Street
Brisbane Qld 4000
PO Box 281
Clayfield Qld 4011
Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee
Parliament House, George St Brisbane 4000
and, preferably, your local member.
If everyone who reads this contacts 10 or so other people and persuades them to be involved, we can get the thousands of contacts needed.
If you wish to ask any questions about this, please contact
David F Pincus
PO Box 6151
St Lucia Qld 4067