Queensland is set for a large scale overhaul of planning obligations, as the Queensland Government passes the Planning Act 2016 and related legislation.
The Planning Act will commence in 2017 and replace the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA). Additionally, the Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 and Planning (Consequential) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2016 will further amend the planning and environment regime.
A key impact will be the changes to the types and categories of what constitutes development. Development will be categorised as accepted, assessable or prohibited. Assessable development is further broken down as either code or impact assessable.
The Planning Act also replaces the Building and Development Dispute Resolution Committee with the new Development Tribunal.
Transitional provisions apply to applications and disputes already commenced under the SPA, to allow them to continue to be decided under the SPA.
The Planning and Environment Court Act 2016 functions as stand-alone legislation, governing the powers and operation of the Planning and Environment Court. Under this legislation the Planning and Environment Court will have limited powers to award costs, except in cases where an action is frivolous or vexatious, or was brought for an improper purpose. This narrowed discretion to award costs means that, in most actions, each party must bear its own costs.
The Planning (Consequential) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2016 amends a further 68 Acts to bring them in line with the new planning regime, including the Environmental Protection Act 1994, Queensland Heritage Act 1992, Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003, and Vegetation Management Act 1999.
Cooper Grace Ward will be releasing a series of alerts over the coming months to assist in you to transition into the new framework, including more detail about the impact of this legislative overhaul.