Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.

New planning rules could end payouts

LEGISLATION to come before State Parliament in the next few months would exempt local government from paying compensation where a planning scheme is changed to reduce the risk of harm to life and property from a natural event such as flood, bushfire or landslide.

The new legislation represents the first major challenge to Queensland's long-entrenched injurious affection laws which make councils liable to compensate land owners when development rights are reduced.

A spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning said last night that the scheme change would need to be justified by a report that assesses the various ways that the risk could be reduced.

The Planning Bill is currently being considered by   the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee and is expected to be considered by Parliament in the next few months.

The proposed changes respond to a key recommendation of the 2012 Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry that the government address restraints to better planning around flood resilience.

Recommendation 4.1 called for the government to narrow the definition of "development commitment' in State Planning Policy 1/03: Mitigating the Adverse Impacts of Flood, Bushfire and Landslide to ensure more development applications are assessed for flood resilience.

The Inquiry called for an investigation into "whether the compensation provisions of the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 act as a deterrent to the inclusion of flood controls in a planning scheme and consider whether they ought to be amended".

Submissions closed last Friday on three bills introduced to Parliament last November by Queensland Planning Minister Jackie Trad to replace the Sustainable Planning Act of 2009.

The Deputy Premier said the intent was to deliver "responsible development and deliver prosperity, sustainability and liveability for now and into the future".