29 November, 2012

State Planning Policy: Coastal Protection

State Planning Policy: Coastal Protection

Last week’s blog post examined the Newman Government’s legislative amendments to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA).

The Qld Government has demonstrated commitment to “fast tracking” the processing of development applications.

State planning policies were planning instruments; under the previous Government that former Minister Stirling Hinchliffe (or any minister in conjunction with the planning minister) would make to protect things that are of interest to the State.

When local councils were developing their local planning scheme, they were required to ensure that the planning scheme reflects the elements outlined in a state planning policy. If there was a discrepancy between a local planning scheme and a state planning policy, then what was outlined in the state planning policy overrode the planning scheme.

The Newman Government is now establishing a new approach to state planning policies. The new approach means that one single state planning policy will be developed to replace the various current state planning policies in existence.

One of these policies being replaced is the State Planning Policy 3/11: Coastal Protection (the SPP), which was one of the last initiatives of the previous Bligh Government, prior to the State Election in March 2012.  It was the intention of the previous Government to establish a Qld Coastal Plan as part of the the state’s policies in relation to matters of state interest relating to coastal protection.

The Newman Government believes that the applications of the SPP policies are in conflict with the Qld Government’s agenda to fast track development (and to grow the four pillars of Queensland’s economy). 

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said that the World Wildlife Fund and the Wilderness Society were being deliberately alarmist in their claims about changes to the Qld Coastal Plan. 

A draft State Planning Regulatory Provision (SPRP) was introduced by the Newman Government in October 2012.

The Department of State Development and Infrastructure Planning is working with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and various stakeholders to review the Queensland Coastal Plan. Mr Seeney said the draft SPRP would be in effect for 12 months while a new Single State Planning Policy was prepared. 

“We gave a clear commitment in our Property and Construction Strategy during the election campaign that we would revisit the Bligh Government’s last minute changes to the coastal plan and that we would reform the entire planning regime in Queensland,” Mr Seeney said.  He went on to say that:  “Claims that the draft SPRP lowers environmental protections are nothing more than the usual baseless, sensational rantings of radical green groups which will do or say anything to further their aims.” 

The current situation for applications is as follows:

The State Planning Regulatory Provision (SPRP)  will apply to the assessment of development applications and master plan applications that are properly made when this Coastal Protection Draft State Planning Regulatory Provision (the Draft SPRP) commences.  The provisions set out in this draft SPRP are based on the state coastal management plan policies that were in place before the introduction of the State Planning Policy 3/11: Coastal Protection (the SPP),. This draft SPRP will apply while the full review of the Queensland Coastal Plan is undertaken.

The final State Planning Policy will set out policies about matters of state interest that are to be dealt with through the planning and development assessment system.
The Department of State Development and Infrastructure Planning are seeking feedback in respect of the document entitled 'Draft Proposed State Interests – Part 1 of the State Planning Policy' which is currently released for consultation during November 2012.
The consultation document is Part 1 in the development of the State Planning Policy.

During the current consultation phase one is invited to comment on the state interests presented in the document and repeated in the feedback form.

The draft State Planning Policy and associated supporting material needed to implement the state interests will then be available for formal public consultation starting in early 2013.

All feedback received will be reviewed and directly inform the drafting of the new State Planning Policy.

For written and email submissions, please use the contact details and form listed on the DSDIP website.
 Feedback form
Use this form to send your response to DSDIP in the post or via email.


By agreement through COAG, the Australian Federal Government will hand back its powers to approve mining projects and developments that affect matters of national environmental significance to state and territory governments by March next year. These matters include threatened species and World Heritage.

The Federal Government's plans have created so much alarm that last week Sir David Attenborough and Dr Bob Brown joined 31 other prominent naturalists in urging the Prime Minister not to undermine environment protection in Australia and delegate  our responsibilities for the environment to the states.

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