New Planning Law Arrives

The Planning Act 2016 (Planning Act) commenced on the 3rd of July 2017, and has subsequently brought with it a new regulatory planning framework for Queensland. The Planning Act 2016 has officially replaced its predecessor, the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.

There are a few notable changes, the most obvious is the tightened development timeframes, a reduction of IDAS forms (now just 2), the minor change in terminology and that the Act is half the size of its predecessor. A few notable changes to keep in mind are as follows:

  • Council cannot use the Strategic Framework or another Framework to reject your Code Assessable development application if all the Assessment Benchmarks (Acceptable Outcomes) are met;
  • There are three categories of development including Accepted Development, Assessable Development and Prohibited Development. Impact and Code Assessment will continue to be the two categories of assessable development;
  • Exempt development is now defined as Accepted Development;
  • SPRPs are no longer included in the main body of the Act, instead it is stipulated in the Planning Regulation 2017;
  • “Rollover Provisions” no longer exist;
  • Applicants need to respond to the Information Request within 3 months instead of 6 months; and
  • Time extensions issued by council will no longer happen automatically. Council will have a single timeframe to decide an application. Any additional time extensions will need to be negotiated between the Assessment Manager and the Applicant.

Changes to development approvals are now split into 2 categories: Minor Change and Other Change. If a change is considered a Minor Change, it does not affect the development assessment process. Minor Change is fully detailed within Schedule 2 of the Planning Act 2016. The most notable change is Other Change, which means the application will be assessed using the development assessment process set out by the DA Rules.

Applicants now have the ability to revive an application within 20 business days from the day the application lapses.

A noticeable change in the Planning Act 2016 is the extension of a tool which enables the applicant to pause a development timeframe. The Applicant can stop the clock on the development assessment process timeframe at any time before the development application has been decided, except if the development application has lapsed, the public notification is being undertaken, if an enforcement notice is issued or if the application is in response to a show cause notice. The applicant can only stop the clock for a total maximum of 130 business days.

For any further advice regarding the new Planning Act 2016 or how this Act will impact your development application, please feel free to contact us.