Brisbane City Plan 2014 – a challenge for developers, residents and the Brisbane City Council

High rise, high density and intensive developments have been the subject of significant public debate in Brisbane in recent months. 

At the heart of the issue is the Brisbane City Council’s (BCC) City Plan 2014, which outlines Council’s guidelines for development.  Whilst we can all agree that Brisbane needs to slow the rate of urban sprawl by increasing density and developing in-fill sites, in practice, the impacts on local residents are creating pockets of major resistance, and this resistance has attracted significant (and negative) media attention. 

Residents have been vocal in their opposition to projects which they consider will have a detrimental impact on their property and lifestyles, and have sought to rely on the BCC’s City Plan to identify instances where proposed developments exceed the Council’s own guidelines in the City Plan and should therefore not be approved. 

Projects such as the development at the site of the old ABC studios in Toowong, and the land adjacent to the Normanby Hotel in Red Hill have attracted significant opposition, partly because the proposed developments exceed what is allowed under the City Plan.

Labor Lord Mayoral candidate, Rod Harding, has already been vocal on this issue, querying why developments that fall outside the City Plan have gained approval. This may well become one of the issues that are debated heavily in the lead up to council elections in 2016.

What is clear is that in order to win back the electorate’s confidence and to provide certainty to developers, Council needs to settle on the rules and apply them consistently.

No State taxes on foreign investment anticipated in upcoming Queensland State Budget

News from George Street has been slowly gathering momentum following the change of government after January’s election.

One clarification the government has made is that they are not going to follow the Victorian example and there will be no new taxes on foreign investment in the Queensland State Budget, which is due to be handed down in mid-July.

This move should continue to promote Queensland as a foreign investor friendly jurisdiction and which should underpin ongoing investment and activity.

Queensland State Government backs Planning Reform

On 25 May 2015, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad released the Government’s Better Planning for Queensland: Next Steps in Planning Reform Directions paper.

The paper confirms the Government’s commitment to planning reform, and new legislation is expected to be introduced from October 2015. The new legislation is expected to be effective in the second half of 2016.

The new legislation is expected to retain many of the reforms proposed by the previous state Government.

The main objectives outlined in the paper include:

  • enabling better strategic planning and high quality development outcomes 
  • ensuring effective public participation and engagement in the planning framework 
  • creating an open, transparent and accountable planning system that delivers investment and community confidence 
  • creating legislation that has a practical structure and clearly expresses how land use planning and development assessment will be done in Queensland 
  • supporting local governments to adapt to and adopt the changes

Some of the more noteworthy changes (when compared to the previous government’s plans) include:

  • more extensive community engagement and participation (including community engagement standards during the plan-making process); and
  •  restoring the rights of residents and community groups to appeal decisions to the Courts without fear of costs being awarded against them.

The Government has stated it will hold workshops with industry, local councils and the community.