In early October 2016, the Queensland Government announced their Advancing our Cities and Regions Strategy which involves renewing and repurposing surplus and underutilised land held by the State to deliver eight economic and community zones.

Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) will lead development projects in these areas that will deliver on government priorities and generate community outcomes. The announcement was welcomed by the industry and is a turnaround from Labor’s strict “no asset sales” stance. The zones identified include the Cross River Rail development corridor and related opportunities, South East Queensland urban renewal projects, housing renewal and integration precincts, health and knowledge precincts, renewable energy sites, and regional livability precincts. The developments will seek to deliver key government priorities of affordable housing, expanding tourism, and benefit communities generally.

The initiative is also intended to generate development revenue and deliver infrastructure for the State. Four targeted opportunities have been prioritised including the Cross River Rail development strategy, Moreton Bay renewal, Townsville transformation, and Rockhampton revival. EDQ will collaborate with the community and the industry on these projects in particular to deliver jobs growth and community outcomes.  

Foreign investors – stamp duty surcharge exemptions

From 1 October 2016, foreign-owned developers are now required to pay 3% extra tax in Queensland on the acquisition of sites for residential development (for more information on this surcharge in Queensland and similar measures in other eastern Australian States, read our Transfer duty and land tax reforms affecting foreign property investors article from November 2016).

Just prior to commencement the Palaszczuk Government announced that exemptions would exist for projects that receive ‘significant development’ status. The guideline for the exemption is that the development must include a minimum of 50 residential lots. Exemptions may also be granted for major projects in regional areas that can demonstrate “significant economic benefits”. Further information on the exemption process can be found here.

Brisbane City Council introduces seniors' housing incentives

Australia’s largest local government, Brisbane City Council, has released a number of initiatives for retirement living and aged care accommodation development to ensure suitable housing choices exist for our aging population in their local area. The initiatives include:

  • a reduction in infrastructure charges for eligible developments by up to 33% will be available for development approvals given between 1 September 2016 and 31 December 2019
  • allocation of dedicated assessment managers to process new applications for retirement and aged care housing and provide decisions within 90 days to expedite the planning process
  • amendments to Brisbane City Plan 2014 to offer a more streamlined approach to upgrading or building new residential care and retirement facilities. These include increasing allowable building heights in select zones, facilitating integration with existing facilities such as churches and health care precincts, and allowing for co-location of supporting facilities including coffee shops and recreational activities.

Draft released of Shaping SEQ

On 20 October 2016, the Hon. Jackie Trad MP, Deputy Premier, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Trade and Investment released the long awaited South East Queensland Regional Plan, replacing the previous plan from 2009.

With the population of South East Queensland (SEQ) expected to increase by two million people by 2041, ShapingSEQ outlines the Queensland Government's new regional planning framework to sustainably manage change and growth in SEQ, based on a 50-year vision.

There are some of the new and important features of ShapingSEQ, which includes a focus on unlocking land that has been identified for urban development but has so far been underutilised, and a plan for higher density living to contain urban sprawl and manage infrastructure requirements. Once finalised, ShapingSEQ will be supported by regulation to ensure development outcomes are consistent with the plan and delivered by local government plans that will need to reflect and advance the goals and strategies of the regional plan. You can access to the full Shaping SEQ plan here.

Next article: SA update.