In brief 5 min read
In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Queensland Government has, since March 2020, made changes to streamline aspects of the planning system, and further changes are proposed. These further proposed changes are open for public submission until 7 August 2020.
- The declaration of the COVID-19 emergency as an 'applicable event' has been extended from 20 June 2020 to 31 October 2020. The extension of time has implications for the declaration which affects shops, warehouses and transport depots, the period during which existing temporary use licences have effect and the ability to make applications for temporary use licences.
- In addition, the currency period for development approvals and compliance permits and the completion period for development approvals have been extended by six months.
- New rules have been introduced about the placement of public notices of development applications and 'other' change applications in newspapers.
- There are changes proposed to the Development Assessment Rules, the Minister's Guidelines and Rules and the Planning Regulation 2017 (Qld). These proposed changes are open to public submission until 7 August 2020.
The COVID-19 emergency was initially declared to be an 'applicable event' for the period from 20 March 2020 to 20 June 2020. The applicable event period has now been extended until 31 October 2020.
The extension of the applicable event period has implications for the following matters:
- Extension of the declaration of use for shops, warehouses and transport depots – The declaration of use for particular shops and warehouses and transport depots, where necessary for the supply of goods to shops, had the effect of removing planning restrictions on hours of operation and the movement of goods from 20 March 2020 for the applicable event period. The extension of the applicable event period will extend the life of this declaration.
- Extension of existing temporary use licences – A temporary use licence can change a condition of a development approval for a material change of use, provide relief from compliance with a requirement in a designation or change the existing lawful use of premises. A temporary use licence, once granted, is effective until the end of the applicable event period. The extension of the applicable event period will extend the life of existing temporary use licences.
- Extension of time to apply for temporary use licences – A person may apply for a temporary use licence if an applicable event notice applies to the part of the state in which the premises are located. The extension of the applicable event period will extend the time for applications to be made for temporary use licences.
The Minister has the power to extend a period under the Planning Act 2016 (Qld) for the doing of a thing by a stated period. The Minister has recently exercised this power by publishing an extension notice. The effect of the extension notice is to extend, by a period of six months, development approval and compliance permit currency periods and development approval periods for completion of development. The six-month extension applies where the currency period or completion period has started, but not ended, prior to 8 July 2020, or starts during the period 8 July 2020 to 31 October 2020.
All of these changes are welcome and necessary to deal with the pressures on land use and development during the ongoing COVID-19 emergency.
Until 31 December 2020, there are new rules for giving public notice of development applications and 'other' change applications in a newspaper.
The new rules provide that:
- where there is a hard copy local newspaper for the locality in which the premises are located, the public notice must be published in the hard copy local newspaper;
- where there is no hard copy local newspaper for the locality in which the premises are located, but there is an online local newspaper, the public notice must be published in the online local newspaper; and
- where there are no hard copy or online local newspapers for the locality in which the premises are located, the public notice must be published: in a hard copy or online state or national newspaper; by giving notice to the occupiers of each lot in an area identified by the assessment manager (who will usually be the local government); or by publishing the notice on the assessment manager's website (where this option is available).
These changes acknowledge the importance of using a local newspaper to give public notice but, at the same time, provide alternative methods of giving public notice in recognition of the demise of many local newspapers.
A number of further planning changes are proposed and currently open for public submission. These changes are with respect to the following matters:
- Changes to the Development Assessment Rules – The changes would modify the Rules by:
- permanently changing the method of giving public notice in newspapers;
- changing the content of public notices placed on development sites; and
- requiring both adjoining owners and occupiers to be given notice of applications, and changing the content of the notice.
- Changes to the Minister's Guidelines and Rules – The proposed changes aim to:
- streamline the Ministerial and local government designation processes for critical infrastructure; and
- clarify the process for a local government to make interim amendments to its local government infrastructure plan.
- Changes to the Planning Regulation 2017 – The proposed changes relate to low risk developments, and include the following:
- that no planning approval would be needed for a change in a tenancy within an existing building where the business is expected in the zone and only minor building works would occur;
- where a proposed use is anticipated in a zone, there would be reduced planning assessment requirements (with the maximum level of assessment being code assessment); and
- businesses would be able to make minor expansions without obtaining a planning approval.
The changes to the Planning Regulation 2017 (Qld) would have effect for 12 months only, and they would be available to local governments on an 'opt in' basis.
Public consultation about the proposed changes is open until 7 August 2020. Further information about these matters is available at the Have Your Say Website.
The Allens environment and planning team would be happy to discuss the proposed changes with you or assist you with the preparation of a submission.