Brisbane Region Environment Council

Draft Desired Environmental Outcomes

Integrated Planning Act 1997

This is Early Draft of a BREC IPA First Aid Kit

It is not complete but may contain some information and questions you could put to your local Council or Shire

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Legislative Scope

What advancing this Act’s purpose includes 1.2.3.(1)

(ii) take account of short and long-term environmental effects of development at local, regional, State and wider levels; and

(iii) apply the precautionary principle; and

Primary Act

Integrated Planning Act 1997

1.2.1. The purpose of this Act is to seek to achieve ecological sustainability 1 by—

(a) coordinating and integrating planning at the local, regional and

State levels; and

(b) managing the process by which development occurs; and

(c) managing the effects of development on the environment (including managing the use of premises).


What advancing this Act’s purpose includes

1.2.3.(1) Advancing this Act’s purpose includes—

(a) ensuring decision-making processes—

(i) are accountable, coordinated and efficient; and

(ii) take account of short and long-term environmental effects of development at local, regional, State and wider levels; and

(iii) apply the precautionary principle; and

1 ‘Ecological sustainability’ is defined in section 1.3.3 (Meaning of "ecological


(iv) seek to provide for equity between present and future generations; and

(b) ensuring the sustainable use of renewable natural resources and

the prudent use of non-renewable natural resources; and

(c) avoiding, if practicable, or otherwise lessening, adverse environmental effects of development; and

(d) supplying infrastructure in a coordinated, efficient and orderly way, including encouraging urban development in areas where adequate infrastructure exists or can be provided efficiently; and

(e) applying standards of amenity, conservation, energy, health and safety in the built environment that are cost effective and for the public benefit; and

(f) providing opportunities for community involvement in decision making.

(2) For subsection (1)(a)(iii), the precautionary principle is the principle that, if there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage,careful evaluation must be made to avoid wherever practicable serious or irreversible environmental damage including, if appropriate, assessing risk weighted consequences of various options.

(3) In subsection (1)(b)—

"natural resources" includes biological, energy, extractive, land and water resources that are important to economic development because of their contribution to employment generation and wealth creation.


Meaning of "ecological sustainability"

1.3.3. "Ecological sustainability" is a balance that integrates—

(a) protection of ecological processes and natural systems at local, regional, State and wider levels; and

(b) economic development; and

(c) maintenance of the cultural, economic, physical and social wellbeing of people and communities.

Explanation of terms used in "ecological sustainability"

1.3.6. For section 1.3.3—

(a) ecological processes and natural systems are protected if—

(i) the life supporting capacities of air, ecosystems, soil and water are conserved, enhanced or restored for present and future generations; and

(ii) biological diversity is protected; and

(b) economic development occurs if there are diverse, efficient, resilient and strong economies (including local, regional and State economies) enabling communities to meet their present needs while not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs; and

(c) the cultural, economic, physical and social wellbeing of people and communities is maintained if—

(i) well-serviced communities with affordable, efficient, safe and sustainable development are created and maintained; and

(ii) areas and places of special aesthetic, architectural, cultural, historic, scientific, social or spiritual significance are conserved or enhanced; and

(iii) integrated networks of pleasant and safe public areas for aesthetic enjoyment and cultural, recreational or social interaction are provided.

Key elements of planning schemes

2.1.3.(1) A local government and the Minister must be satisfied that the local government’s planning scheme—

(a) coordinates and integrates the matters (including the core matters) dealt with by the planning scheme, including any State and regional dimensions 7 of the matters; and

(b) identifies the desired environmental 8 outcomes for the planning scheme area; and

(c) includes measures that facilitate the desired environmental outcomes to be achieved; and

(d) includes performance indicators to assess the achievement of the desired environmental outcomes; and

(e) if the local government is prescribed under a regulation—includes a benchmark development sequence.9

(2) Measures facilitating the desired environmental outcomes to be achieved include the identification of relevant—

(a) self-assessable development; and

(b) assessable development requiring code or impact assessment.

(3) To remove any doubt, it is declared that—

7 State and regional dimensions of matters are explained in section 2.1.4.

8 For this Act, "environment" is defined in schedule 10 (Dictionary).

9 Other legislation also requires local governments to note certain matters on planning schemes, for example, the Mineral Resources Act 1989, section 319 requires a local government to note on its planning scheme the existence of certain mining tenures.

(a) a planning scheme may identify desired environmental outcomes for particular localities within the planning scheme area; and

(b) a local government may include a benchmark development sequence in its planning scheme even if the local government is not prescribed under a regulation.


State, regional and local dimensions of planning scheme matters

2.1.4.(1) A matter (including a core matter) in a planning scheme may have local, regional or State dimensions.

(2) A local dimension of a planning scheme matter is a dimension that is within the jurisdiction of local government but is not a regional or State dimension.

(3) A regional dimension of a planning scheme matter is a dimension—

(a) about which a regional planning advisory committee report makes a recommendation; or

(b) that can best be dealt with by the cooperation of 2 or more local governments.

(4) A State dimension of a planning scheme matter (including a matter reflected in a State planning policy) is a dimension of a State interest.

Core matters for planning schemes

4.(1) The following are "core matters" for the preparation of a planning scheme—

(a) land use and development;

(b) infrastructure;200

(c) valuable features.

(2) In subsection (1)(a)—

"land use and development" includes the following—

(a) the location of, and the relationships between, various land uses;

(b) the effects of land use and development;

(c) how mobility between places is facilitated;

(d) accessibility to areas;

(e) development constraints (including, but not limited to, population and demographic impacts).

(3) In subsection (1)(c)—

"valuable features" includes the following—

(a) resources or areas that are of ecological significance (such as habitats, wildlife corridors, buffer zones, places supporting biological diversity or resilience, and features contributing to the quality of air, water (including catchments or recharge areas) and soil);

(b) areas contributing significantly to amenity (such as areas of high scenic value, physical features that form significant visual backdrops or that frame or define places or localities, and attractive built environments);

(c) areas or places of cultural heritage significance (such as areas or places of indigenous cultural significance, or aesthetic, architectural, historical, scientific, social or technological significance, to the present generation or past or future generations);

(d) resources or areas of economic value (such as extractive deposits, forestry resources, water resources, sources of renewable and non-renewable energy and good quality agricultural land).


Secondary Acts

Environmental Protection Act 1994 Nature Conservation Act 1992

Indications of State Interests or State Desired Environmental Outcomes

Nature Conservation Act 1992


4. The object of the act is the conservation of nature.

Meaning of "nature"

8.(1) "Nature" includes all aspects of nature.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), "nature" includes -

(a) ecosystems and their constituent parts; and

(b) all natural and physical resources; and

(c) natural dynamic processes; and

(d) the charcateristics of places, however small or large, that contribute to -

(i) their bilogical diversity and integrity; or

(ii) their intrinsic or scientific value.

Environmental Protection Act 1994


3. The object of this Act is to protect Queensland’s environment while allowing for development that improves the total quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends ("ecologically sustainable development").



8. "Environment" includes—

(a) ecosystems and their constituent parts, including people and communities; and

(b) all natural and physical resources; and

(c) the qualities and characteristics of locations, places and areas, however large or small, that contribute to their biological diversity and integrity, intrinsic or attributed scientific value or interest, amenity, harmony and sense of community; and

(d) the social, economic, aesthetic and cultural conditions that affect, or are affected by, things mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (c).


Environmental value

9. "Environmental value" is—

(a) a quality or physical characteristic of the environment that is conducive to ecological health or public amenity or safety; or

(b) another quality of the environment identified and declared to be an environmental value under an environmental protection policy or regulation.


Putting It Together

Scope and Direction of Desired Environmental Outcomes

1. Availability of baseline information

Land Systems/Ecosystems

Flora and Fauna Mapping

Conservation and Recovery Plans

Terrain, Threat and Hazard analysis

Soil Resources

Water Resources

Extractive Resources

Energy Resources

Other natural resources

Population/Land Availability




2. Statement of Desired Environmental Outcomes

From the Integrated Planning Act a Planning Scheme should at least consider the following things

places supporting

• habitats,

sufficient areas of habitat for all native ecosystems, fauna and flora

• wildlife corridors,

areas linking bushlands, catchments or bordering waterways and foreshores

• buffer zones,

areas of low intensity use to seperate two incompatible land uses

• biological diversity or resilience,

sufficient areas of bushlands and ecosystems across the whole range of land systems

• quality of air,

minimise or eliminate areas that produce or realease air contaminants

areas of air freshening or conditioning eg forests, open space, water bodies

• quality of water (including catchments or recharge areas) and

minimise or eliminate areas that produce or realease water contaminants

protection of artesian and sub artesian aquifers, ridgelines, upper catchments and waterways, sandstone areas, sand masses, stream beds.

• quality of soil;

maintain sufficent areas of each the soils in the area

and the maintenance of those soils structure, fertility and recharge

minimise areas of accelerated soil erosion

minimise the release of toxicants and contaminants inlcuding acids, arsenic and other heavy metals

• areas of high scenic value,

• physical features that form significant visual backdrops or that frame or define places or localities,

• attractive built environments;

areas or places of

• indigenous cultural significance,

• aesthetic,

• architectural,

• historical,

• scientific,

• social

• or technological significance,

• extractive deposits,

• forestry resources,

• water resources,

• sources of renewable and

• non-renewable energy and

• good quality agricultural land

Other desirable outcomes

In general for all resources, areas, processes, ecosystems, features, flora and fauna.

For specific resources

For specific areas

For specific processes

For specific ecosystems

For specific animals and plants

For specific features

For Regional and State Dimensions

3. Direct vs Indirect Impacts

Council must present an analysis of the impacts of the planning scheme. It must be able to demonstrate that the impacts and cumulative impacts of development do not comprise the sustainability of the area.

4. Nature as Infrastructure

5. A DEO for a natural area would be that the area be undisturbed ?



Urban Form should minimise the direct and indirect adverse impacts on the environment

Transport systems should contibute to improvements in air quality

Other Air Quality Stratgeies


Protection of Water production areas Forests, Catchments,

Water Storage areas inlcuding Waterways, Soil, Aquifers, Dams, Tanks and other structures

Management of Water consumption trends, demand reduction(Negalitres)

Water Quality sources of pollution, prevention programs, management programs


LandAvailability for different land uses,

Quality or suitability of land,

Impact Assessment of construction, use and redevelopment of land for different uses

Construction Impacts can include water, air and soil degradation and destruction of biodiversity both directly and indirectly through required infrastructure.

Usage Impacts can include water pollution, biodiversity impacts, noise and air pollution, maintainance costs, specific contaminants and risks.

Ecological Processes and Biodiversity

Ecological processes such as soil, water, nutrients and atmospheric cycles need broad areas of land and a share of all natural resources in order to keep functioning.

Broad Nature Conservation Areas : the conservation of at least 30% of land area in some form of conservation agreements. This figure, 30%, should be used as a guide at all scales of planning ie 30% of Council area, 30% of individual catchments, 30% of each class of land system and ecosystems etc. This figure is used by the State Government for determining when an ecosystem is "Of Concern".


Example 1


Extract of Draft Gold Coast Desired Environmental outcome

P1: The health of ecological systems and the biodiversity they support will be protected, and those parts of the City that have significant values for nature conservation or landscape interest will be identified, protected and enhanced including: .....


This policy fails to define "significant values for nature conservation "or justify why the policy should only protect "significant values" rather than simply protecting all nature conservation values.

The Environmental Protection Act doesn't talk about significance for environmental protection in its objects. The Nature Conservation Act talks, in its objects, about protecting all of nature not just parts of it. The philosophy of only protecting and enhancing significant areas is a bloody minded form of environmental triage. To apply this policy areas and processes must be ranked and those area that have conservation value but a low rank will be sacrificed. This will compromise the objectives in the NC Act of keeping animals, plants and ecosystems from moving down in categories from common to rare, vulnerable, endangered and threatened. Habitat loss is the number one threatening process in Nature Conservation.

All remnant vegetation has value as habitat. Ecological processes such as soil, water, nutrients and atmospheric cycles need broad areas of land and a share of natural resources in order to keep functioning. Therefore significance should be defined very broadly in order to meet the legal requirements of the IGAE, the Environmental Protection Act and the Nature Conservation Act.

Furthermore the policy and strategy omits the following significant issues:

• Environmental flows of water and other material,

• Upper Catchment Protection including steep slopes and soil formation areas.

• Broad Nature Conservation the conservation of at least 30% of land area in some form of conservation agreements. This figure, 30%, should be used as a guide at all scales of planning ie 30% of Council area, 30% of individual catchments, 30% of each class of land system and ecosystems etc. This figure is used by the State Government for determining when an ecosystem is "Of Concern".

• The definitions used for bioregion in the classification of regional ecosytems is flawed and dubious. The SEQ bioregion used by DoE and ERIN ignores available information about the Macpherson/Macleay Overlap bioregion. Furthermore their decision that if an ecosystem has 5 % in a protected area it is on "No Concern" is not supported. To be useful in achieving nature conservation this analysis of ecosystem status needs to be re done at the province level within the bioregion. The northern section of the Bioregion, Noosa north, needs to be isolated from the rest of the data.

Example 2



25.2.1 The sustainability of the Shire's natural resources of biodiversity, water, air and soil is the underlying environment principle. The maintenance of genetic diversity, species diversity, habitat diversity, water quality, air quality and soil resources are the key requirements of achieving sustainability.'

25.2.2 No terrestrial, aquatic or marine species or habitat should become locally extinct as a result of development under the Planning Scheme.'o

25.2.3 The preservation of vegetation or habitat in a natural state may prevent undesirable impacts such as loss of fauna, water quality deterioration and soil erosion.

25.2.4 The quality of the Shire's water, air and soil resources should not be diminished as a resuft of development under the Planning Scheme.

25.2.5 It is necessary to develop a range of controls to ensure ecological sustainability. These controls will extend from lower order, detailed controls implemented on a site by site basis, to higher ordet, strategic controls implemented across the Shire.

25.2.6 lnformation about land and resources is not static and increases over time. The information supporting the Strategic Plan is detailed, though by nature, the mapping products are broad. Development commitments under the Strategic Plan are made on the basis of this broad level of information. Significant new at improved information may result in the need to review development commitments made in this plan.

25.2.7 In the absence of complete information about land and resources, a precautionary approach to land use change is necessary.

25.2.8 The importance of environment values varies in scale, from neighbourhood importance to regional or even national importance. Often this difference in scale will be of little importance to the particular community which would be affected by a change to those values. As a consequence, the protection of all values will be a consideration, irrespective of their degree of influence.


lntegration of development with the landscape, rather than the modification landscape to suit the development or the introduction of a landscape which conficts with or threatens the viability of the natural landscape fabric.


Maintenance of habitat for all fauna and flora and particularly for that which is designated 'endangered, vulnerable or rare' or, is otherwise protected .

• Endangered, vulnereble and rare are terms defined under the Nature Conservatibn Act.


Maintenance of a clean environment where development does not increase pollution levels, which requires:

• Maintenance of ground and surface water quality, with any assessment being cumulatively based on existing and projected future development over many years.

• Maintenance of low ambient noise levels.

• Maintenance of a quality visual environment which is not deleteriously affected by light, signage and other forms of visual pollution.

• Maintenance of air quality.

27.3.3 Conservation Aims Ensure that the environmental values of conservation reserves are protected from impacts which would threaten those values. Encourage the expansion of the conservation reserve estate. Encourage the protection, within conservation reserves end particularly National Parks, of the full range of species and habitats represented across Noosa Shire in sustainable populations and areas. Ensure that conservation reserves are supported by networks of habitat across the Shire, comprising natural habitat and areas capable of regeneration or rehabilitation. Conserve indigenous and non-indigenous resources, places and buildings of cultural heritage and character value.

27.4.3 Environmental Management Aims Protect fauna, flora and habitat and ensure that development does not jeopardise the long term diversity of species and habitats. Separate development from land or waterways having significant environmental values by land buffers of prescribed standards. Use best management practices to achieve long term viability. Ensure that soil resources are not eroded, degraded or otherwise depleted, as a consequence of development. Ensure that development does not diminish the quality of water in groundwater systems, waterways or along the coast. Ensure that development does not diminish the volume of water flows in waterways. Ensure that development does not diminish air quality. Encourage the reinstatement of habitats such that their proportional representation, in the landscape of the Shire, more closely approximates their representation at the time of European settlement. Ensure that networks of habitat are retained throughout the Shire providing for gene now, flora dispersal and fauna movement, thus facilitating sustained viability of species and habitats. Such networks may also assist in maintenance of water quality, landscape stability and biodiversity, as well as providing recreational opportunity and visual amenity. Recognise the special values and roles of rainforest, riparian and wetland habitats and ensure they are protected and maintained in their natural state. Encourage the rehabilitation of degraded rainforest, riparian and wetland habitats. Recognise the special environmental values which are found in floodplains and limit actions such as the deposition, movement or extraction of earth to those areas committed for urban development by past planning instruments. Recognise the vulnerability and visual amenity attributes of habitat on steep lands and ensure the maintenance of habitat in such locations, particularly in areas which are visible from the major roads (b). Maintain the distinct character of the Shire, which sets it apart from other south-east Queensland areas and other parts of the Sunshine Coast.

b Major roads is a defined term, refer to page 8. Maintain the distinct character exhibited by each of the various coastal localities, the rural towns and villages and the rural localities of the Shire. Ensure there is a defined boundary to each of the urban localities of the Shire and recognise that those boundaries will often be derived from natural characteristics and environmental constraints. Ensure that the key landform and landscape characteristics of each locality are maintained and that those characteristics are not dominated by development. Protect views and vistas which characterise particular localities in the Shire, irrespective of the scale or extent of influence of such views and vistas. Ensure that development does not impact on views to and from waterways, beaches and riparian corridors. Ensure visual scarring does not occur as a consequence of development, particularly in locations visible from the major roads. Protect roadside vegetation. Ensure that vistas from the road are not dominated by development. Ensure that the landscaping of development sites builds on the natural landscape fabric found in the particular locality and does not result in a landscape dominated by non-endemic species. Ensure that signage is integrated with the key landform, landscape and streetscape characteristics of the particular locality, consistent with the low key, small scale built environment of the Shire.


While the plan talks of protecting biodiverity and natural processes in general the specifics exclude a recognition of other lands outside conservation reserves that are equally important. It is important to realise that even 'common' animals are classified as protected under the Nature Conservation Act. The plan also fails to specifically recognise regional ecosystems and their conservation status.

The plan has however established a number of important milestones. The pollution prevention, flora and fauna principle and landform principles are good examples.

The general aim " Ensure that networks of habitat are retained throughout the Shire " is also good practice. This must be backed up mapping and analysis to demonstrate that the outcome can be achieved.

The plan fails to address planning for sufficent resources be allocated to natural areas to ensure their survival and the maintenance of natural processes. This is particularly true for extractive resources such as sand and gravel. The natural areas need to have in situ deposts to serve natural functions and as reserves. Off stream sand and gravel deposits are important in baseflow for waterways. In stream sand and gravel resources are important as habitat for flora and fauna. Downstream and offshore ecosystems rely on having sand beds replenished from upstream.