INTEGRATED PLANNING ACT
Slow It Down !
A new Act to speed up developments, the Integrated Planning Act, will be a disaster for communities and their environments and has to slow down, say conservationists.
Queensland Conservation Council convenor, Ms Imogen Zethoven, said that environment groups throughout the State are calling for changes to the Act which would give more time for government and the community to scrutinise development projects.
"The Act has been prepared too hastily and the government has already had to make numerous amendments. Most Departments and Councils are under-resourced to meet the time frames and give proper scrutiny of proposals," said Ms Zethoven.
"Past experience has shown that more rather than less scrutiny is need. We should be taking a careful approach to both the planning needs of our cities and regions, as well as the impacts of proposed development.
"This is virtually impossible under this Act. While changes to current planning legislation are necessary, these could have been accomplished in other ways. This legislation advantages the development industry at the expense of community values and concerns."
"In the past we had more time in which to do the research and get more people informed. We had time to lobby our elected representatives on the issues, pushing for tighter conditions. Often, we would find that councillors and council officers were not aware of the full facts about the development and its impacts" she continued.
Under IPA, the community has only 20 business days to scrutinise complex impact assessments, 10 business days less than now. Rezoning and consent applications, and the rights to object to these, are to disappear.
"For the volunteer members of community groups and local residents who have to do this in their spare time, it will be very difficult. There is not enough time to read the report, check the Councilsí assessment and liaise with elected officials about approvals or conditions."
"This legislation will kill effective community participation in the decision making process. We need more time, more resources, more training. This State Government is delivering none of these, while speeding up the process to favour development."
"We call on the Opposition and Mrs Cunningham to amend this legislation immediately after promulgation on Monday, 30th March, correcting the imbalance of too little opportunity for community input, too few requirements for environmental protection and too short a time frame for Council and referral agency consideration of proposals," she concluded.
For further info: Ms Imogen Zethoven, QCC 3221-0188 or 018-783-547
Mr Lindsay Holt, QCC 3221-0188
Mr Michael Petter, BREC 3899-0537