Release of draft SEQ Regional Plan

The Property Council of Australia has welcomed the release of the Government’s draft revision of the South East Queensland Regional Plan.

Queensland Executive Director of the Property Council, Chris Mountford, said that the refresh of the State Government’s seven year old regional land-use plan is an important moment for industry, councils and the broader community alike. 

“The goal of the regional plan is to outline how future growth can be accommodated in a manner which maintains the enviable way of life for South East Queenslanders,” Mr Mountford said.

“While it’s certainly not everything the property industry feels is required, it does appear the State has taken onboard a number of the recommendations we have made during the consultation process. 

"These included a commitment to greater monitoring and reporting against the plan, a strategic assessment of environmental values and focus on delivering employment as well as housing across the region.

“The property industry will now be sifting through the detail of the draft to test the underlying assumptions and determine if the Government’s approach is realistic.”

The Government has proposed a shift towards more infill development to meet future housing demand, with a new target of 60% infill and 40% greenfield over the next 25 years.

“What the industry wants to deliver is a wide range of housing choice for South East Queenslanders,” Mr Mountford said.

“South East Queensland will need considerably more of every type of housing over the next 25 years, whether it is apartments, new homes, retirement villages or student accommodation.

“We will be analysing this nominal infill target to ensure that it doesn’t create any artificial constraint on the delivery of new houses, and have a corresponding impact on affordability. 

“The proposed modest expansion of the urban footprint isn’t anything revolutionary, but it acknowledges that growth is inevitable and Government’s role is to appropriately cater for it in a sustainable manner.

“As industry pours over the detail, we will be looking to ensure that each community in SEQ has its own adequate supply of future housing and employment lands.”

A strategic region-wide assessment of environmental considerations has been flagged by the Government in the plan as the way forward to achieve an evidence-based approach to ecological protection.

“Industry strongly supports the push to identify with certainty those areas that should be protected from urban uses, and those areas where urban uses are agreed to be the highest and best use of the land,” Mr Mountford said.

“This will not only reduce red tape, but also achieve far better environmental outcomes.”

Public consultation on the draft plan will run until 3 March 2017. It is expected that the final plan will come into effect in mid-2017. 

“Once the document is finalised, the Government must take the leadership role in ensuring that their plan doesn’t gather dust, but is implemented on the ground,” Mr Mountford said.

“This will mean sitting down with local governments to understand what impediments exist to ensuring this land is delivered to market as quickly as possible.

“Given the plan’s emphasis on infill development, this leadership role will also mean offering greater support to local governments over contentious infill projects.”

The Property Council has called on the Queensland Government to establish a $200 million Regional Project Fund to assist local governments in financing key infrastructure that will enable them to translate the new South East Queensland Regional Plan (SEQRP) into their local planning schemes. 

“As our population grows, so too will the demand for housing. If we want to ensure South East Queensland is an affordable place to live into the future, we need to unlock new housing supply to match this demand”

“This review of the South East Queensland Regional Plan represents a once-in-a-decade opportunity for the Government to get the settings right to accommodate the region’s future growth.”