Urgent amendments to Queensland's planning legislation were passed in March 2020 by Queensland Parliament to address concerns raised by a range of stakeholders, including local government and industry, in response to the COVID-19. The changes included:
declaring Shops, Warehouses and Transport Depots as uses that can operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the COVID-19 applicable event 2020
providing for applications for a temporary use licence during the COVID-19 applicable event
providing for the extension or suspension of statutory timeframes during the COVID-19 applicable event - currency periods of applicable PDA development approvals now extended by six months ( 84 KB).
The Economic Development COVID-19 Emergency Response Regulation 2020 (ED COVID-19 Regulation) commenced on 26 June 2020 and expires on 31 December 2020 – the ‘response period’. The new legislation is in response to issues arising from COVID-19 modifies the requirements for public notification of PDA development applications and for the viewing of planning and development related documents.
The provisions of the ED COVID-19 Regulation modify the Economic Development Act 2012 during the 'response period' by:
providing for alternative arrangements for public inspection and purchase of hard copy documents
providing for additional options for public notification of PDA development applications if a hard copy local newspaper is not circulating in the locality of the application.
Similar modifications have been made to the Planning Act 2016 by the Planning COVID-19 Emergency Response Regulation 2020.
Public inspection and purchase of hard copy documents
The ED COVID-19 Regulation temporarily modifies the requirement under the Economic Development Act 2012 for registers of applications, approvals and other documents related to planning and development assessment, that are published on a government website, to be kept available for inspection by the public during office hours on business days. A person may search and take extracts from a register and obtain a hard copy.
During the ‘response period’, (i.e. until 31 December 2020), the ED COVID-19 Regulation modifies those requirements. It will be necessary to make an appointment to view hard copies of the registers and take any required extracts.
However, these modified provisions only apply during the ‘response period’ if the protections for public health and safety or the disruptions to public administration due to the COVID-19 emergency, continue to apply.
Additional notification options
The ED COVID-19 Regulation temporarily modifies the Economic Development Act 2012 by providing additional options for notifying PDA development applications if a hard copy local newspaper is not circulating in the locality of the application.
If there is no local hard copy newspaper in circulation, but an online local newspaper for the locality is available, then that local online method of notification is to be used. In the circumstances where there is neither a hard copy nor online local newspaper available, an applicant may choose one of the following three options:
publish a notice in a State or national hard copy or online newspaper: A State or national newspaper means a newspaper that is published in Australia, primarily publishes news in relation to the State or Australia, and is intended for a State-wide or nation-wide readership, or
give a notice to the occupier of each lot in the identified area for the application
publish a notice on the relevant State or local government website of the decision-maker for the application.
The availability of options 2 and 3 will depend on the entity responsible for deciding applications in the PDA having, or establishing, necessary processes or procedures for:
giving notices to occupiers of lots in the identified area – identifying the area of interest for the application
placing a notice on the relevant State or local government website– providing access to the website.
Declaration of applicable events
The Economic Development Act 2012 was amended in March 2020 to make applicable events declared under the Planning Act 2016 apply in Priority Development Areas (PDAs).
Any person is able to apply for a temporary use licence during the COVID-19 applicable event to either:
change or vary existing conditions of a PDA development approval, or make other operating constraints which may prevent them from operating
establish a new use that does not involve physical works.
A temporary use licence authorises the use of premises within a PDA under the jurisdiction of the Economic Development Act 2012. A temporary use licence does not remove the need to obtain any other approvals that might be required by local, State and/or Commonwealth jurisdictions and will only last for the length of the applicable event.
The new temporary use licence arrangements recognise that businesses may need to innovate or change how they operate in unprecedented circumstances.
To apply for a temporary use licence for a use within a PDA you will need to:
A register of each temporary use licence given by the Minister for Economic Development Queensland under the Economic Development Act 2012 for the COVID-19 applicable event can be viewed below.
No temporary use licences in PDAs have been given yet.
Extension or suspension of planning framework timeframes
The Minister for Economic Development Queensland has the ability to extend or suspend periods, such as statutory timeframes, under the Economic Development Act 2012. This will provide certainty that planning and development activities can continue despite the impacts of COVID-19, ensuring that community and industry confidence in the planning framework can be maintained.
The Minister for Economic Development Queensland has given the following extension notices or suspension notices, for an applicable event:
The additional time provided through the extension notice applies to PDA development approvals in effect on 21 July 2020 or which come into effect between 21 July 2020 and 31 October 2020. For example, a PDA development approval that would have ordinarily lapsed on 1 August 2020 now won’t lapse until 1 February 2021.
On 8 July 2020 the Minister for Planning also issued an extension notice to extend currency periods of development approvals under the Planning Act 2016 by six months. Find out more about the extension and suspension of periods under the Planning Act 2016.
For more information about changes under the: