January 16, 2015

Circular email form the MBRC.

FYI: In case you haven't received this item of correspondence. I won't comment beyond noting that the MBRC's understanding of  'community consultation'  is still  very much an unknown...

Dear ....

Updating you on the Draft Planning Scheme

Moreton Bay Regional Council has been working hard to finalise a new planning scheme that supports growth and maintains the region’s unique characteristics and attributes. Given we cannot predict what further delays the current state election may cause, the Councillors and I are writing to all those who have made a submission to Council regarding the draft planning scheme. This letter provides a background on the draft scheme and broadly outlines how we plan to consult our community on proposed amendments.



Last year: we sought your views on the draft plan
  • Council’s draft planning scheme was prepared in accordance with the State Government’s planning legislation and guidelines.
  • Following State Government approval of the draft scheme, it was released for public consultation in July 2014.
  • Council received feedback on several aspects of the draft scheme.
  • Council began significant work to consider, and where possible, amend the draft scheme to address community feedback.
  • As well as some minor changes, the proposed amendments sought a greater balance between allowing development whilst keeping the community safe from major hazards.
  • These proposed amendments were discussed with and generally supported by the Deputy Premier (and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning) at a meeting on 14 August 2014.



Current situation: State Government keeps changing the rules
  • On 14 October 2014, at a meeting with the Deputy Premier, Council was informed that we must remove all references to a possible sea level rise of 800mm due to climate change or the planning scheme would not be approved by the State Government.
  • Council will be at risk of significant legal and insurance implications if it fails to incorporate sea level rise in its planning scheme. These implications would burden all current and future ratepayers.
  • On 28 November 2014 the Deputy Premier issued a Direction to Council to remove “theoretical sea level rise” from the draft planning scheme.
  • This Direction will result in Moreton Bay Regional Council’s planning scheme having a different approach to sea level rise than the schemes signed off by the Deputy Premier for our neighbouring councils of Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
  • Council is legally obliged to follow a Direction lawfully given by the Deputy Premier.
  • The Direction prohibited Council from releasing the draft planning scheme for further community consultation until approval was given by the Deputy Premier.
  • The Direction made it clear that approval would only be given if Council used the State Government’s coastal hazard mapping in its planning scheme. These maps were not made available to Council until Friday 19 December 2014. There are still a number of questions related to the mapping that need clarification before they can be practically used by Council.
  • The State Government also needed to amend planning legislation to ensure the Deputy Premier’s Direction could take full effect without exposing Council to significant legal liability. Although the legislation was introduced in November 2014, the bill has lapsed due to the recent calling of the election. Required amendments to existing legislation were not progressed by the State Government.
  • On 6 January 2015 (the day the election was called), the Deputy Premier wrote to the Council indicating he may revoke or amend his Direction to remove references to “theoretical sea level rise”. This was contingent on Council finding a “more appropriate balance” between allowing development whilst keeping the community safe from major hazards. Discussions with the State indicate this, “more appropriate balance”, is in fact based on the amendments Council proposed and previously discussed with the State back in August 2014 and again outlined to the State in October 2014.
  • Council remains unsure exactly how a revoked or amended Direction might work, but has committed to once again providing the Deputy Premier with those proposed amendments.


Getting back on track: the next steps

  • Despite the continued challenges, Council remains committed to working with the community to finalise the planning scheme as soon as State Government conditions allow.
  • Timeframes are yet to be confirmed, but Council hopes to consult our community on proposed amendments to the draft scheme as soon as possible.
  • Once Council has definitive timeframes for further consultation, you will be notified and receive a response to your initial submission. Development applications will continue to be processed by Council under the existing three planning schemes until the new planning scheme is finalised and adopted.


Responding to your feedback: consulting on the next draft

  • Once Council has a way forward, we will be undertaking a comprehensive communication and engagement campaign to effectively reach our community. This will include a range of online resources, information kiosks and engagement sessions.
  • Following this next round of consultation, Council will review and respond to any further submissions received.
  • Council will then submit the final draft planning scheme to the State Government for final approval.
  • Once approved by the State Government, Council will adopt the new Moreton Bay Region Planning Scheme.

Despite the Council’s best efforts, our desire to respond to community feedback has been hampered by State Government actions. These interventions have prevented Council from bringing an amended planning scheme back to our community for consultation. 

The Councillors and I thank you for your patience. We remain committed to resolving any issues with the State Government and to working with our community to create a planning scheme that provides growth and opportunity for our region, whilst valuing and protecting our region.


Yours sincerely,


ALLAN SUTHERLAND
Mayor
Moreton Bay Regional Council


_________________________
Customer Service Contacts:
PO Box 159 Caboolture Qld 4510
Call Centre: 07) 3205 0555 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am - 5.00pm)
Email: mbrc@moretonbay.qld.gov.au
Web: www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au

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