On 22 November 2012, Parliament passed the SPOLA Bill (No. 2) 2012.
The Act makes a number of amendments to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and consequential amendments to a range of other legislation.
The amendments are designed to:
- streamline planning, assessment and approval processes
- remove unnecessary red tape
- re-empower local governments to plan for their communities.
Key changes brought about by the Bill provide for:
- establishing a single State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) for development applications
- removing of ineffective structure planning and master planning arrangements for declared master planned areas
- reducing the regulatory red tape for development applications involving state resources, by removing the requirement for evidence of the resource entitlement or allocation to be submitted with applications
- giving assessment managers, in particular local governments, discretion to accept development applications as properly made, despite non-compliance with the provision of mandatory supporting information
- providing for the Queensland Planning Provisions to apply across all local governments to enable consistency in assessment levels for certain low-risk developments, such as landscaping and car-parking
- giving the Planning and Environment Court discretion to award costs for some proceedings, except for enforcement orders about development offences
- giving the Planning and Environment Court power to direct that the Alternative Dispute Resolution registrar may hear and determine minor disputes.
Commencement of provisions
All of the provisions commenced on assent, except for those related to the establishment of SARA.
The delayed commencement of these provisions allows for operational arrangements to be finalised and for further consultation about the changes to occur with affected entities. Additionally, amendments to the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 will be necessary to enable the new arrangements to take effect.