From The Planning Desk – The QLD Coastal Plan

miningOn 7 April 2011 the Queensland Coastal Plan (QCP) was released by the Department of Environment & Resource Management (DERM). The QCP is comprised of two elements:

  • The State Policy for Coastal Management (SPCM) – this details provisions relevant to the custodians of on-going operational coastal land management, such as park rangers; and
  • The State Planning Policy for Coastal Protection (SPPCP) – this operates principally through SPA and is targeted towards stakeholders in the land use planning and land development industry. Despite being released on April 7, the QCP was planned to take effect in late August 2011 but now it appears as though pressure from peak industry bodies such as the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) have prompted State Government to delay its formal adoption for perhaps another twelve months.

The SPPCP applies to land that is situated within a coastal zone, which ADC understands is defined as land within 5kms of the coast (measured from the high water mark) or 10 metres Australian Height Datum (AHD – refers to ground level relative to sea level) whichever is the further. Given QLD, like the balance of Australia, represents a predominantly coastal settlement pattern, the SPPCP’s extent of application captures a great deal of land of varying form and function; from undisturbed natural vegetation communities to completely urbanised and heavily populated environments.

The SPP, when adopted, will obligate local governments to draft a new planning scheme which adequately reflects the intent of the SPP. In the event that the adoption of a new planning scheme occurs after the adoption of the SPP, a local government will have to produce an ‘adaption strategy’ which appropriately addresses the manner in which development will be considered and assessed within the context of the principles of the SPP. Simply, some parts of the SPP are formed on the basis of assumptions regarding the impact that climate change will have on land within the defined coastal zone. Specifically, for example, coastal hazard areas within the coastal zone seem to be identified by reference to areas that would be affected by:

  • Sea level rise of 0.8 metres by the year 2100; and/or
  • A 10% increase in the maximum cyclone intensity.

From having viewed some mapping of coastal hazard areas, ADC is aware that in some places along the Queensland coast significant tracts of land presently accommodating urban residential, commercial and/or industrial uses are located within the defined coastal hazard areas. To those with holdings or interests in such areas the development assessment code (Annex 2 of the SPPCP) is potentially very damaging to use ‘rights’ and property values. Performance Outcome 1 (PO1) of the code, for example, reads as follows: PO1. Development in a coastal hazard area complies with this policy if it is one or more of the following:

(a) coastal-dependent development
(b) temporary or readily relocatable
(c) essential community service infrastructure that cannot feasibly be located elsewhere
(d) redevelopment that does not increase the risk to people and property from exposure to adverse coastal hazard impacts.

(Where coastal-dependent development does not include residential use or the vast majority of commercial or industrial uses and part (d) implies that no increase in the scale or intensity of the existing use will be permitted in a coastal hazard area).

Effectively, the SPPCP in its current form should be a concern to anyone with interests or holdings in the SPP-defined coastal zone. It can have a detrimental impact on a broad sector of our coastal communities, from an owner of a single residential allotment presently accommodating a single dwelling to the largest developers in the state.

ADC strongly encourages you to make contact with us if you know or suspect that land of interest to you is within the SPPCP’s coastal zone – we can provide confirmation of your situation and further comments and advice on the SPPCP as relevant.

Andrew Magoffin
Principal Planner
Arnold Development Consultants
ADC Developer Issue 14,
Page 2, “From The Planning Desk”