The Elephant In The Cupboard The Coastal Management Plan Must Be Stopped

coastline

The Elephant in the Cupboard – Why in its current format the State Government’s Plan for Coastal Management Needs To Be Stopped

The Queensland Coastal Plan (QCP) has been brought about by a three-year statutory review of the existing State Coastal Management Plan (2001). The purpose of the new State Planning Policy (SPP) is to protect coastal areas from the likely detrimental impact associated with sea level rise caused by climate change.

The QCP will jeopardise many future development prospects for existing lots in the coastal areas nominated in the QCP, noting that Queensland’s coastline stretches over 7,400km and makes up approximately one fifth of Australia’s coastline. According to ABS approximately 3.2 million people live in Queensland’s coastal areas – which accounts for 87% of the Queensland population.

ADC is supportive of the strategic intent of the QCP but are concerned about the potential significant negative impacts for the Development and Construction Industry and wider Queensland economy.

If introduced it is likely that the QCP will have immediate negative impact on the value of properties affected by the State Planning Policy. Not just impacting on developers but on many people’s principal place of residence. There is also a likely negative impact to be felt by business, industry and homes with regard to insurance premiums being driven higher due to coastal areas becoming high risk.

ADC believe that it is very important that the government mitigate the unnecessary risk to individual’s investments. It would be sensible for the Queensland Government to perform a more thorough analysis of this issue and the potential impacts of the QCP prior to any planned implementation.

Investor confidence in Queensland’s property sector has significantly depleted in recent years. The implementation of the QLD Government building boost grant ($10-$17k for people buying or building a new home) was a proactive initiative to stimulate the new housing market and building industry, although it is only a short term plan that is available for 6 months and it was offset by stamp duty changes. To introduce the QCP at this time could be counterproductive, as well as create uncertainty and added complications to investment within coastal regions in the State.

The combination of the insurance increases and property valuation issues in risk areas identified by the QCP will negatively impact upon development. This is due to those issues creating a barrier for developers in the form of a substantial impact on their ability to acquire finance for a project.

Whilst being a significant issue, this impact on the development industry is essentially surpassed by the moratorium on development within mapped areas which is in effect put in place by the rigorous criteria set out in the QCP. The freeze on development within these areas would remain for up to 5 years while local governments form their adaptation schemes.

The likely issues associated with sea level rise caused by climate change need to be managed for the sake of the protection of the community and are issues that requires further evaluation and action. However, ADC urge the state government to give further consideration into the benefits of the QCP in its current form versus the likely negative impact i.e. the long term goal in managing sea level rise against the immediate detrimental impacts of the policy that will be felt particularly by the Queensland economy.

These impacts will primarily affect the property industry which is the largest non-government contributor to the Queensland economy, supplying $30.9 billion (12.6%) of the State’s gross product. Furthermore the industry directly makes up in excess of 280,000 jobs in the state, and in addition to this 304,000 Queenslanders are employed in jobs that are generated by the property industry. Therefore the industry is responsible for 584,000 jobs in the state, which is 30.1% of the State’s total employment. As well as this, super funds invest $113 million into the Australian property sector per week, and it is fundamental for the economic growth of Queensland that it attracts its fair share of this potential income.

The QCP in its current format will decrease land values in the Coastal Management Zone, and drive insurance premiums upward, which would be detrimental to the construction and development industry as well as having significant implications for business and the domestic market within the coastal management zone.

ADC supports the intentions of the QCP, however we are concerned by the potential dire consequences that, in its current form, it may create for the Development and Construction Industry and wider Queensland economy. Queensland’s property industry supports the State’s economic wealth and attracts new businesses, residents and tourists, therefore careful decisions and actions are required to ensure that this industry is protected. We do not believe that QCP takes sufficient account of the substantial implications and find that these require further analysis before the QCP is implemented. We urge the State Government to further consider the economic impacts of the QCP and to ensure that economic loss is mitigated by State and Local Government Policy if we are to be truly sustainable following the philosophy of the Triple Bottom Line – environment, social and economic. We believe that with further consideration, this can be achieved without impacting on the integrity of the QCP.

Michael Arnold
Director
Arnold Development Consultants

References:
Queensland Coastal Plan – Implications on the Queensland Economy and Property Industry
A joint submission prepared by the Property Council of Australia (QLD) and the Urban Development Institute of Australia (QLD)