Draft of southeast Queensland regional plan released

The Queensland Government has today released the draft southeast Queensland (SEQ) regional plan Shaping SEQ, which represents one of the most significant planning policy frameworks in the state.

SEQ is Australia’s third-largest capital city region by population and is home to approximately 3.4 million people, covers 22,900 square kilometres and has 12 local government areas.

Indeed, over the past 10 years, 20 per cent of Australia’s economic and employment growth has occurred in the region and it contributes to 17.4 per cent of Australia’s tourism gross domestic product. It also generates nearly two-thirds of Queensland’s gross state product.

President of the Queensland arm of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Stephen Harrison welcomes today’s announcement and acknowledges the government’s consultation process to date.

“With the draft plan providing a 50-year outlook for the region underpinned by a 25-year planning framework, the preeminent plan for the SEQ region is critical in ensuring the industry is able to respond to the region’s community housing demand,” he says.

“UDIA (Qld) looks forward to further engagement during the public consultation process.”

The Shaping SEQ report differs from previous regional plans in a few areas, notably:

  • Focuses more development in existing urban areas to accommodate SEQ’s projected population and employment growth.
  • Identifyies 8200 hectares of new urban land, as well as the 13,600 hectares added in planned growth areas since 2009 (which includes Greater Flagstone and Yarrabilba Priority Development Areas, Caboolture West, Flinders and Southern Redland Bay), to minimise the risk of land supply constraints placing upward pressure on housing prices.
  • Greater emphasis on public and active transport.
  • Plans to maximise the use of existing infrastructure before building new, and identify new region-shaping infrastructure only where needed.
  • Values design as a way to create more housing choice, and memorable and liveable urban places and spaces, to benefit communities socially, economically and environmentally.
  • Ensures flexibility for local governments to plan for rural development.
  • A more sophisticated approach to determining urban land supply.
  • Improved ways of monitoring land supply and development activity, and the plan’s performance over time.

The regional plan directly affects the type, location and diversity of housing choice provided within the region and, according to the UDIA, it’s important it identifies sufficient land to accommodate a growing population.

While an apartment boom in the inner city has driven a high volume of unit approvals over the course of the past few years, the UDIA says there is now a need to focus on facilitating high quality urban design outcomes in inner- to middle-ring suburbs.

The regional plan also needs to accommodate greenfields, it says, as past regional plans have set ambitious infill targets but not sufficiently guided the implementation side to facilitate the achievement of these targets.

Harrison says the UDIA (Qld) is supportive of a compact urban form, but believes the regional plan needs to ensure an adequate supply of greenfield land to support the formation of new communities and diverse housing choice and to assist in the ongoing supply of affordable housing.

“The supply of infill housing is currently constrained by a number of factors and the regional plan needs to ensure some of the challenges associated with currently delivering infill development, including fragmented land tenure and planning impediments, are addressed, so that the targets of the regional plan can be realised,” adding that critical that there’s a supporting and dedicated infrastructure and public transport plan and implementation measures, including a long-term land supply monitoring system.

“It’s critical that that funding is dedicated to ensure that the outcomes of the regional plan are supported by an extensive performance monitoring program, including land supply,” Harrison continues.

ShapingSEQ is now open for community feedback by formal submission until midnight, Friday, March 3, 2017.


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