How do you see Redland’s role and future in the greater South East Queensland? Now is the time to put on your thinking hats Redlanders because the Queensland Government has kicked off a review of the existing South East Queensland Regional Plan.
Think about the big picture
Regional planning provides the big picture for where the SEQ region is heading over the next few decades.
Think about how much change has occurred to your local area in the last 30 years. Now imagine what your area might look like if the same amount of change happens in the next 30 years, and decide what sort of future you would prefer to see for you and your children.
Regional planning does not directly address the minutia of development and communities. Generally it is concerned with bigger strategic policy and delivery issues that cut across local government boundaries. This is not to say that it doesn’t have a local impact – it does.
An open ended start to the review process
The State Government has quietly commenced its initial consultation on its new SEQ Regional Plan and members of the public have until 27 June 2016 to put ideas forward. A draft plan would then be the basis of a second round of consultation towards the end of this year.
The process announced by the State Government is very open ended. While an open ended approach is good for allowing a wide net to be cast and captured, it is likely to capture a significant number of issues or concerns that what would be considered very local in nature and hence unable to be satisfactory addressed through a regional plan.
What about previous plans and consultation?
It would have been better for the State Government to have provided clearer boundaries as to what are the sorts of issues it intends to address and those issues that will be better dealt with through other planning mechanisms (e.g. local government planning schemes, infrastructure plans, natural resource plan or transport plans and so on).
It might also be useful if the State Government had provided an evaluation of the existing SEQ Regional Plan, so the community could make a judgement on the relevance, strengths and weaknesses of the old plan.
History shows that all too often new planners are appointed to undertake “big” planning tasks with no real knowledge of the level of community ownership of the old plan.
For example, the current SEQ Regional Plan committed to a SEQ State of Region Report to be released prior to the review of the Regional Plan. Again this would help inform the community of the strengths and weaknesses of the existing plan. But there is no sign of an updated SEQ State of Region Report in the current arrangements.
The existing SEQ Regional Plan (page 41) describes “targets relevant to the SEQ Regional Plan” and commits to develop “regional targets in consultation with relevant stakeholders and be consistent with existing federal, state and local government processes.
Targets must be measurable, achievable and time-bound, and relate to the desired regional outcomes of the SEQ Regional Plan. Targets have already been established, or are in the process of being established, through a number of programs.
Grand words, but the report on the targets seems to have been overlooked which further weakens the community’s ability to participate in the review of the SEQ Regional Plan. If these commitments have been overlooked altogether, it surely compromises the ability of Government itself to seriously review and continuously improve the regional planning in SEQ.
Will governments follow the new plan?
Failings of the current Regional Plan seem to have more to do with decisions of State and local government that don’t comply with the Plan’s provisions than inherent issues of the Plan itself.
The Shoreline project’s approval is an example of decisions which have been inconsistent with the current Regional Plan.
Perhaps the first question people should put to Government is, will it abide by the intent of the new Plan?
New themes for the new Regional Plan
There are five themes the Government is seeking feedback on. It is likely these themes will form the basis for the new SEQ Regional Plan:
- Grow. This relates to population growth. It asks how we can grow in a sustainable, efficient and successful way to accommodate our projected population growth.
- Live. This relates to lifestyle. It asks how we can create a diverse range of enjoyable and attractive subtropical places which contribute to and reflect SEQ’s unique lifestyle.
- Connect. This relates to access to work and leisure by transport modes. It asks how we can improve liveability and ensure people can access employment and services efficiently and effectively. Consider how we can maximise the use of existing infrastructure, deliver new infrastructure efficiently and reduce the overall need for travel.
- Prosper. This relates to strengthening the region’s economy. How can we support existing and emerging industries; and position the region to capitalise on new opportunities that will drive job creation and attract investment?
- Sustain. This relates to the natural environment. How can we ensure that we have resilient, socially-connected and healthy communities and can enhance our natural environment?
What do you think Redlanders?
In previous iterations of the SEQ Regional Plan, Redlanders earned a well deserved reputation for participating in regional planning consultation processes.
What do you want to see happen within the region over the next 30 years and what role and function should Redlands play in the SEQ region?
Questions and submissions that might be important include:
- Do we want to sustain an Urban Footprint (which would have kept Shoreline and Toondah for a future generation to decide), with the certainty it gives all parties?
- Given recent revelations of the collapse of koala numbers in the region will koala and koala habitat protection be upgraded?
- Given population projections, and the regional deficit of regional open space (compared to Sydney or Melbourne), should the provision of public open space be a serious policy agenda in the next plan?
- Should a regional response to climate change be elevated in the policy hierarchy?
- Should measures of livability and quality of life be built into urban development to ensure planning delivers healthy communities not just housing?
- Will a prosperous peri urban area be protected, in the long term, from urban development?
- Should the Regional Plan ensure the delivery of all essential infrastructure ahead of greenfield development?
- Should the cap on infrastructure for urban development be removed?
One option is to make your own submission on the Regional Plan. Or you can add your suggestions as a comment to the Redlands2030 web site. From those comments we can build a consolidated community based Redlands2030 submission.
A Redlands consultation event is being planned
The Government is planning to hold a consultation event in the Redlands at a date (to be confirmed) in June.
Redlands2030 will announce details of the event when the date is confirmed.