ShapingSEQ – community questions

Shaping SEQ is the latest iteration of regional land use planning for Brisbane and surrounding areas

ShapingSEQ is the latest iteration of regional land use planning for Brisbane and surrounding areas

Redlands residents showed great interest in the latest regional plan for south east Queensland, contributing about 60% of all submissions on the draft issued for consultation by the State Government.

Redlands2030 arranged a community in August 2017. The presentation by government representatives was followed by a question and answer session.



Given the discussion and level of interest in the Plan, many questions were held over and passed to the Department’s representatives for a written response.  The effort by the Department is much appreciated.

The Department’s formal response was held over pending the State election and only received on 19 December 2017.

Each question (and answer) has been posted (below) for the information of attendees and any other part concerned about the new South East Queensland Regional Plan (Shaping SEQ).  

Informed comment, criticism or professional assessments can be made either by email or as a public response in comments to this post on the Redlands2030 web site.

The following 19 questions were those collated from the attendees of the Redlands2030 meeting on 11 August 2017.

ShapingSEQ questions and departmental responses

1. Is the intent of the SEQ regional plan to achieve measurable outcomes through a regional planning scheme or is it just a statement of aspirations that might be achievable through planning but not necessarily through planning schemes?

ShapingSEQ is the pre-eminent strategic land use plan for South East Queensland (SEQ). The regional plan is used to inform local government planning schemes, which are required to align with the regional plan, and other plans and programs such as infrastructure planning and prioritisation. This means that the regional plan relies on other strategies and plans, including economic development strategies, local and regional transport plans, natural resource management plans, to help implement and advance outcomes.

2. Why is there no evidence of a comprehensive review being undertaken of the past performance of the previous SEQ regional planning schemes prior to embarking on the drafting of a further regional plan?

The SEQ regional plan is usually reviewed and updated every five to seven years to ensure it reflects up to date growth projections, trends and changes in community expectations and future desires. As part of the review of the 2009 regional plan, the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning (the department) prepared five background papers that accompanied the release of the draft ShapingSEQ. These papers outline the evidence behind policy development.

Each of the five background papers includes a review of policies from previous regional plans, including the 2009 regional plan, that were relevant to the theme of the background paper. The background papers also demonstrate the evolution of regional planning thinking in SEQ.

Notably, the 2009 regional plan did not include any key performance indicators or other mechanisms to measure the success of the regional plan. This was recognised as a deficiency in the previous regional plan, and led to the incorporation in ShapingSEQ of ‘measures that matter’ – measures of progress in the implementation of the regional plan which will be reported on regularly to gauge the effectiveness of ShapingSEQ.

As a further part of the review, the department considered emerging opportunities and trends, and focused on improving the future of SEQ to become more integrated, connected, prosperous, sustainable and liveable region. These core principles, which later became the five themes of ShapingSEQ, were informed by the community through feedback received during early engagement undertaken by the department between May and June 2016. Please refer to Question 12 for information regarding the consultation process.

ShapingSEQ has also been informed by a number of other sources, including:

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Independent land supply reviews
  • State and local government information (such as planning schemes, state population and employment projections etc.)
  • A variety of publications from academics, industry, community groups and not-for-profit organisations.

For more information regarding the information used to inform the final ShapingSEQ please refer to the background papers on the department’s website:

3. To enhance transparency, why doesn’t the SEQ regional plan include criteria and weightings to guide decision-making when competing planning/development choices or “land” uses are involved?

ShapingSEQ helps to inform two core planning processes:

  • plan making, and
  • development assessment.

For plan making, ShapingSEQ prioritises and provides a spatial context for the relevant state interests outlined under the State Planning Policy. It is the role of local governments to undertake the finer grain planning, in consultation with the community, to determine how best to reflect ShapingSEQ in their local planning schemes based on local constraints and the aspirations of their local communities. This includes determining the most appropriate zone, development code provisions and land uses for local areas.

For development assessment, the policy outcomes of ShapingSEQ are supported by the SEQ regulatory provisions, which are included in the Planning Regulation 2017. The SEQ regulatory provisions apply to land outside of the Urban Footprint and are used in decision making for development assessment. These provisions:

  • define a range of exemptions from assessment
  • identify thresholds that trigger further assessment
  • describe matters that are to be assessed, and
  • identify particular development that is prohibited.

Local government planning schemes must also ensure that levels of assessment align with the SEQ regulatory provisions.

4. What action is being taken to ensure that planners involved in assessing development applications have a sound knowledge (training) on how their decisions might impact on, or the limitations placed by, environmental (including natural resource, social and ecological) considerations rather than relying on desk-top consideration of codes and possibly resorting to site inspections?

Under the Queensland planning framework, local governments take on the role of assessment manager for most development applications, with referral to the state required where state interests may be impacted. The SEQ regulatory provisions outlined in Question 3 identify when referral to the state is required with respect to the policy outcomes of ShapingSEQ. Applications requiring referral to the state are assessed by the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA), which brings together technical expertise from a range of state agencies and areas of knowledge.

Local governments assess development applications against their planning schemes, which are required to be consistent with the provisions of ShapingSEQ. Where a planning scheme has not yet been updated to align with ShapingSEQ, the local government may need to give direct consideration to ShapingSEQ in assessing development applications. As part of the commencement of the Planning Act 2016 and ShapingSEQ, on 3 July 2017 and 11 August 2017 respectively, the department has undertaken a comprehensive program of training and transition with local governments. This work is ongoing and will continue to assist local governments in updating their planning schemes and practices.

5. What action is being taken to ensure that Local Governments link their various regulatory mechanisms that impact on planning such as local laws? That is, take a whole of Council approach to planning.

The local government division of the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning provides assistance and oversight to the making of local laws. Under the Local Government Act 2009, councils are required to consult with the relevant state agencies to discuss the overall state interest in the proposed local law before making the local law. As part of this process, the relevant state agency must review the local law being made and provide any feedback or comments for consideration to council before the local law is made by resolution. This ensures that local laws are consistent and align with other state regulatory mechanisms prior to being made.

For more information or questions regarding this please contact Local Government and Regional Services within the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning on 3452 7009.

6. As there appears to be no definition of performance based decision-making in the planning scheme nor in the Planning Act and having been involved in the move from a prescriptive to performance based assessment it appears that the intent of performance based decision-making has been “distorted” by Town Planners. It now appears to be a trade-off between performance-based criteria rather than achievement of the intent of the criteria.

Performance based planning has existed in Queensland for a number of decades and is maintained under the new Planning Act 2016. Queensland’s performance-based development assessment system enables a person to bring forward any proposal and have it tested against the relevant planning instruments.

A performance based planning system allows for a development application to be lodged and assessed on its own merits, even when it does not meet all of the assessment benchmarks in the planning scheme. Under the assessment rules in the Planning Act 2016, proposed development may be assessed against the assessment benchmarks, and having regard to prescribed matters. Assessment benchmarks are central to a performance based development assessment system, as they provide a ‘ruler’ or ‘gauge’ against which proposed development is measured to test its performance or compliance. Performance based planning allows communities to change over time, and allows applicants to propose creative solutions for development that can meet the changing needs of our communities over time.

Planning schemes provide an example on how to achieve acceptable development outcomes, however there is scope for flexibility in other acceptable ways to achieve the same outcomes (within the guidelines). Councils are required to work with their community to determine what direction planning schemes set in development to achieving desired outcomes.

7. What action is being taken to ensure that Council staff have the technical capacity to appraise the competency of those with certifier qualifications and submissions made by them?

This question is best directed to your local council as the department does not have oversight over a council’s requirements for employees to hold particular qualifications.

8. What action is being taken to ensure that members of the community (including Local Government Councillors) understand how decisions are made in relation to planning schemes, how they can have an effective input into them?

The new Planning Act 2016, aims to create an efficient planning system that embraces community engagement and is more transparent and accountable. Key benefits of the new planning system for improving community participation include:

  • Community members can appeal development decisions without adverse cost orders.
  • Community engagement is given greater prominence in all statutory instruments and practical tools are provided by the state government.
  • Councils must consult with their communities for longer regarding new planning schemes.

Also through the reform agenda, the government recognised the important role the community plays in planning and wanted to give members of the public more opportunities to get involved. Some of the key changes made include:

  • Before the Planning Minister gives final approval for a planning scheme to be formally adopted, the state seeks evidence on how local government consulted their community in its development.
  • The new system provides an additional two weeks (a total of eight weeks) for the community to get involved and make a submission on their local planning scheme.

The department encourages the community to get involved in planning and outlines ways in which this can be done on the department’s website. Your members are encouraged to visit for more details regarding this including to find out more about the benefits of the new planning system.

9. Mention was made of “aligning the SEQ Regional Plan more closely to the State Infrastructure Plan. Should it not be the other way around? If the SEQ Regional Plan is the over-riding place, should it not drive the SIP?

Regional plans provide strategic direction through land use planning to achieve economic, social and environmental outcomes and identify region-shaping infrastructure required to service existing development and support projected growth. The State Infrastructure Plan (SIP), which was released in 2016, provides a broad overview of the state’s infrastructure needs. It outlines the government’s strategic direction for the planning, investment and delivery of infrastructure in Queensland.

The integrated planning and delivery of infrastructure and development is integral to the implementation of ShapingSEQ. The regional plan aims to achieve this through greater transparency as to how it interacts with the SIP. The regional plan and the SIP inform and updates to the other depending on review cycles.

In SEQ, ShapingSEQ informs the SIP to help coordinate and implement infrastructure priorities based on a range of considerations. These include availability of funding and current and future demands across a range of infrastructure assets.

The SIP is a state-wide plan and includes infrastructure priorities outside of SEQ. The annual update of the SIP Part B, released in July 2017, was informed by the draft ShapingSEQ and included the priority region-shaping infrastructure listed in ShapingSEQ.

Figure 1 below is taken from ShapingSEQ and shows the governance arrangements for infrastructure coordination, including the relationship between ShapingSEQ and the SIP.

Figure 1 Governance arrangements for infrastructure coordination.

10. How seriously can we take the statement about protecting and honouring the RAMSAR obligation and the views of the Quandamooka people given the threat of Toondah Harbour PDA?

ShapingSEQ introduces a number of new priority initiatives for regional plans in SEQ. These include greater acknowledgement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ connection to the land and seascapes, a commitment to ongoing engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including the Quandamooka people, and valuing and protecting the regional natural assets, including regional biodiversity values and corridors.

Under the sub-regional priority outcomes for the Sustain theme for the Metro sub-region, ShapingSEQ provides for the protection and ongoing management of the RAMSAR Quandamooka Moreton Bay marine waters and islands. To support this priority outcome, relevant planning initiatives, including any Priority Development Area (PDA), will therefore need to take into consideration protection of the RAMSAR Quandamooka Moreton Bay marine waters and islands.

It is important to note that the PDA declaration and development scheme does not remove the requirement for development within the PDA to obtain all other relevant approvals. The protection and sustainable management of the RAMSAR site is under the administration of the Commonwealth Government in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). From advice received from Economic Development Queensland, it is understood that on 8 June 2017 the Commonwealth Government notified its referral decision that ‘the project’ is a controlled action under the EPBC Act.

While no PDA application from Walker Group Holdings has been lodged with the state to date, any such environmental impacts will also be required to demonstrate compliance with and be assessed against the requirements of the development scheme. Some relevant sections of the development scheme include:

  • Vision statement (section 3.3)- includes the following “Development respects and values marine and land based ecology and seeks to protect matters of ecological significance”.
  • PDA-wide criteria – includes provisions within:
    • Sustainability (section 3.4.2) – “Development supports sustainable outcomes which ensure development has regard to environmental and landscape values” and “ensure ecosystems and natural physical processes are maintained and incorporated as features in the overall urban form”.
  • Natural Environment (section 3.4.3) – “The design, siting and layout of development has regard to the environment and: seeks to first avoid, then minimise and mitigate impacts arising from development within the PDA to sensitive ecological values or Matters of State Environmental Significance within and adjoining the PDA including koala habitat, intertidal mudflats, mangroves, seagrass beds and fisheries” and “seeks to achieve a net gain in koala and marine habitat through the use of compensatory offsets”.
  • Precinct provisions – Precinct 4 Marina and water based development (section 3.5.5 “Development occurring in areas of water including land reclamation must have regard to: appropriate protection, mitigation or environmental offsets associated with impacts to areas or species of ecological significance (Any development within the Moreton Bay Marine Park will require separate assessment and approval under the Marine Parks Act 2004)”

11. Why is there no mention of the Queensland Plan, and how can the Queensland Planning system be credible if major components don’t even mention another major component?

As outlined in the ShapingSEQ consultation report, the regional plan broadly aligns with key areas of the Queensland Plan, including creating a strong and prosperous region, taking a long-term approach to infrastructure provisions and creating healthy communities that respond to changing demographics. Therefore, it was not considered relevant to specifically reference the Queensland Plan in ShapingSEQ.

12. How are community values and priorities determined in the SEQ Regional Plan compared to say the extensive efforts to assess community values in Redlands 2030 Community Plan?

ShapingSEQ was informed by an extensive stakeholder engagement and community consultation process that provided members of the public from all across the region a genuine opportunity to contribute to the regional plan.

Two rounds of community consultation were undertaken:

  • Round one (May and June 2016) involved community conversation sessions that provided essential input into the development of the draft South East Queensland Regional Plan 2016 (draft ShapingSEQ).
  • Round two (October 2016 to March 2017) involved a range of activities that ran in parallel with the statutory consultation period and informed the final regional plan.

The aim of the first round of community consultation was to actively engage with the community to gather their views and ideas for the SEQ region. This early round of consultation included community events like the talk to a planner sessions, Thought Leadership seminars and a community attitudes survey. These activities focused on understanding the community’s views on a range of themes (consistent with the ShapingSEQ themes) and values.

The focus of the second round of community consultation was to provide an opportunity for the community to understand the policies in the draft ShapingSEQ, and to encourage feedback during the statutory consultation period in the lead-up to final regional plan. A number of engagement methods were used in this round of consultation, including further talk to a planner sessions, a youth summit and Indigenous and Traditional Owner workshops.

Throughout the review, the department also worked closely with the following stakeholder groups:

Industry Reference Group

  • State Agency Working Group
  • Local Government Working Group
  • Environment and Community Reference Group
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and Traditional Owners Groups.

The department worked extensively with all 12 of the SEQ local governments through the preparation of ShapingSEQ, and continues to provide assistance to councils in updating their planning schemes and practices for the new regional plan.

The governance of ShapingSEQ was overseen by the SEQ Regional Planning Committee (RPC), that included all 12 SEQ mayors as members. The RPC provided advice to the Minister for Planning on the formulation and implementation of the plan.

The ShapingSEQ consultation report outlines in more detail about the consultation process including how the community’s feedback was used to inform the regional plan. This can be accessed from the department’s website:

13. How does the Regional Plan reconcile populations projects with the impacts of PDAs (say the Toondah Harbour PDA which imposes another 9,000 people over the projections the SEQ Plan uses…where are the differences reconciled in terms of infrastructure like roads, schools, hospitals and sewerage systems (it seems ad hoc and a gaping hole in a Regional Planning methodology)?

The Urban Footprint established through ShapingSEQ identifies the extent of land needed to accommodate the region’s urban growth to 2041. However, not all of the Urban Footprint may be suitable for urban development, with some areas constrained or affected by environmental values that require protection. Over time, the Urban Footprint has been adjusted to respond to changing conditions and growth pressures.

To inform the growth scenario of ShapingSEQ, various statutory planning processes including PDAs, master planned areas and development approvals were used to identify the capacity of the existing Urban Footprint to accommodate growth. The Toondah Harbour PDA will not “impose another 9,000 people”. Rather the Toondah Harbour development will offer prospective residents additional housing options, which they may choose to take up over other developments in Cleveland or the broader Redland area. For more information regarding how the Urban Footprint has been calculated please refer to ShapingSEQ Background paper 1: Grow found on the department’s website.

With respect to infrastructure, ShapingSEQ recognises that the integration of land use and infrastructure planning is critical to ensuring the region can sustainably accommodate the growth. The SIP identifies the state’s key infrastructure priorities against a number of asset classes. As previously mentioned, the annual update to the SIP Part B has reflected regionally significant infrastructure priorities outlined in ShapingSEQ to support the future growth of SEQ. It should also be noted that developments in PDAs are levied infrastructure charges (as is the case for development outside of PDAs), which assist local governments in meeting additional infrastructure demands.

As demand for infrastructure in SEQ grows, infrastructure projects will progress through the infrastructure pipeline. It is important to note that planning for each of the asset classes outlined in the SIP (e.g. hospitals, schools, roads) responds to a wide range of drivers and variables, one of which is population growth. However, population growth in itself is not the only determining driver particularly with respect to social infrastructure. Other drivers include:

  • technology
  • demographic factors and profiles such as ageing, socio-economics
  • specific change such as health trends, and
  • models for delivery of social services.

As such, there are a wide range of planning and service delivery responses from agencies and government to ensure infrastructure needs of the community are met. For more information regarding how infrastructure is planned for and delivered please refer to ShapingSEQ Background paper 3: Connect or the SIP, both on the department’s website.

The SEQ Growth Monitoring Program (GMP) will also help reconcile the growth projections and benchmarks provided in ShapingSEQ against development activity occurring on the ground. The government has committed $5 million over the next two years to monitor land supply and development activity to ensure land supply does not put pressure on housing affordability in the region. A report will be released annually that will inform future actions to ensure there is adequate land supply. Figure 1 above illustrates the role of monitoring and measuring land supply to inform decisions around review and implementation of ShapingSEQ and the SIP.

14 There seems to be no processes in place to monitor the impacts of the actions implemented in the plan other than how many dwellings of each type and rely on data from the ABS for the population size and its demographic. In the absence of obtaining the relevant data, how do planners and the decision makers know where they are in terms of achieving or maintaining the objectives and goals of the Regional plan?

As mentioned in response to Question 2, ShapingSEQ has introduced measures that matter, which are intended to provide a meaningful set of indicators of trends in a range of areas from water quality to public transport use to affordability of living. Additional measures were included in the final ShapingSEQ where they could be practically implemented in terms of available data and where they show progress of the final regional plan’s goals. All measures do not need to provide specific measurable targets, but most indicate the preferred direction of change from current/recent statistics. Further detail can be found in Chapter 5 (page 166) of the plan.

As mentioned above, the regional plan also relies on other strategies and plans to help implement outcomes. It is expected that monitoring and reporting will form part of implementing these other strategies, for example the SEQ Natural Resource Management Plan (NRM Plan) delivered and reported on by Healthy Land and Water.

The SEQ GMP, as discussed in response to Question 12, will be key to securing an agreed framework across state and councils for collecting data and monitoring development activity in the region. As part of the GMP, the department will also work with other key stakeholders, including the development industry and infrastructure providers to develop a broader and more consistent methodology for measuring land supply and development. The annual reports will help provide improved understanding of how the region is tracking against the growth projections and benchmarks.

As part of the $5 million investment, the Premier also recently announced the SEQ Housing Supply Expert Panel. This expert panel will ensure transparency and oversight of data collection, reporting and monitoring and will inform the work of the GMP.

15. Social impacts: what are the social impacts on the children raised in housing estates where there are no backyards or areas to play except the street? Houses being built on 600 m2 or less have 2m between the back of the house and the back fence, or the side of the house and the fence. Does this sort of arrangement encourage kids to play computer games and socialise via facebook, twitter etc., so that they are not developing their face to face social skills nor engaging in physical activity that improves or maintains their physical and mental fitness. High rise apartment blocks lead to the same social problems. We are already experiencing these types of developments and these associated problems in Redlands.

Whilst ShapingSEQ seeks to promote a more compact urban form, delivering a range of housing types, planning initiatives cannot be considered responsible for the increased use of technology, or decreased physical activity in the population, including children. These trends are the result of a multitude of societal changes and cannot be isolated to a single cause.

Moreover, the department is aware of significant research undertaken by the National Heart Foundation that demonstrates that walkable neighbourhoods encourage walking as a mode of transport, with higher-density mixed-use zoning, connected street networks and access to public transport.

The research also identifies that children are more likely to be physically active in more walkable neighbourhoods with access to recreation facilities nearby, and to walk to school in neighbourhoods with connected street networks. This is outlined in the ShapingSEQ Background paper 4: Sustain, which can be accessed from the department’s website.

ShapingSEQ, through the Live theme, also encourages pedestrian friendly streets that promote walkability, socialising and riding bikes. The Sustain theme also contains strategies that encourages the design of communities to be walkable, attractive and comfortable. Access to sport and recreation opportunities, including high-amenity environments, are also promoted under ShapingSEQ.

16. What sort of information is collected on these issues by the Dept of Families. Do they do any causal analysis of the data that informs the how planning decisions impact on their area of jurisdiction? If so, do they share the results of their analyses with the Dept of Planning infrastructure so that Planning decisions are informed by these issues and steps taken to prevent or mitigate them?

This question is best directed to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, which was represented on the state agency working group that provided input to ShapingSEQ) as the department has no oversight on this matter. The Strategy, Engagement and Innovation area within the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services should be able to assist you with this question and can be reached on 3719 7500.

17. Impacts on natural environs: There has been an obvious failure in the planning to date. Natural habitat has been severely fragmented because the connective corridors had been developed and not maintained. The most obvious corridors are along the creeks and in Redlands these have been preserved in pockets, such as Hilliards Creek Ormiston and developed in others so there is a lack of continuity and fragments are separated by distances too far for organisms to disperse. It is very expensive to buy the land back to establish corridors between fragments.

Planning to avoid or minimise impacts on natural environments is promoted by regional strategies under the Sustain theme in ShapingSEQ. The regional plan recognises the need to identify and protect our natural assets, to build resilience in habitats and species to deal with climate impacts and to re-connect wildlife habitat corridors across the region. To help achieve this goal, ShapingSEQ identifies regional biodiversity values and corridors as core components of the Regional Biodiversity Network which also includes Matters of State Environmental Significance (MSES) and waterways. These values are mapped at regional and sub regional scales for further investigation by councils to include in planning schemes and are also areas of focus for coordinated planning, management and investment, including offset delivery.

ShapingSEQ identifies one regional biodiversity corridor in the Redlands local government area and identifies the protection and sustainably management of the Ramsar Quandamooka Moreton Bay area and the Koala Coast Corridor as sub-regional priorities.

ShapingSEQ also supports a number of non-statutory initiatives that address issues of fragmentation and riparian management and enhancement. Two initiatives referenced in ShapingSEQ include the SEQ NRM Plan, including its monitoring and evaluation framework, and the Resilient Rivers initiative, which is currently developing a catchment action plan for the Lower Brisbane and Redlands Catchments.

It is intended that the strategic assessment under the Commonwealth’s EPBC Act will provide a coordinated approach to protecting the region’s important environmental values, and will give industry and the community more certainty about where and how urban development can proceed. The department has identified a key implementation action under ShapingSEQ to work with the federal government to investigate the delivery of a strategic assessment for SEQ.

In addition to ShapingSEQ and the Planning Act 2016, it should be noted that environmental protection is the subject of other state legislation and the work of other state agencies through their own programs. Local governments also play a significant role in the planning and provision of greenspace and protection of environmental values within their local government area.

18. The same problem exists with the coastal developments, such as Shoreline in Redland Bay and Toondah Harbour at Cleveland. Government is supposed to be protecting the RAMSAR site in Moreton Bay. However, there is no co-ordinated monitoring of impacts of such developments on the ecosystem health of the RAMSAR site, other than the Healthy Waterways project of monitoring water quality. But is scientifically known that water quality is not a reliable indicator of ecosystem health.

As mentioned above, protection of the environment is managed under a range of legislative and statutory mechanisms, not just the Planning Act, 2017 and ShapingSEQ.

However, through the Sustain theme, ShapingSEQ provides strategies to encourage water sensitive communities to ensure the protection and sustainable management of the region’s water supply catchments, including Moreton Bay. The Healthy Waterways Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program is one of the measures listed in ShapingSEQ to help monitor the impact of land use change on water quality in receiving waters such as Moreton Bay. ShapingSEQ also includes strategies around integrated catchment planning and management to enhance and protect the quality and quantity of water in our waterways, and identifies the SEQ NRM Plan as a mechanism to support regional strategies in ShapingSEQ. In this role, the NRM Plan can provide links to other coastal monitoring programs including Mangrove, Seagrass and Saltmarsh Watch to help inform a coordinated regional approach to coastal management. The water sensitive city program will also progress the ShapingSEQ outcomes to ensure the quality of water in Moreton Bay meets the needs of the environment, industry and community.

While the department does not have any oversight over implementation of monitoring of Moreton Bay it is suggested you contact the Commonwealth government or the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection who may be able to address your question.

19. What processes are in place in the Regional Plans, including that for SEQ, are in place to monitor to provide the evidence of the social and environmental impacts of developments? Evidence that could be used to be better informed in making their decisions.

Regional plans are long-term strategic plans that support local growth and development; however they are only one instrument in a broader planning system which influences social and environmental outcomes. While ShapingSEQ aims to monitor (through the measures that matter and the GMP) the overall growth pattern for SEQ, it is not the role of regional plans to monitor the effects of individual developments. This information is more likely to be collected by local governments and the development industry, and ShapingSEQ seeks to harness this knowledge for the ongoing improvement of the regional plan through the GMP.

The measures that matter will facilitate an evaluation of some aspects of social and environmental impacts and inform any improvements required to enhance the regional plan as one of a number of responses needed to plan for and manage growth across the region. ShapingSEQ identifies a number of other initiatives that also play an important role in minimising and monitoring the social and environmental impact of growth including the Queensland Housing Strategy and Building Plan, transport and infrastructure planning and the SEQ NRM Plan. The delivery of ShapingSEQ will be informed by an ongoing conversation with the community about growth and change in SEQ which will include regular community surveys to assess perceptions about the quality of development being delivered.

Next step

The Department’s response to the questions posed by those attending the briefing in August has raised further issues among land use professionals and other community organisations associated with Redlands2030.

We invite members of the community to review the Q&A responses and provide any further comments on the Redlands2030 web post or by email to:

Redlands2030 – 4 January 2018


Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email

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15 thoughts on “ShapingSEQ – community questions

  1. Dave , Seven gutted Planning Laws and Instruments were gazetted on the 3rd July 2017 including the SEQ Regional Plan .Others besides koala experts can indicate what has gone missing ; policy, programs, Measures that Matter. Planning Principles,Missing Middle Guideline Supporting Documents etc. Not many people are expert on Local Laws and Code. So it could appear to some , given the gap between DILGP and Councils ,you are trying to wind some one up.

  2. The Departments response is ordinary. I have some comments for a few of the responses, But #5 isobar…it reads
    “What action is being taken to ensure that Local Governments link their various regulatory mechanisms that impact on planning such as local laws? That is, take a whole of Council approach to planning.

    The response is a bit condescending ie
    The local government division of the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning provides assistance and oversight to the making of local laws. Under the Local Government Act 2009, councils are required to consult with the relevant state agencies to discuss the overall state interest in the proposed local law before making the local law. As part of this process, the relevant state agency must review the local law being made and provide any feedback or comments for consideration to council before the local law is made by resolution. This ensures that local laws are consistent and align with other state regulatory mechanisms prior to being made.

    For more information or questions regarding this please contact Local Government and Regional Services within the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning on 3452 7009.

    In my view the answer suggests that no action is going to be undertaken. Surely there is more…after all why have a regional plan that cannot be competently implemented by those charged with that responsibility especially when a range of state agencies and sections within a local government have an impact on planning?

  3. My comment is about Question 3

    In essence a simple request but the Departmental reply fails to answer the question of why, for consistency and transparency, that there is indication of the decision-making criteria that were used in preparing the plan.

    In the absence of such criteria one can only assume that there were no consistent criteria and that planning and development related decisions are “officer-based” and therefore subjective. In planning, choices need to be made (and hopefully able to be justified) between a range of alternatives.

    The Department should require that all planning schemes provide details on the criteria and relative weightings used in making planning decisions.

  4. Further to Geoff Edwards post, this paper shines a light on performance-based planning in Qld

    ‘Anything goes? Performance-based planning and the slippery slope in Queensland planning law’ – Philippa England and Amy McInerney in Environmental and Planning Law Journal update: Vol 34 Pt 3 (2017)

    ‘This article explores the first 20 years of performance-based planning in Queensland, how it has evolved and what it means for the interpretation of planning schemes. It describes how, over the past 20 years, planning law has become significantly more discretionary, whether or not that was the intention of the original drafters of the Integrated Planning Act 1997 (Qld) and whether or not that is the inevitable result of a system based on performance-based planning. It demonstrates this thesis with some case examples of discretionary, performance-based decision-making in practice. It also considers the role the sufficient grounds test has played in the evolution of this more discretionary system. It identifies the advantages and disadvantages of a highly discretionary, planning and development control regime. Overall, it argues that, more so than any of the procedural reforms to planning law, it is the evolution of PBP that has played into the hands of developers who wish to prioritise economic development over and above other planning goals.’

    Unfortunately the paper is behind a paywall but the summary above gives you the idea.

  5. During the preparation of the ShapingSEQ plan, special interest groups had much more influence than the community – see

    An independent report card on the performance of the previous regional plans should have been done to inform community consultation.

    The community should have been consulted on several different options for the future rather than being presented with a single option for comment.

  6. Look at Question 13 above and then read the response. It’s like treating the residents as imbeciles if you expect them to believe this response. Here is part of it. ‘The Toondah Harbour PDA will not “impose another 9,000 people”. Rather the Toondah Harbour development will offer prospective residents additional housing options, which they may choose to take up over other developments …’ So the writer is asking us to believe that the creation of 3,600 units over the Ramsar Wetlands will not increase the population in an already crowded space at the waterfront. It will simply give other housing options??

  7. I was at the R2030 meeting at which two young Labor Party Staff gave a power point presentation on their future plans regarding population estimates up to 2041. I was a little naïve for the first 20 minutes and just assumed they knew what they were presenting.

    Then they were questioned about their assumptions and that was followed up by some glaring errors of judgement being pointed out by Cr Murray Elliott.

    It was then I realised their whole presentation lacked credibility and their estimates of population growth could be out by as much as 100% over these next few years.

    So the Regional Plan is based on loose and likely wrong assumptions…some plan!!!

  8. In the State’s response to Question 10 about honouring the RAMSAR obligation which includes protecting Australian wetlands but also increasing them a section of the response stated :- in the PDA wide criteria a provision in the Natural Environment heading 3.4.3 “within and adjoining the PDA including koala habitat, intertidal mudflats, mangroves, seagrass beds and fisheries” and “seeks to achieve a net gain in the koala and marine habitat through the use of compensatory offsets.”

    May I ask – where?? Is the State govt going to gift to Walkers more state govt intertidal, mudflats and seagrass meadows to have as offsets? You don’t just manufacture such items???? Also the koala habitat as offsets, will it have mature eucalyptus growing to replace what will be lost???

    • Jan Eva is spot on. If a project is inherently undesirable, then it shouldn’t be allowed, regardless of the quantum of offsets it can negotiate.

  9. A problem with most of the new-generation planning documents is that they proclaim noble objectives, but there is no feasible path to give them effect. The town planning tools available to communities are too weak to withstand the pressures.

    Performance-based planning introduced in 1997 dealt a body blow to the planning profession’s capacity to place firm limits on development. But underlying the legislation was the mindset, held by both major political parties, that residential development is a major source of jobs and prosperity. In fact, development decisions simply channel investment capital in one direction rather than another, favouring some landholders’ property rights over others. The injustice of the mainstream view that development creates jobs and the community’s loss of its amenity is unavoidable collateral damage is breathtaking.

    • Geoff, I think you’re right about performance based planning reducing the capacity to implement clearly stated policy

  10. I refer to Q 2. Why is there no evidence of a comprehensive review being undertaken of the past performance of the previous SEQ regional planning schemes prior to embarking on the drafting of a further regional plan?

    Reading and re-reading the response, I think the Departmental reply fails to answer the question as the reply doesn’t explain why the main findings of the reviews, if undertaken, were not reported in the plan. It is of concern that the “Department considered” but it is unclear whether the “community” also shared that view? Why it is acknowledged that the Department has undertaken considerable community consultation there is little justification of why the community’s views were not supported making it an inadequate consultation process? I attempted but could not locate the reported background papers on the Department’s website.

    Why have they avoided to obvious with wordy plannersese

  11. The questions are a bit random but the answers are terrible.

    Nobody wants to work through the whole process unless there is some guarantee it is worth the effort.

    WRT to Q 1. ie Is the intent of the SEQ regional plan to achieve measurable outcomes through a regional planning scheme or is it just a statement of aspirations that might be achievable through planning but not necessarily through planning schemes?

    ANSWER ShapingSEQ is the pre-eminent strategic land use plan for South East Queensland (SEQ). The regional plan is used to inform local government planning schemes, which are required to align with the regional plan, and other plans and programs such as infrastructure planning and prioritisation. This means that the regional plan relies on other strategies and plans, including economic development strategies, local and regional transport plans, natural resource management plans, to help implement and advance outcomes.

    MY RESPONSE The Departmental reply fails to answer the question. ShapingSEQ, as presented, doesn’t indicate what such plans can actually achieve. It implies that plans can deal directly with issues such as regional employment and economics rather than to just influence them. It is hoped this on-going misrepresentation is not intentional. It is a shame that inadequate attention is given to how site features affect planning outcomes.

    Does anyone else feel the same?

    Because I could go on!

  12. The scope of the Regional Plan deficiencies lies, among other things , in lack of ;
    supporting information , internal strength and connectivity ,and social, cultural and environmental legislation.

    The potential disparity of correspondence of Local Authority answers to these questions and others to those of DILGP policy and answers is important, as access to minutes of the sets of Local Authority meeting minutes and 4 other sets was not allowed in the formulation of the Plan.
    Environmental Goods were missing from Measures that Matters and a multiplicity policies and program minutes are missing.

    The Biodiversity of the McPherson Macleay Overlap is seriously at risk with loss of floodplains,severe changes to water tables , landclearing on the coastal strip and in biodiversity corridors and hotspots.

    The complexity of Regional Biodiversity Values and their protection against Urban Footprint jumpout, landclearing and unacceptable subdivision into Matters of State Environmental Significance (MSES) and Matters of Local Environmental Significance(MLES) is very dark.
    The 71,000 ha of vegetation in the Urban Footprint is unprotected . This protection should be part of the Landclearing Reform .

    The linked $5m project of an SIA in SEQ under the EPBC Act is to undertake a search for environmental values which will by default encourage infill and UF jumpout. Biodiversity Hotspots not shown in EISs a n d P lanning Schemes keep appearing as do Indigenous Cultural Heritage Sites, Dry Scrubs, unmapped Subtropical Lowland Rainforest and Old Growth Forest clumps.

  13. Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
    GPO Box 2202, Brisbane Queensland 4001

    Dear Staff of Queensland State Government Infrastructure and Planning,
    As you may be aware there are many hundreds of residents in the Redlands in SE Qld who are both concerned and annoyed that a commercial development has been proposed back in 2014 that totally disregarded the Ramsar Migratory Shore Bird Protection Zone and has not been properly developed or thought through. We already have major problems I this region with poorly developed infrastructure and dwindling koala populations because developers have been allowed to clear huge swathes of gum tree forests since the LNP Premier of a previous state government, Campbell Newman, wound back the land clearing laws.

    The original proposal was supposed to address problems with the ferry terminal and parking problems but it did neither. Also it proposed construction of 800 home units out over the sensitive Ramsar Wetlands and a couple of years later this proposal was changed to 3,600 home units out over the Ramsar Wetlands. The Walker Corporation was very generous with donations to both sides of government because it involved a 1.4 Billion Dollar development. The Corporation admitted that it would not even consider the ferry terminal problems until at least 900 home units had been sold. Such a development would have adverse impacts on the wetlands, the migratory shore birds, the dugongs and turtles who rely on sea grass and clean water and the koalas in the area where they propose to remove existing gum trees.

    The Mayor of Redland City Council said that the CEO of the Quandamooka People on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) had been on side with the proposal since its inception. The residents are fully aware of this but they are also aware that the CEO of QYAC did not consult the Aboriginal Elders on Minjerribah, who are very concerned about the impacts on sacred sites and on wildlife.