The Queensland Government has amended the state’s planning laws to allow the use of digital media to advertise development applications.
The new amendments create flexibility for public notice requirements, with the aim of keeping job-creating infrastructure projects progressing despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Informing communities of development applications through a public notice in the local newspaper has long been a legal requirement in Queensland.
With many regional papers ceasing print runs because of the pandemic, planning laws have been amended to allow the use of digital or other online media to advertise development applications.
If a newspaper has gone digital, public notices may be placed online. In the event that there is no longer a local paper at all, notices can be run in a statewide or national newspaper, delivered directly to those properties near a proposed development, or made available via state government or council websites.
Temporary amendments have also been made to statutory requirements around the public availability of development application documents during notification periods.
Given health concerns around document handling councils now have the flexibility to make documents available online or via direct delivery to interested parties.
This aims to enable more flexible measures for the public to view documents in a way that is responsive to COVID-19 health and safety concerns.
The changes will be in effect until 31 December 2020, with the potential to be extended further through legislative amendments following community consultation.
The amendments come as the State Government implements its COVID-19 management plan, Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs.
Queensland Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, said streamlining DA notification processes in the state was a small but crucial change that would mean big projects can keep moving forwards.
“Coronavirus isn’t going away. Global case numbers continue to rise. But we need to ensure projects keep progressing, that workers have jobs, and that Queenslanders can still have their say on planning and development proposals,” Mr Dick said.
Learn more about the Queensland Government’s planning legislation amendments here.