Labor strengthens Heritage Council

Stronger role for Queensland Heritage Council

Development applications relating to state heritage places will now come under greater scrutiny with the Queensland Heritage Council (QHC) having a stronger role in the assessment process.

Acting Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad said an amendment to the State Development Assessment Provisions (SDAP) formalised the QHC’s involvement in assessing what are termed ‘destructive DAs’.

“During last year’s consultation on our new planning legislation, the QHC raised concerns that destructive DAs could be approved without it having any say as to whether there was ‘a prudent and feasible alternative’ to the development,” Ms Trad said.

“I asked my department to find a solution, and this amendment means that the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA), will now obtain advice from the QHC, via the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, before it provides its referral response or makes its decision.

“This is a common-sense consultative approach, as the QHC is responsible for decisions about what is entered in the heritage register.

“The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection will continue to play an important role in interacting with the QHC and providing technical advice to SARA.”

The SDAP 1.8 amendment formalises an agreement reached late last year.

Heritage Minister Steven Miles strongly welcomed the re-instatement of the Queensland Heritage Council’s role.

“Heritage is important – it is how we hold on to our history as a state for future generations to experience.

“As Heritage Minister, and as a local MP, I have seen first hand how the LNP’s war on heritage affected planning decisions.

“This decision by the Deputy Premier learns from those mistakes, from that failed experiment. It puts the independent QHC back where it should be, giving advice to government about how planning and development decisions will affect heritage properties.

The revised SDAP will also reduce red tape for low-risk maritime developments, such as private pontoons, by streamlining SARA processes through a new fast-track framework.

It is estimated around 100 applications could benefit each year from the reduced timeframe of five business days and a reduced development assessment fee of $730.

SDAP Version 1.8 is available to view on the Department’s website and will formally take effect on 22 April.

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