Changes to Queensland’s Planning legislation in response to the COVID-19 emergency

16 April 2020

Urgent amendments have been made to Queensland’s Planning legislation in response to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, effective 1 April 2020.

The amendments made to the Planning Act 2016 (Planning Act) and the Economic Development Act 2012 (ED Act) allow the Minister for Planning to:

  • Make a declaration of use/classes of uses to allow for certain uses and essential business to operate “24/7” in order to deliver vital goods and services throughout the duration of the COVID-19 emergency;
  • Extend or suspend statutory timeframes under the Planning Act and the ED Act in order to provide certainty that planning decisions are undertaken in a timely manner in recognition of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 emergency; and
  • Authorise applications for temporary use licences to change or vary existing development approval conditions or other operating constraints on persons at this time.

Importantly, the above amendments only apply for the duration of an “applicable event”, as provided for under s 275E of the Planning Act. The Minister for Planning declared an applicable event, being the “COVID-19 emergency”, on 19 March 2020 for the period 20 March 2020 – 20 June 2020.

The measures now in place have important implications for developers and business owners operating in Queensland, in particular for the development assessment process and business operations more generally.

We are closely monitoring the Government’s implementation of these measures and will update you accordingly.

This article was written by Peter Bittner, Partner, Luke Walker, Senior Associate, Thomas Canniffe, Solicitor and Chris Vale, Law Graduate.

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