Planning reform needed for Galilee Basin: Seeney

THE "biggest reform in planning in Queensland history" will allow the Queensland Government to build Galilee Basin rail lines.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney introduced three planning bills into parliament on Tuesday, which were pushed into committee on Wednesday, to reform the 14 previous planning policies. Mr Seeney said the policies had been in development for three years, but were "10 years overdue".

Mr Seeney told parliament the bill would "facilitate projects within a state development area to clarify the application of the existing powers of the Coordinator-General to grant access for the purposes of works within that area".

The Planning and Development (Consequential) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill explanatory notes said the changes would "assist the delivery of proposed railway projects in the Galilee Basin State Development Area".

The government has announced it will use money from state assets leases to help build "common-use" infrastructure including a rail line in the Galilee Basin.

The bill has received support from Queensland Property Council executive director Chris Mountford who believed the changes would improve planning across the state.

However, he said local councils needed to be given time to properly adopt the planning policies.

Queensland Labor was unable to provide a statement on the bill yesterday.

Premier Campbell Newman yesterday told parliament the estimated project cost was "somewhere between $100 million to $300 million".

Introducing the policies to parliament Mr Seeney said changes were needed to ensure Galilee Basin proponents could operate.

"Following the declaration of the Galilee Basin state development area, proponents approached the Coordinator-General about facilitating the undertaking of temporary works on land within the Galilee Basin state development area," he said.

"Amendments to the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act will facilitate projects within a state development area to clarify the application of the existing powers of the Coordinator-General to grant access for the purposes of works within that area."

The bill will be considered by the parliamentary committee.

- APN NEWSDESK


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