Parliament Speeches

Please click below to read some of my speeches in the Queensland Parliament.

Local Government and Other Legislation Amendment Bill

November 11, 2015

DATE: 10/11/2015


Mr STEWART (Townsville—ALP) (3.50 pm): Today I rise to support the Local Government and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2015 before the House today. We have already heard of the three main components of the bill, so I will cut to the chase. During the last sitting week, the Deputy Premier announced the draft State Infrastructure Plan outlining the government's clear vision of how we would like to grow Queensland, the infrastructure to deliver that growth and the process of prioritising infrastructure delivery and investment. The Deputy Premier highlighted that the plan identifies future service needs and infrastructure challenges facing Queensland and highlighted the opportunities these present. Addressing these issues will require collaboration between government and the private sector to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions. The statement later outlined that the government is also working closely with other levels of government and the private sector to attract new investment and progress major infrastructure projects that will benefit all of Queensland.

Specifically to Townsville, the Townsville City Waterfront PDA scheme was adopted by the state government last month. This project marked a major milestone in the future planning of the Townsville CBD, with a clear focus on stimulating economic growth in our city heart. Development of the Townsville City Waterfront PDA will be facilitated through a partnership between the Queensland government, the Port of Townsville Limited and the Townsville City Council with planning and development assessment responsibility shared between the state government and the council. The impact of the Townsville City Waterfront PDA will see an estimated 30,000 people living in the CBD area by the year 2030. In the next 15-year period, that growth will mean a rapid movement of people into the city area, creating an incredible strain on infrastructure.

To support local government in planning reform, one of the Palaszczuk government's priorities is to extend the current statutory time frame for the making of a local government infrastructure plan. A local government infrastructure plan is part of the planning scheme that identifies the local government's plans for infrastructure necessary to service development in a coordinated, efficient and financially stable manner and at the desired standard of service. Infrastructure in a local government infrastructure plan may only include things such as water supply, sewerage, stormwater, local transport, public parks and land for communal facilities, commonly referred to as trunk infrastructure. After 30 June 2016, local governments will not be able to levy infrastructure charges if they do not have an infrastructure plan in place. Local governments that do not intend to levy these infrastructures charges are, therefore, not required to prepare an infrastructure plan.

To support local governments implementing these changes, some councils have indicated that meeting the time frame of 30 June 2016 is unachievable and have requested an extension of that time frame. Therefore, amendments to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 will extend those deadlines up to 1 July 2018. However, councils will need to apply for the extension and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In this process, councils will need to supply supporting information outlining the steps that they intend to take to prepare the necessary infrastructure plan, time frame and any necessary resources to meet that plan. This will ensure that all councillors and staff of the respective councils will be empowered with the necessary knowledge around the final deadlines and are committed to their local government infrastructure plan.

I believe these amendments will support local governments with their long-term trunk infrastructure plans to meet the future needs of development in their local areas. I commend the bill to the House.