by Elizabeth Handley
The public’s perception that a process is corrupt is as corrosive as if it is a proven fact. Approvals
are being regularly given for developments that do not remotely comply with the publicly advertised town planning rules. The proposed Sunland development at the old ABC site at Toowong is an excellent example. These unbalanced, pro- developer approvals have a history of occurring under both Labor and LNP administrations. But the process of enabling pro-developer, rule-avoiding approvals was turbo charged with legislative changes by the Newman Government. Now the Labor State Govt is proposing further changes to the Planning Act which will make the development approvals even more liable to corruption.
The Brisbane City Council (BCC) 2014 City Plan in conjunction with State legislation has shown us just how dominant the influence of developers can be on the planning system. With a system of private assessment used in conjunction with ‘code assessable’ (i.e. most rules no longer apply) developments, it has created an environment of winners and losers that has proved to be divisive and has brought the BCC into disrepute.
A key plank of the new Planning regime has development approvals made by private assessors for negotiable fees. These private assessors require no qualifications. Basically, the Government plans to outsource most development approvals to unqualified private contractors who can be employed by a developer to approve their development for a negotiable fee. This is a recipe for disaster, as noted by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
Madonna King wrote on March17
www.brisbanetimes.com.au/ comment/that-thinking-feeling/the- d-word-dogging-quirks-campaign- 20160316-gnkq4s.html
“..the Brisbane City Council has smothered our suburbs.
In one suburb, residents put together more than $150,000 to fight the council over a development they believed to be illegal. In another, ratepayers are now considering crowd funding, to stop the council continuing on its merry development path.”
Why are residents being forced to take the Council, they pay for, to court to ensure that they comply with BCC legislative responsibilities?
Explain performance based planning to residents of 8 apartments in Fortitude Valley who are no longer legally entitled to adequate daylight, or to residents of a local house who can no longer open windows down one side, or to residents of a home in Woolloongabba that is totally overshadowed by huge developments on both sides.
Why is resident liveability and the enjoyment of their property not considered when these poor decisions are made? Why is there no public benefit when a developer has land rezoned and its value increases substantially? Why is it almost impossible to value land in our city as this depends on who owns it, their connections and their ability to utilize those connections for maximum profit.
Why are our council representatives not listening to their communities and insisting on the best development outcomes for the whole community?
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