On 11 October 2023, the Queensland Government introduced Housing Availability and Affordability (Planning and Other Legislation Amendment) Bill 2023.

The Bill was referred to the State Development and Regional Industries Committee for detailed consideration.  A public hearing was held on Thursday, 9 November 2023.

Elizabeth Handley, the representative from Brisbane Residents United, the peak body for community resident action groups, was one of the community representatives who made a submission to the Committee.

Ms Handley expressed concerns that the proposed Bill aimed to restrict the community’s appeal rights. Read her thoughts below.

Developers have said over many years that regulation gets in the way of development in Queensland. The Queensland Government has responded by providing Planning Legislation that is amongst the most permissive in the country.

They have done this through the poor implementation of Performance-based planning, the excessive use of code-accessible developments, the implementation of seven processes used by the state government to bypass their planning system and the concentration of power in the minister and his department.

The Housing Availability and Affordability (Planning and Other Legislation Amendment) Bill 2023 proposes two more processes that will do nothing to affect housing availability and affordability. It will, however, further restrict the communities’ appeal rights to inappropriate development. It will also unnecessarily reduce community consultation when it already has an armoury of legislation deployed for that purpose.

No legislation ensures that community input is actively considered or acted upon. There is no guarantee that a resident’s amenity will not be adversely affected by a neighbouring development. Every move made in recent years by the State Government and local councils has been to limit appeal rights and effective community consultation. The only contribution the Government and developers want from the community is to pay for the necessary infrastructure.

Queensland currently has over 97,000 housing lots and 120,000 multiple dwellings with active approvals allowing immediate construction. The Government does not act on this speculation by the development industry that ensures they maintain and increase their profits.

At what stage will the development industry think they have enough control over the planning system? Governments at all levels have been following their playbook for the last twenty years, with housing affordability getting steadily worse. At what stage do we admit this process has not worked and never will?

The BCC and the state government are keen to promote, indeed force, increased densities in areas close to the city, yet reluctant to provide the necessary infrastructure to ensure that density is affordable and livable.

The state government is well aware that the most successful and cost-effective model to provide social and affordable housing is for the Government to build it and retain ownership. It has tried the private market route, and it has been an expensive mistake that has led to our present situation.

The Queensland Government has only managed a net increase of 410 community and public housing dwellings since 2013. During that time, the Government sold off 1,927 dwellings, including 275 during Covid.

Town planning determines the amenity and quality of your environment. We all live with the results of poorly conceived and executed development within our communities. The local community, the key stakeholder and financier in these areas, lacks consultative structures that enable meaningful input. Development run riot has never resulted in good housing solutions.

Full transcript of public hearing

The transcript of the public hearing can be found HERE.

Sources on Social Housing

Report on Government Services 2023 – https://www.pc.gov.au/ongoing/report-on-government-services/2023/housing-and-homelessness/housing

Queensland Parliament – Question on Notice, No. 402, Asked on Tuesday, 18 April 2023