Ian Petersen.
Ian Petersen.

Time runs out for land owners

LANDOWNERS and their families – from Gympie to Bundaberg, and west to the South Burnett – have just days to make submissions on a document potentially affecting future plans to use their properties.

Gympie Regional Council Planning and Development Committee chairman Ian Petersen yesterday warned of the State Government’s plans for Gympie’s larger Wide Bay-Burnett region that would be set in concrete for at least five years under its Statutory Regional Plan.

While a draft plan is in operation and is enforceable now, public submissions can still be made on the final document.

Public submissions would be open only until Christmas Eve, and that would be the last chance members of the public would have to influence planning laws affecting them into the future.

All council land use planning would have to fit in with the Statutory Regional Plan, which would be the parent document governing land use throughout Gympie Region and beyond, he said.

“I want to make people aware that the closing date for submissions on the Statutory Regional Plan is December 24,” he said yesterday.

“I think people need to make themselves aware of the status of their properties, because the plan can have some serious impacts.

“It will greatly affect or limit how they are able to deal with their property into the future,” he said.

“People need to look at how the plan affects them and if they are not happy, they need to consider making a submission.

“They need to consider what it means to them,” he said.

Cr Petersen said members of the public were welcome to inspect government maps of the region, so they can understand what is proposed for their future.

“There are maps available at council and they may also be on the website of the (state) Department of Infrastructure and Planning.

“If they want to ring me, I don’t mind helping. I’ll check it out for them,” he said.

“There have been quite a few submissions gone in already.

“They are mainly from planners though, because they may be more familiar with the buzz words.

“But anyone can make a submission and be part of the process.

“All people have to do to make a submission is write a letter outlining their concerns.

“It’s a pretty big issue affecting people’s futures.

“I’d hate to think that some people may be unaware of what is being done,” he said.

“Then, in two or three years, they may want to do something with their property and they may find that they can’t.”

The State Government’s regional planning regime has been a divisive issue in other affected regions, including South-East Queensland and Far North Queensland.

Advocates say it is important for land use planning to be a co-ordinated process across growing areas of the state, with many issues affecting larger areas than those contained in regional council areas.

A spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure and Planning says regional planning will play “a key role in helping Queensland meet the challenges associated with managing rapid growth, population change, economic development, protecting the environment and providing infrastructure across multiple local government areas.

“Regional plans operate in conjunction with other statutory planning tools, including state planning policies, local government planning schemes, state planning regulatory provisions and development assessment processes.”

The regional plans will take precedence over local council planning and may themselves be subject to state planning regulatory provisions.

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