PROTESTERS and passion were aplenty at Gympie’s town hall yesterday morning as councillors controversially voted to repeal environmental protection laws they believed were unintentionally stifling development.

Councillors voted 6-2 to repeal two Temporary Local Planning Instruments after council staff said acceptable development in the region was being tied up by “unintended consequences”.

The TLPIs were over the Southside and the wider Gympie region, and were adopted in February this year.

Councillors took more than 90 minutes to reach their decision.

Councillor Dan Stewart talks with some of the protesters before the meeting.
Councillor Dan Stewart talks with some of the protesters before the meeting.

Council land management adviser Natalie Kent told councillors the TLPIs had created a number of “unintended consequences” that was stifling acceptable development.

Ms Kent said there were also questions about the process taken to draft the TLPIs.

There was also no analysis the TLPIs’ impacts on future growth, and no measure of the their success built in.

“That’s a white space in the process,” Ms Kent said.

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Ms Kent said staff from State Development Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning “confirmed … the methodology used by the council to establish the maps was unconventional”.

“It was not the normal one,” she added.

Ms Kent said the TLPI over the Southside clashed with the town planning scheme’s intent to have that part of the region do the “heavy lifting” with future growth.

Protesters outside Gympie Town Hall.
Protesters outside Gympie Town Hall.

“Where there’s a conflict with the scheme the TLPI rules,” she said.

“We’ve got ourselves in a bit of a bind on that.”

She said other issues included the need to obtain a works permit to removed vegetation, dead or alive, and the need for more complex applications for houses and sheds, and that the “costs and time frames needed are not conducive to efficient development”.

“Many people are just finding out they have an issue when they try and build,” she said.

She said Southside residents were sent a letter about the changes, but the rest of the shire “was not advised at all”.

Jess Milne and Dan Stewart voted against the motion after an attempt to hold a decision until the next meeting failed.

Warren Polley left the meeting due to a conflict of interest.

As part of the motion, the council and started the ball rolling on a biodiversity and koala habitat development strategy to inform the future planning scheme.

Gympie Times


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