Changes to emergency housing regulations and infrastructure designation pathway for social and affordable housing
These amendments will play a part in addressing the current housing affordability and supply challenges that communities are facing across Queensland.
Amendments to the Planning Regulation were approved on 20 October 222 and came into effect on Friday 21 October 2022.
These amendments allow the State or a local government to deliver emergency housing in response to an event (as defined under the Disaster Management Act 2003) without seeking a material change of use approval through the development assessment process. It also allows the use of the infrastructure designation pathway for development of social and affordable housing by a community housing provider or under a State funded program.
The amendments do not remove the requirement to obtain any other relevant approvals, including the requirement to obtain building approvals or comply with requirements under other legislation, such as in relation to fire safety.
More information about these changes is available from the FAQs below.
Planning (Emergency Housing) Amendment Regulation 2022
The changes to the Planning Regulation 2017:
- gives the State or a local government the ability to deliver emergency housing on a temporary basis in response to a disaster or other event, without seeking planning approval to change the use of the premises
- allows the infrastructure designation pathway to be used for social or affordable housing where it is carried out by a community housing provider or under a State funded program.
The change to the Planning Regulation came into effect on 21 October 2022. The amended Planning Regulation is available on the Queensland Legislation website.
The changes give the State or a local government the ability to deliver emergency housing on a temporary basis in response to a disaster or other event, without seeking planning approval to change the use of the premises.
The emergency housing cannot be provided on land in a flood, bushfire or landslide hazard area identified in any State or local planning instrument, such as the State Planning Policy Interactive Mapping System or a local planning scheme.
The changes do not affect the need for approval where the development may impact on a State interest such as requiring the removal of protected vegetation or development on a Queensland heritage place. In these cases, approval for the use may still be required.
Building approval and other approvals outside of the planning framework still apply to ensure that the emergency housing is safe and fit for purpose.
Emergency housing is temporary accommodation for communities that have been affected by an event as defined by the Disaster Management Act 2003. This includes natural events such as a cyclone, flood and storm.
Emergency housing may be located in existing buildings, or it may be new buildings such as demountable buildings.
Emergency housing can only be provided by the State or a local government. It may be located on State or local government land or privately owned land. The owner of the land must still provide their consent for the land to be used for emergency housing.
Government-owned land that is currently used as public space, such as a park, may be used for emergency housing on a temporary basis where the land is not located in a flood, bushfire or landslide hazard area as shown in a State or local planning instrument (i.e. State Planning Policy Interactive Mapping System or a planning scheme).
There are no changes to any other approval requirements, such as under the fire safety or building frameworks, as a result of the changes.
The changes to the Planning Regulation remove the need for emergency housing to require approval to change the use of the land on which it is proposed to be located. No public consultation is required by the changes, however the State or a local government may elect to consult with the community about the proposed use of the land to keep the community informed.
Social and affordable housing
The changes to the Planning Regulation allow the infrastructure designation pathway to be used for social or affordable housing where it is carried out by a community housing provider or under a State funded program.
If a social or affordable housing project is progressing either through the Ministerial infrastructure designation (MID) or Local Government Infrastructure Designation (LGID) pathway, then consultation is required.
Public consultation is a standard part of the infrastructure designation process. At a minimum it requires the development to be advertised by placing a notice on the site and in a newspaper. The process also requires a more comprehensive consultation strategy that the Planning Minister (for a MID) or the local government (for a LGID) must approve. This strategy involves the engagement with surrounding properties, local businesses and other key stakeholders as relevant.
During consultation any person can make a submission to the Planning Minister (for a proposed MID) or the local government (for a proposed LGID).
All submissions received are carefully considered as part of the decision-making process.
A community housing provider may now choose to use the infrastructure designation pathway for social or affordable housing development.
The Minister’s Guidelines and Rules (MGR) sets out the information required to request an infrastructure designation. The MGR can be found here.
The assessment would consider the proposed land use and its associated impacts including traffic, car parking, stormwater, noise, ecology, amenity and built form.
The Planning Act 2016 (Planning Act) and the MGR sets out the process that must be followed for a MID or LGID.
A development approval authorises development or works to be undertaken subject to certain conditions. A designation is limited to community infrastructure and facilitates future development to take place without the need for a development approval.
For a MID, the Planning Minister is responsible for designating the land for infrastructure. A detailed assessment of land use planning matters relating to the proposal is undertaken by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning that also considers advice from other relevant state agencies and technical experts.
The Planning Act requires the designator (either the local government or the Planning Minister) to consider a number of matters including the relevant planning instruments such as the local government planning scheme and State Planning Policy and all properly made submissions received during the consultation period.
An approved infrastructure designation will be subject to requirements which are similar to conditions on a development approval. Works under an infrastructure designation becomes accepted development and do not require further planning approvals.
Last updated: 28 Jul 2023