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Planning & development reform: Factsheet 4 of 4 Removal of ecologically sustainable development from our planning law The principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) are internationally recognised principles of best practice planning and development laws. Australia's National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (1992) defines ecologically sustainable development as: 'using, conserving and enhancing the community's resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased'.1Examples of ESD principles are providing equity between present and future generations (intergenerational equity) and acting to protect the environment where there is a threat in the absence of full scientific certainty (precautionary principle). CHANGE Removal of ESD and policies from planning law2 Planning schemes no longer need to advance ESD ESD no longer “core principles” of the Qld’s Great Barrier Reef management10 Removal of climate change references from the Act Decision makers should advance ESD principles. CURRENT Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (SPA) ESD incorporated as the purpose of planning laws3 including intergenerational equity4 and the precautionary principle.5 Main planning instruments advance the purpose of ESD: Local planning schemes7 Regional Plans8 State Planning Policy9 Principles of ESD in SPA form the key plank of the Program to protect the Great Barrier Reef11 as communicated to UNESCO to keep the Reef off the in danger list The purpose of the Act14 makes explicit reference to sustainable development to address impacts of climate change. SPA required various decision makers to either advance the purpose of ESD, or have regard to ESD.15 PROPOSED Planning and Development Act (PDA) Principles of ESD have been removed entirely and replaced with the undefined object of ‘prosperity.’6 No requirements for main planning instruments to advance the Act’s purpose. ESD and principles are removed, even for development impacting the Reef.12 PDA may also soon be accredited for approval of impacts federal laws too.13 There are no references to climate change in the PDA or State Planning Policy. There are no requirements for decision makers to act in a way to advance the Act’s purpose. EDO RECOMMENDS ESD and its principles should continue to be the purpose of Qld’s planning laws. Local planning schemes, regional plans and the SPP should be required to advance ESD. ESD and principles should be explicitly given effect throughout the legislation. References to climate change should remain in the legislation. Decision makers should be required to advance the purpose of ESD. This factsheet is for general information purposes and is not legal advice. Important legal details have been omitted to provide a brief overview of this area of the law. If you require legal advice relating to your particular circumstances you should contact the EDO or your solicitor. What you can do: Stand up for your local community and write a submission to the State Government on what you think needs to be in the new planning legislation. Visit www.edoqld.org.au/ for more factsheets on the reform and issues to include in your submission. Submissions can be emailed to [email protected] until the 26 September 2014. 1 Australian Government: Department of Environment, Ecological Sustainable Development, http://www.environment.gov.au/about-us/esd 2 Contrary to the intent of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment 1992, in particular Section 3 and Schedule 2, available at http://www.environment.gov.au/node/13008 3 Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld), s3. 4 Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld), s5(1)(a)(iv). 5 Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld), s5(1)(a)(v). 6 Draft Planning and Development Bill 2014, section 3(1). 7 Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld), section 79(b), as well as temporary local planning schemes at section 101. 8 Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld), section 33(b). 9 Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld), section 22(b). 10 Queensland Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, Great Barrier Reef coastal zone strategic assessment—Program Report, 2014, p.18. 11 Queensland Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, Great Barrier Reef coastal zone strategic assessment—Program Report, 2014, p.18. 12 State Development, Infrastructure and Planning (Red Tape Reduction) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 (Qld), section 79. 13 Draft Bilateral Agreement under sections 45 and 46 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), schedule 4. 14 Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld), sections 5(1)(a)(ii), 5(1)(c)(i) and 11(c)(iv). 15 Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld), section 4. This factsheet is for general information purposes and is not legal advice. Important legal details have been omitted to provide a brief overview of this area of the law. If you require legal advice relating to your particular circumstances you should contact the EDO or your solicitor.