Services

HG Alert: Acceleration of Sustainable Developments through the Green Door - 25 July 2011

The Queensland Government has released their Green Door Information Paper this month which outlines how the Green Door project will accelerate decisions for the most sustainable development proposals in Queensland.

The paper outlines how a Green Door project will be identified, how Green Door will operate and who will be involved.

Here, Senior Associate Angie Coleman and Associate Olivia Williamson look at Green Door and discuss its criteria.

What you need to know

  • where a development exhibits exemplary sustainability features, the Planning Minister can 'fast track' development decisions through dedicated case managers and expanded powers - it's called 'Green Door' processing;
  • time savings for both the developer and Council in the application and information / referral stages of the integrated development assessment system (IDAS) seem to be the key to Green Door;
  • Green Door does not apply to other state processes for developments, such as state declared significant projects, state development areas, strategic port land or urban development areas; and
  • if you are planning a project you believe would qualify as a Green Door project, you must first apply to the government by submitting a 'Green Door Commitment'.

What is Green Door?

Green Door was a 2009 election commitment of the Queensland Government. The Government indicates that it was designed to "accelerate sustainable and energy efficient design by fast-tracking sustainable developments through a 'Green Door' using dedicated case managers and expanded ministerial powers to speed up development decisions". It is intended that the Planning Minister will be able to 'fast-track' development approvals where a development exhibits exemplary sustainability features.

A Green Door advisory committee was established in 2010. The committee comprises a variety of experts with experience in local government, industry and sustainable development.

The accelerated assessment of Green Door projects is said to be achieved by using the IDAS efficiently. The Green Door Information Paper does not suggest that amendments will be required, at this time, to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 to support this fast-tracking, rather it identifies the early and ongoing collaboration of senior local government and state government decision makers in a performance based assessment as the expectation for streamlining how IDAS is applied.

Through pre-lodgement activity (with an anticipated outcome of ensuring a "well made application") it is envisaged that the relevant entities will become familiar with the application and identify, in advance, what information they require to appropriately assess the application. Time savings for both the developer and Council in the application and information / referral stages of IDAS seem to be the key to Green Door utilising IDAS more efficiently, complemented by an expectation in the decision stage that the on-going collaboration will result in a timely and appropriate decision.

Exclusions

It is important to note that Green Door does not apply to other state processes for developments, such as state declared significant projects, state development areas, strategic port land or urban development areas.

What you need to do

If you are planning a project you believe will qualify as a Green Door project, you must first apply to the government by submitting a 'Green Door Commitment' which should outline the experience of the applicant, a summary of the proposal, a response to Green Door principles (demonstrating how the development proposal will deliver sustainable outcomes that are significantly higher than the current mandatory requirements) and a list of approvals that will be required, triggered referral agencies and any known third party interests. The Green Door Information Paper sets out the content that should be covered in any Green Door Commitment submission.

Green Door Information Paper

The Green Door Information Paper can be downloaded from the government's website and has been developed to provide information to the public on how Green Door is to operate. The paper outlines:

  • An overview of the Green Door process;
  • Green Door outcomes and benefits;
  • The context of Green Door;
  • An overview of Green Door Principles (i.e. the key areas of sustainability that need to be addressed by potential Green Door developments);
  • Identifying a Green Door Project;
  • Green Door projects proceeding through IDAS (setting out the potential time savings); and
  • Roles and responsibilities of each party to the Green Door project.
If you are considering undertaking a Green Door Project and require further information, please either contact us to discuss further or email the government at greendoor@dlgp.qld.gov.au.