Planning and Environment Alert: Government announces five-year vision for Flinders-Karawatha corridor - 9 Nov 2011

The Queensland Government has today announced a five-year vision to protect the Flinders-Karawatha corridor, which could have significant legal consequences for landholders in the area.

Here, partner David Nicholls and associate Olivia Williamson outline the five-year vision and explain how it could affect landowners and developers in the Flinders-Karawatha area.

Key points

  • Consultation on the planning protection provisions - that is, the proposed trigger provisions of the South East Queensland Regional Plan - starts today and will run until mid-December 2011.
  • Any prevention of urban development within the corridor will severely impact on future development rights for private landholdings caught up in the corridor area, most probably without compensation.

The Flinders-Karawatha corridor

The Flinders-Karawatha corridor stretches from the south of Ipswich at Flinders Peak to the suburbs of Brisbane City at Karawatha Forest, passing through Beaudesert shire, the Greenbank Military Reserve and on to the Wyaralong Dam near Boonah. This corridor of open eucalypt bushland is approximately 60 km in length. A map of the area is available by clicking the 'Download JPG' button.

The Government's five-year vision for the Flinders Karawatha corridor

Natural Resource Minister Rachel Nolan has announced that the five-year vision moves to 'cement' the degree of protection through regional planning mechanisms.

The five year vision includes three phases:

1. Planning protection for the corridor

Between now and December 2011, consultation will be undertaken in order to precisely define the boundaries of the corridor.

The area, once refined, could trigger provisions of the South East Queensland Regional Plan to prevent urban development with the corridor. We anticipate that this will be achieved by placing affected land outside the mapped urban development footprint.

The intent of the South East Queensland Regional Plan and its regulatory provisions is to severely limit development opportunities outside the urban footprint. For example, a development application for a material change of use may need to be refused unless the location requirements or environmental impacts of the proposed development necessitate its location outside the urban footprint, and there is an overriding need for the proposal in the public interest. Further, there is no compensation payable under the Sustainable Planning Act as a consequence of a change to the Regional Plan.

The Natural Resource Minister's announcement indicated that protection can be applied by Easter 2012.

2. Tenure resolution for corridor

The next step is to determine how the publicly-owned parts of the corridor are to be managed.

Consultation on tenure and management operations could be finalised by late 2013, allowing time for local councils that have already purchased critical bushland areas to be involved.

Consultation will also be undertaken with private landholders, who may be willing to provide conservation protection or public access to their lands if, in exchange, that land is used as offsets for bushland lost elsewhere.

3. Infrastructure provision

Opening up the corridor to public access will involve the provision of infrastructure such as wildlife bridges and walking tracks. The goal is to make the land connected for wildlife and open within five years.

HopgoodGanim's Planning and Environment team would be happy to provide specific advice on the impact of this announcement.