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Enemies of the state: Noosa, Redland councils warn of planning scheme ‘takeovers’

Noosa Council claims local governments were at risk of “state-imposed” takeover of planning schemes and that it was being set up for failure by population projections in the draft SEQ plan.

Oct 03, 2023, updated Oct 03, 2023
Residential real estate is seen in the resort town of Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast, (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Residential real estate is seen in the resort town of Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast, (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

In its submission to the State Government’s draft SEQ plan, the council has also claimed that more housing did not equal more affordable housing and the projections for population in its local government area were not backed up by reality.

Redland City Council has also questioned the proposed expansion of the Urban Footprint to accommodate the ambitious population and dwelling targets used by the Queensland Government to inform the draft SEQ Regional Plan 2023.

The draft SEQ plan claimed there would be a need for 900,000 additional homes in the region by 2046, but Noosa Council claimed there was no target for tourist accommodation and the plan did not address the short-term accommodation boom sparked by businesses like Airbnb.

“Rather than addressing the cause of the problem, it (the draft plan) reverts to the over-simplistic solution of increasing supply to keep up with demand,” the council submission said.

“For places like Noosa, this demand is insatiable and will only lead to perverse outcomes for local communities and put unplanned pressure on local infrastructure and environmental values.”

In terms of population growth, Noosa said the projections appeared wrong and were above those from the Queensland Government Statistician Office and “seemingly disregarded the annual average growth rates experienced over the last 20 years”.

“Even more concerning is the expectation that the 2026 population will be 11,120 persons higher than the 2021 figure. This is unrealistic and assumes a 3.9 per cent annual growth rate. Noosa has been experiencing just over 1 per cent growth rate since the 1990s,” the submission said.

It said the Department of Planning suggested the 2021 figures those projections were based on were inaccurate, but had also expressed doubts about census data and it was unclear how the council or the State Government would be able to quantify what population had been reached.

“This would seem to set council up for failure in the short term, triggering intervention from the State, through the implentation assurance. It is also concerned that the State is not able to specify what the triggers or indicators are at this point.”

“The plan requires local governments to prepare and submit a housing supply statement by October 9 such that it can inform the final Shaping SEQ Update due out by the end of the year.

“Alternatively, councils appear to risk having state-imposed planning regulation over-ride their planning schemes.”

It said it had concerns with the plan and what appears to be a “heavy-handed influence on the local planning of each LGA and the expectation that communities accept quite significant population growth and more intensive built form outcomes on the misguided assumption that more housing will guarantee affordable housing”.

“The market cannot be relied upon to deliver housing that is suitable and affordable for existing long-term residents and workers, let alone everybody who may want to make Noosa Shire their home.”

It said in high-demand areas, conventional housing would remain out of reach of many without direct intervention.

Planning Minister Steven Miles has been asked for comment.

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