Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) Planning department is completing development assessments in some of the shortest timeframes compared with other local governments across South East Queensland, according to figures published in the UDIA Queensland September 2020 quarter DA Monitor report.
TRC Planning and Development Committee chair, Cr Megan O’Hara Sullivan said Council’s Development Application decision timeframes compared more than favourably with surrounding councils.
“Council encourages applicants to work closely with Council in order for us to complete assessments and finalise approvals in the shortest timeframe,” Cr O’Hara Sullivan said.
“Our responsiveness is aided by well-documented applications and our officers work diligently to ensure we meet, and in most cases exceed, the statutory approval timelines.
“For example, Council last week approved a development application for the Envorinex waste plastic processing business at Wellcamp. This follows similar approval times in recent years for several other major projects in the surrounding Toowoomba Enterprise Hub.
“Council is supportive of firms expanding their enterprises and encourages new firms to establish in the region to boost employment and take advantage of the opportunities provided by major infrastructure projects across the wider region.”
Cr O’Hara Sullivan said Council had received an increase in development applications for operational (engineering) works in the past few months.
“This has been prompted by an increase in demand for housing lots resulting from the federal government’s $25,000 HomeBuilder grant, which requires contracts to be signed by December 31 this year (construction must start within three months of the contract date),” Cr O’Hara Sullivan said.
“An additional incentive for first home owners is the Queensland Government’s First Home Owners’ grant ($15,000 for eligible applicants, with an additional $5000 regional home building boost grant for applicants, subject to conditions.
“The combined incentive is creating significant demand for residential housing lots across the region.
“Consequently, Council is giving resource priority to meet the demand for lot approvals generated by these financial incentives.
“An increased focus on streamlining planning and engineering approvals by Council has delivered approximately 350 housing lots into the market since June 2020, with a further 200 lots expected to be lodged for sealing in the first quarter of 2021.”
TRC Planning and Development Committee portfolio leader Cr Bill Cahill said Council’s intent was to expedite the approvals to ensure the market was serviced with enough residential lots.
“Toowoomba remains an attractive area for new housing development given our enviable lifestyle attributes and relative affordability compared with similar markets,” Cr Cahill said.
“Council constantly monitors the stock of land that is available for new housing and is ensuring there is no delay in approving new home lots through the normal approval processes prescribed in State legislation.
“Council has been actively seeking ways in which it can continue to assist the development industry maintain its supply of housing lots.
“In terms of available greenfield sites for residential development, Council is undertaking a major review of future growth directions to identify potential urban land that is readily serviced by critical urban infrastructure.
“Estimates range between six and three years, depending on densities incorporated into residential estates, and of course, the continuation of current demand levels. (based on state and local data)
“Council is progressing with the preparation of a new Planning Scheme which will be our key plan for guiding the region’s future development.
“Throughout this program there will be multiple opportunities for the community and interested stakeholders, including the development industry groups, to have a say about the future of the region.”
UDIA Queensland September 2020 quarter data (Development application decision timeframes):
Material Change of Use: (Average decision time, days) Toowoomba 21; Ipswich 16; Logan 22; Moreton Bay 40; Redland 25.
Reconfiguring a lot: (Average decision time) Toowoomba 24; Ipswich 81; Logan 40; Moreton Bay 33; Redland 29.
Operational Works: (Average decision time) Toowoomba nine; Ipswich 28; Logan 17; Moreton Bay 10; Redland 22.
Building Works assessable: (Average decision time) Toowoomba 12; Ipswich five; Logan 17; Moreton Bay eight; Redland 26.
Concurrent Agency Referrals: (Average decision time) Toowoomba nine; Ipswich 11; Logan -; Moreton Bay -; Redland nine.
Negotiated decisions: (Average decision time) Toowoomba 20; Ipswich 14; Logan 33; Moreton Bay 18; Redland 25.
Minor change development approvals: (Average decision time) Toowoomba 18; Ipswich 26; Logan 20; Moreton Bay 25; Redland 16.