New Planning Scheme adopted today

THE adoption of the Bundaberg Regional Council Planning Scheme today placed a seal on a document that had its beginnings in 2010.

The council's planning and development spokesman Ross Sommerfeld said the new planning scheme would replace the planning instruments of the four amalgamated councils of Bundaberg, Burnett, Kolan and Isis.

"This really is a milestone document as it is the first stand-alone scheme to be fully inclusive of the four amalgamated councils," Cr Sommerfeld said.

"The scheme will provide certainty and consistency across the region and in some aspects I feel it is a document that finally welds communities across the region."

Cr Sommerfeld said the Planning Scheme was five years in the making and was expected to have a life of sixteen years.

"During that period there will be regular reviews to ensure the scheme retains its relevance and is able to be updated to reflect changing needs in the area of planning and development," Cr Sommerfeld said.

"Incorporating elements of the four individual schemes into one expanded document was a significant task and one that was carried out in full public gaze.

"I must commend council's planning team for the transparency, stakeholder consultation and flexibility demonstrated as the scheme progressed through its various levels of State and public appraisal."

Cr Sommerfeld said the community consultation process had been one of the most comprehensive undertaken by the council and there had been 314 submission made in relation to the Planning Scheme.

"The level of public interest was naturally elevated through (the) council's requirement to fully address issues relating to flood overlays and the identification of areas inundated during the January 2013 flood event," Cr Sommerfeld said.

"One of the many positive outcomes from this scheme is its ability to allow more flexibility and less red tape in basic planning issues. This will resonate with the community with a far greater opportunity for applicants to self-assess in some instances.

"The new scheme maintains a strong focus on future regional growth and clearly identifies the residential, commercial and industrial land necessary to promote structured, sustainable growth.

"Having a stand-alone scheme covering the entire region promotes consistency of process as well as unlocking development potential and opportunities for anyone with an interest in investing in the Bundaberg region.

"The importance of the Planning Scheme as a catalyst for economic growth and job creation should not be downplayed. This is a vehicle to take this region forward through an anticipated period of significant expansion brought about by population growth and the need for infrastructure to support that movement."

Cr Sommerfeld said while the new scheme replaced the four individual schemes of the amalgamated councils, the validity of the superseded schemes would extend for a further 12 months allowing submitters to request applications be considered under the old schemes.

"With council adopting the Planning Scheme today, it will come into effect from next Monday, October 19," Cr Sommerfeld said.

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