Ramifications of development projects deemed “state significant”
Garner, Gary O. (2010) Ramifications of development projects deemed “state significant”. Property Management, 28(4), pp. 212-227.
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Purpose, Design/methodology / approach The acknowledgement of state significance in relation to development projects can result in special treatment by regulatory authorities, particularly in terms of environmental compliance and certain economic and other government support measures. However, defining just what constitutes a “significant project”, or a project of “state significance”, varies considerably between Australian states. In terms of establishing threshold levels, in Queensland there is even less clarity. Despite this lack of definition, the implications of “state significance” can nevertheless be considerable. For example, in Queensland if the Coordinator-General declares a project to be a “significant project” under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971, the environmental impact assessment process may become more streamlined – potentially circumventing certain provisions under The Integrated Planning Act 1997. If the project is not large enough to be so deemed, an extractive resource under the State Planning Policy 2/07 - Protection of Extractive Resources 2007 may be considered to be of State or regional significance and subsequently designated as a “Key Resource Area”. As a consequence, such a project is afforded some measure of resource protection but remains subject to the normal assessment process under the Integrated Development Assessment System, as well as the usual requirements of the vegetation management codes, and other regulations.
Findings (Originality/value) & Research limitations / implications This paper explores the various meanings of “state significance” in Queensland and the ramifications for development projects in that state. It argues for a streamlining of the assessment process in order to avoid or minimise constraints acting on the state’s development. In so doing, it questions the existence of a strategic threat to the delivery of an already over-stretched infrastructure program.
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