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Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has intervened in key development applications in Bundaberg.
Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney has intervened in key development applications in Bundaberg.
 










State to review key development applications

Two development applications that impact on quarries and key resource areas are now under review in the face of recent local government decisions.
The Queensland Deputy Premier and Minster for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney has officially “called in” a development application and is considering reviewing another after decisions made by the Bundaberg Regional Council, in the state’s north.

The first “call in” was of a development application lodged by property developer Austcorp for a proposed 130 hectare site at Bundaberg’s Coral Cove which would comprise 775 traditional residential lots and four integrated housing sites. 

Austcorp originally lodged the development application with Burnett Shire Regional Council, now Bundaberg Regional Council, in 2006. The council approved the development in October 2013.

Under Queensland’s Sustainable Planning Act 2009, the Deputy Premier is able to call in projects that are regarded as being of state interest. Seeney said the proposed Coral Cove development fell within a Key Resource Area (KRA). 

KRAs are locations across Queensland that are identified as containing important extractive resources of state or regional significance worthy of protection for future use. 

“Austcorp’s proposed development at Coral Cove is in the ‘separation area’ of the existing Boral Quarry and the proposed Holcim Quarry,” Seeney explained. “We want to ensure that any development in this Key Resource Area is compatible with the type of extractive industry already existing or proposed for the area.”

Seeney said he would reassess the application against the relevant planning instruments and make a final determination about whether the proposed development would proceed.

“Before making my decision to call in the application, I sought comment from those who had been actively involved in the development application,” he added. 

“I received a number of submissions throughout the consultation period, and I have considered all of the matters raised prior to arriving at my decision to call in the application.” 

All parties who have been actively involved in the development application will receive notice of the final decision, which is expected by the end of June 2014. 

There is no right of appeal against any decision made under the “call in” power.

Innes Park Quarry
Seeney also announced that he was using his powers under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 to issue a proposed “call in” notice of the development application for a proposed Holcim quarry at Innes Park, near Bundaberg.

“This allows affected parties 15 business days to have their say on whether the development involves state interests and should be called in,” Seeney said. “I will consider all submissions put forward and make a decision on what is best for the state.”

Like the Coral Cove development application, the minister said the Queensland Government wanted to ensure that any development in “this key resource area is compatible with the type of extractive industry already existing or proposed for the area”.

Residents against Holcim’s development application have welcomed the opportunity to lodge comments but have expressed concern that the state government is taking away the local council’s autonomy.

"I do think it's a good development that the people who made submissions are being asked to comment," John Broadfoot, of the local quarry action group, said. "It is a positive thing that he wants to get our comments on whether the quarry is a state interest.

"At the end of the day, though, we need to ask the question, do councils have any autonomy at all? I mean they're calling in the AustCorp application for the housing development and they're calling in the Holcim application and that means that the State Government starts to make decisions and not council, so I'm very concerned about that for the future."

The closing date for submissions about the Holcim Innes Park Quarry is 22 April, 2014. The Deputy Premier is required by legislation to make a decision about whether or not to call in the development by 20 May 2014.

Seeney recently “called in” two other quarry projects that he decided were of state significance: the Barro Group expansion at Mount Cotton Quarry and Boral’s new Gold Coast Quarry at Reedy Creek.

Sources: The department of the Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning The Honourable Jeff Seeney, ABC News, The Observer (Bundaberg)










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